This week in my Writing For Young People class we are doing older reader picture books. This is the text for my picture book, it works fine without pictures so I thought it would be alright to share. Next week is children's chapter books, so expect an extract from that next week.
There’s a shadow inside mummy. You can’t always see it, but I know it’s there. Sometimes I see it under her eyes, a grey and green and black shadow, and I tell it to leave her, but it won’t.
The shadow makes mummy sad.
“She’s just a bit down,” grandma tells me, “feeling a bit blue. That’s all.”
“She’s had a little nervous breakdown.” My aunt says. I don’t know what this means. “It’s nothing to worry about.” She sends me off to play.
I don’t want to play. Not when mummy won’t leave her room. Not when mummy won’t stop sleeping. Not when mummy doesn’t talk to me or daddy or anyone else.
Some nights mummy cries so loud she wakes me. I go to her in her room and cling onto her. Maybe if I hug her hard enough I can squeeze the shadow out of her.
“It’s okay mummy. I’ll save you from it.” I tell her. I’ll fight away the shadow.
Daddy strokes my hair and wraps his arms around mummy’s shoulders. “Mummy’s fine. Go back to bed.” He tells me.
Everyone keeps telling me mummy is fine, but she is not. The shadow has her. It’s dark and heavy and steals away smiles.
One day I’ll make mummy smile again.