Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, more commonly known as OCD, is just about being tidy and ordered, isn’t it? Not a big deal, right? Actually it is a big deal and is a lot more than being neat and tidy, it is actually a type of anxiety disorder, a mental health condition that can be quite serious (you can find out more about it here). It is treatable, but how do you explain to a child who might be struggling with it what it is and how to try and deal with it? Books are wonderful at helping to explain things but there aren’t many child-friendly resources available around OCD, so Averi Ridge Castaneda has written a new book looking at OCD and ERP therapy, it is a book for children that is written in a child-friendly manner. The book is called The Compulsion Cloud.
Who is Averi Ridge Castaneda and why is she qualified enough to write a children’s book about a mental health condition? She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate who currently works as a therapist for children and adolescents who struggle with a variety of behavioural and mental health concerns. She was diagnosed with OCD at the age of 19 and understands the daily struggle of managing OCD so has written a book looking at OCD and the terminology used to introduce children struggling with it to the condition and treatment. That certainly makes her an expert on the subject matter she is writing about.
SYNOPSIS: Holly’s story starts with a cloud – and it’s not a fluffy, white one you’d see on a sunny day. Instead, it’s a scary, dark cloud that looms over her and makes anxiety-provoking demands, which, if disobeyed, could cause bad things to happen to her loved ones. but fortunately for Holly, she is seeing a therapist who has a plan to help her get rid of this bullying cloud, once and for all.
You may have guessed that Holly’s cloud is a manifestation of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and her therapist aims to treat it with Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP). These terms can be confusing for children having their first OCD symptoms, so The Compulsion Cloud – written by social worker Averi Ridge Castaneda – introduces both concepts in a kid-friendly manner. Ultimately, this story provides a blueprint for recovery, which shows young readers that standing up to their compulsion clouds will bring them back to the light.
“You may have OCD, but OCD does not have you. You can and WILL gain your power back”
Averi ridge castaneda
Overall, The Compulsion Cloud by Averi Ridge Castaneda is an excellent children’s picture book that looks at and helps to explain OCD and ERP Therapy. It is a simplified story so that children will enjoy reading it whilst learning something from it, a positive look at trying to help with the condition.
The use of a cloud that follows Holly around is excellent at explaining how OCD follows you around, especially for the younger readers. It has a very positive message and whilst it obviously won’t cure OCD it does go someway to help children understand what OCD is and by getting help they can try to overcome/control it.
Whilst the story is great at dealing with OCD, the colourful illustrations by Vicky Kuhn really do help to bring it to life, especially the cloud that looks less and less menacing as Holly starts to deal with her compulsions.
The Compulsion Cloud is a good story and very helpful book that will help children understand OCD better (or help parents/carers explain it to children). Whilst it is a serious book, the illustrations are fun and help readers visualise the story but also to lighten the text and add a bit of fun to the story, especially as the cloud starts to lose its power. A book that children with OCD will be able to relate to.
RRP: £8.99 (Paperback) / £5.99 (Kindle)
Available to buy from Amazon here.