When life gives you lemons: A resource for young people dealing with depression & anxiety

Review by Kate Cherven, Communications and Marketing Specialist, MHF

Abbie Krieble, Illustrated by Celia Painter (2015). CreateBooks, NZ

The minute When life gives you lemons landed in my hands, I smiled. This book is bursting with creativity and spirit which instantly takes you on a journey through the artistic minds of these two teens explaining the complexities of depression and anxiety.

Celia Painter illustrated the book while she was living with depression and anxiety. In the introduction, Painter says how therapeutic it was for her to draw while she was struggling with her own mental health and hopes the images will help others too.

Writer Abbie Krieble does an excellent job of explaining mental illness, what the symptoms are and tangible ways to help support yourself and others.

When life gives you lemons is fun and inviting. The information is easy to read and organised with delicately written words and images, helping you grasp medical terms as well as sharing interesting mental health facts and quotes.

The images on each page help bring the words to life and express many of the complex feelings that are hard to put into words.

When life gives you lemons is a beautiful way to support teens to understand mental illness for themselves and also for friends and family.

The authors have created a well-rounded resource that delivers: tangible skills, explanations, understanding and important information on supportive services for teens. I wish I had this book when I was a teenager.


The Mental Health Foundation’s Information Service brings you reviews this Pink Shirt Day on books with bullying prevention themes.

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