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Judith Klausner sent me a very interesting preview of her book, Noah the Narwhal: A Tale of Downs and Ups, earlier this year. It is a picture book for ages four to eight – but hey, which adult doesn’t like a good children’s book with gorgeous illustrations and an articulate storyline, too?
The main character in this book, Noah the narwhal, suffers from chronic migraines. It features three very common scenarios that any chronic illness person will have to face in their lifetime – dealing with work, friends and family.
Noah’s boss, friend and even sister do not believe that he is in pain, because he looks fine to them the very next day. My heart goes out to Noah, because this is a very common occurrence for those of us who live with chronic pain. To have someone doubt the existence of your suffering, especially those who are supposed to be close to you, can be more hurtful than the physical pain in itself.
But just as these three characters become angry with Noah for ‘pretending to be sick’, humanity is restored through other characters, too! They remind them about Noah’s good points, and how he had helped them out on his ‘good days’, too.
This book is short but very sweet, and was an absolute delight that warmed my heart. It brings up a very good message for both kids and adults. It highlights the basis of discrimination in everyday life that many people have to endure. The illustrations by Sarah Gould are cute and colourful, something which I’m sure kids know how to appreciate! And the storyline invokes empathy by raising awareness on invisible illnesses. Not everyone around us who looks healthy is truly feeling fine. This book encourages them to put themselves in someone else’s shoes from a young age, which I believe is an important part of education as a human being. This is one book that I would definitely recommend having on your bookshelf, or as a gift for anyone!
Noah the Narwhal: A Tale of Downs and Ups
By: Judith Klausner (Author), Sarah Gould (Illustrator)
A mysterious disease took over Elisabeth’s life, after a trip to Europe. Some speculation as to what she might be suffering from are tick-borne encephalitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, or dysautonomia.
Noah the Narwhal has good days, when he is productive and social, and pain days, when he needs to rest. His friends and family can find it difficult to handle the unpredictability. Can they come to see that having him in their lives is absolutely worth it?
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For More Insight:
- How I’m Redefining Successful Adulthood for Those With Chronic Pain (article by Judith Klausner on The Mighty): https://goo.gl/RC7Szb