The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself ISBN: 9781849056830
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015
Does 'boy' have depression? It is certainly something very like, but caused by something deep and terrible that happened in his past. Because of this terrible thing, he has built a wall around himself - 'to protect himself' - and no one can get over or around it. After some time, boy and the wall become stronger and cleverer, and this helps boy become like the wall and do things, such as lying and stealing and fighting. Inside, boy is still very frightened. Then Someone Kind comes along. Ascending a ladder to look over, she want to know where he got his wall and why, and because he remembers the bad time, boy begins to cry and the wall begins to crack. So he fixes it. But Someone Kind returns and does things he wants to see. She plays ball and dances and paints the wall with bright colours. When she makes tiny holes in the wall and sings him songs, he becomes very angry and shrieks at her for damaging his wall, but he also cries and begins to tell her about the 'time before the wall'. She listens sadly and understandingly and bit by bit, boy's wall starts to disappear as he cries and talks, and soon he isn't minding about the wall any more as Someone Kind picks up the bricks and makes bridges from them. They form a very special relationship, and while boy may always need some of his wall, he knows he will always have the help and love he wants. This remarkable picture book should be winning prizes for both its textual simplicity and the innovative and quite beautiful art work. For a child who has suffered emotional or physical abuse, it will be the kind of life-line that can provide true healing and a sense that the world can be a good place after all. An invaluable resource for those dealing with damaged children. Available from Amazon, from good bookshops and from the publisher, www.jkp.com.