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Mental Illness in a Young Teen's Story of Loss and the Real World

Updated on July 18, 2018
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Sadie's Emotional Ride with Mental Illness is a Page-Turning Read for the YA Audience

Timly topic of mental illness can start a conversation
Timly topic of mental illness can start a conversation | Source

Tara Wilson Redd's Debut Novel is a Beautiful Story

The topic of mental illness is a major topic in our society now and young people are demanding more services from school counselors and others in their community who can provide quality mental health services. Tara Wilson Redd's The Museum of Us is a timely read for the YA audience who may struggle with mental health issues of their won or who know someone who is having this struggle. The Museum of Us is a beautiful story of a young teen with a struggle with her mental illness, loss, and what is in the real world for her.

Sadie has a boyfriend who she adores and a girlfriend who is her running partner and best friend. Sadie also has a secret friend who she deeply loves. There is a tragic accident and Sadie finds herself in the hospital. Her secret friend was killed in the car wreck. Now Sadie considers herself to be alone. Sadie experiences her first delusion that sometimes occurs with mental illness while she is in the hospital when she imagines that George is still with her. George continues to be part of Sadie's delusions after she leaves the hospital. George visits her in her own little world and Sadie slips in and out of these delusions throughout the book. Sadie has many discussions with her mental health professional about what is real and what is not real throughout the book. She often encourages Sadie to write about her thoughts and experiences with what is not real in her secret world. Her mental health professional finally decides that sadie is ready to leave her secret world behind and face the loss of George. Sadie begins her regimen with an antidepressant and and her mental health professional assures her that this a long-term plan to come back to the real world. Sadie agrees that she is ready to come back to the real world and let George go. Sadie's "museum of memories" with George is something that she must give up. She finally has the courage to let go after agreeing to begin her treatment with the antidepressant.

Redd writes with both empathy and sympathy. Sadie is a real example of what many teens experience when they lose someone who they are very close to. The Museum of Us is recommended for ages 13-16. It was published by Wendy Lamb Books, a division of Random House Children's Books. It has an ISBN of 978-1-5247-6687-0.

Great Reviews for a Timely Book for the YA Audience

Redd's first novel has received great reviews.
Redd's first novel has received great reviews. | Source

Great Read for Teens in an English or Reading Class

Teachers who teach young teens in a reading class or an English class will fine Redd's The Museum of Us a great choice to assign for a book report or class project. It is sometimes difficult to find a current novel for young teens that they can relate to and actually want to read. The Museum of Us is a winning choice with the timely topic of mental illness and the road back for many students.

*Read The Museum of Us in a group reading period with one or two chapters each day. Chapter books are always a popular choice for teens to read alone or aloud.

*Mental Illness is a topic that our teens are demanding answers for and have become very active in their demands for better mental health services in their schools and community. Promote a discussion with students after reading The Musuem of Us about how they feel about the mental health services in their school and community. How can these services be improved for teens?

*Promote a class discussion about loss of a loved one in a teen's world. Have your students experienced a loss of a loved one? How might this contribute to a mental health problem as Sadie experienced? Why does Sadie feel reluctant to let George go in her memories?

*Call attention to Sadie's "adventures" when George continues to visit her with delusions that he is still with her. How do these delusions contribute to a sign of mental health issues?

*Do your students think that Sadie's mental health professional gives Sadie enough time during counseling to talk about her love ofr George and her reluctance to let him go after he passes away? Do your students approve of the use of an antidepressant to overcome mental issues?

*Students might like to explore mental health services in their school and community to find out about alternatives to antidepressants. Teachers might like to assign this as a long-term project after reading The Museum of Us with their students.

Mental Health Services in Your School and Community

Do you feel that your schools and community have enough mental health services for today's social climate?

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© 2018 Cindy Hewitt


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