The Bravest Word by Kate Foster
Matt has just started a new year at school; he is surrounded by his mates, he adores soccer (and is the star player) and he is totally loved and supported by his parents. Matt has everything he needs. Right? So why does he feel distracted all the time, or on the verge of panic one minute and exhaustion the next? Sometimes he even feels like he’s about to cry, but he has no idea why. And now even the idea of playing soccer makes him feel sick. Matt is desperately trying not to let anyone down and his Mum keeps telling him to ‘just get back to the old Matty’ – so why can’t he?
Tackling the topic of childhood depression is a challenge, especially when mental illness is often dismissed within our society, but the author, Kate Foster, is a deft hand at helping readers learn about difficult emotions and to comprehend them with honesty. In The Bravest Word she uses a relationship that Matt forms with an abandoned dog he calls Cliff to tackle this subject. As he cares for this mistreated animal, Matt and the reader come to realise he has a few things in common with Cliff, and that it is okay to ask for help, even when it is scary to do so. For ages 9+.