A stunning debut picture book acclaimed by Kirkus Reviews, Foreword Clarion & Canadian Children's Book News
36 pages, premium color printing.
Available in hardcover, softcover and e-book editions.
For one young child, nothing has been the same since losing their father. Words won’t fit together. Playing soccer is no longer fun. And every night brings the same terrible dream... a black, slurping pit that looks just like the period their father taught about as a grammar teacher. Periods mean something has ended, forever.
After receiving the gift of their father’s old grammar book, other symbols appear in the dream. The comma that carries one idea to another might keep the child from being slurped up for a while, but to escape their nightmare for good, the child must make a startling discovery – one that will reach beyond dreams to help heal their grief and teach them the meaning of their father’s favourite symbol of all.
Written by Britt Sayler and illustrated by Dorota Rewerenda, The Semicolon is a compelling, sensitive picture book that gives voice to the experience of childhood depression. Inspired by the use of the semicolon by mental health advocates around the world, this story will help parents and educators begin conversations with children about big feelings, finding hope and building emotional resilience.
Intended audience: The Semicolon is an upper-level picture that deals with difficult themes including grief and depression. It is intended to be be read and discussed with children ages 5+. The Semicolon can also be used by trained mental health professionals working with young people or adolescents (learn more under Reader Resources). Please note that some of the book's dynamic layout may pose challenges for readers with dyslexia.
What Readers Are Saying
"As a mental health counselor, I am always on the lookout for children's books that touch on emotions, relationships, trauma and other important topics. The Semicolon is a new favorite."
- Jen Woodrum, author & mental health practitioner
“As someone who suffers with depression and is currently suffering, this book brought a new meaning of the semicolon to me even as an adult. This book is a great reminder that no matter how bad we feel our story is not over…"
- Natalie, book reviewer, @all_books_great_and_small
“WHAT. A. POWERFUL. BOOK."
- Amanda Bacon-Davis, bestselling author of This Thing Has a Name
"Objectively, the most beautiful and most important children's book I've ever read."
- Bri, B.C.
"So beautiful, powerful, important and necessary."
- Jane, Cleveland, Ohio
"Thank you for writing this book."
"Brilliantly illustrated and delicately written, The Semicolon is hauntingly beautiful in both picture
and prose... As a children’s yoga teacher, The Semicolon will be an irreplaceable teaching tool. A wonderful book to help start conversation about deep emotions while providing comfort and hope to
those experiencing them."
- Trisha Keesmaat, yoga instructor & children's book author
"I love this book. I love, love, love how it weaves depression and punctuation - two topics that no one talks about enough - into such a compelling and touching story. It's got depth. It's a little bit funny and heartwarming. It's beautifully illustrated. It's helpful. And it's a great story that everyone can relate to in some way."
- Sarah, Toronto
“I like that the illustrations aren’t gender specific so all readers can identify with the protagonist. Although it looks like a children’s book, adults reading the book can also pick up the concept of the semicolon."
- Mary, York Region, Ontario