December 6, 2017
South Burnett libraries are now stocking a book produced by a local author to help people struggling with mental health issues, particularly depression and bullying.
Nanango author and artist Karen Russell, who suffers from a major depressive illness herself, unveiled “Deakon the Dragon is Sad” last year.
The book tells the story of Deakon the Dragon’s sadness, bullying and isolation, and how he eventually finds happiness again through the support of his family and friends.
Karen spent two years writing the words and producing all the artwork for the children’s book, which originally began life as a poem.
After she’d written it, Karen said she realised it could make a good story to help parents and children understand mental illness.
“It can help a parent explain their sickness to their children, and children can relate to the story if they are being bullied themselves,” she said.
Last year, Karen entered the unpublished manuscript in a competition and won a $2000 voucher from Officeworks.
She used this to buy a much-needed laptop and get some promotional copies of her book printed.
The book made its public debut at a Mental Health Forum held at the Blackbutt Showgrounds last October, and the annual disAbility Art Show at the Kingaroy Art Gallery the following month.
As part of a Partners in Recovery initiative – which focuses on improving outcomes for people in the community who experience persistent mental illness – Karen’s books will now also be available at each branch of the South Burnett Regional Council’s libraries.
Communities portfolio chair Cr Danita Potter thanked Partners In Recovery for donating six copies of the book to the libraries.
“The availability of this book through our libraries is extremely beneficial,” Cr Potter said.
“It’s already received positive feedback from the community.”