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Book Review: The Compulsion Cloud by Averi Ridge Castaneda & Vicky Kuhn

My dear bookish friends,

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it is now the perfect time to raise awareness about various mental illnesses that can affect people of all ages – even children of a very young age. Of course, for them it is especially important to address the topic in a gentle and appropriate manner – even more so if they are affected by a mental illness themselves. Why not do that with the medium we all love so much, books? 

The Cumpulsion Cloud is a beautifully and carefully created picture book that does a great job explaining to a young audience what OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is, and does so in a very gentle manner.

Holly visits Ms. Anna in her therapy office and tells her all about the scary cloud that is following her around. Like a real dark and grey cloud, this ‘compulsion cloud’ is filling Holly’s head with many nagging fears and worries, and makes her do things she doesn’t actually want to do but does because otherwise she thinks bad things are going to happen.



Ms. Anna’s office is a colourful, light, open and safe space and Holly knows she can trust the nice lady. I love how the topic of therapy was treated in this book – I’m researching mental illnesses in books for my doctoral thesis right now and I think OCD has been wonderfully explained, especially keeping in mind that this book is intended for a young audience AND the fact it is a picture book and there aren’t many pages, nor much space to fill. Unlike a novel or even chapter book, you just can’t fill endless pages with research results or explanations in a picture book such as this one.

After reading it for the first time, my worry was that perhaps the ending comes a bit too sudden, and that OCD surely can’t be cured as quickly as we might get the impression here, but then I remembered the length and scope of what can be done in only these few pages as I mentioned above, and that’s when I realised it is well done. Very good even, because the book can be used as a tool for further discussion and needs an adult for putting everything into perspective anyway.

In that regard, The Compulsion Cloud is a wonderful story that will surely help children who suffer from OCD understand what they are dealing with, that there is a way out of from under this dark, scary cloud, and that they are not alone with their fears and worries.

The writing is easy to understand and accessible, and yet informative and helpful. The illustrations are colourful, light and cheerful, and add a light and easy touch to the dark and heavy subject.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and if you, your child, or someone else you know suffer from scary and overwhelming thoughts as described in the book, please reach out for help.

The book is a great tool to help raise awareness and spread understanding. Definitely a 5-star read!


A huge thank you to Literally PR for my spot on this blog tour and my digital copy of the book (none of which influenced my rating in any way).

Thank you all so much for reading!


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