cover image Night Shift

Night Shift

Debi Gliori. Razorbill, $13.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-451-48173-3

In a small-format picture book aimed at a teenage and adult audience, Gliori (Side by Side) uses stark language and somber charcoal-like artwork to reflect on the weight and intensity of depression. A girl with chin-length hair who looks to be around 12 or 13 (a depiction of her in the shower shows that her body is beginning to develop) describes the arrival of something beyond description. “Words left me,” she explains. “There was no language for this feeling.” Gliori alternately shows the nameless sensation as a hollow inside the girl’s stomach, a heavy fog, and spiky dragons that assail her. Although depression isn’t mentioned explicitly until an endnote, Gliori’s metaphors leave little doubt about the magnitude of what the girl is facing, particularly in a scene that takes aim at well-meaning but useless platitudes (“Pull yourself together. Get a grip. Think of the starving millions”). Significantly, her struggle is not as simple as outrunning her enemies—rather, the tide begins to shift at the moment when she accepts weakness. By giving depression physical dimension, Gliori diffuses some of its strange, persistent power. Ages 13–up. (Sept.)