Return to homepage Skip to navigation Skip to site search Skip to main content Skip to footer


Depression picture book for children launched

1 August 2015

How do you talk about mental health issues without sounding preachy? By not using any words! Meh is a wordless picture book designed to facilitate discussion about depression with children from a young age.

A graduate of Abertay University’s Computer Arts degree, Deborah Malcolm was inspired to create a book about depression by hearing award-winning novelist Neil Gaiman speak about moving away from conventional stories.

Having personal experience with the illness, she wanted to help others with imagery so others may understand it better. When she saw the lack of picture books addressing this potentially debilitating illness, she was even more set on completing Meh.

A book launch event, open and free to the public, will be held at Waterstones in Livingston at 1pm on Sunday 2 August.

Both children and adults are welcome to come and hear author and illustrator Deborah Malcolm discuss her creative process and involve the kids in interactive activities.

Deborah Malcolm 1 ‌ 

Deborah says: “Mental illness is a difficult subject to talk about, and can be complex for a sufferer to describe.

“Meh was designed to be completely wordless so that the reader can come to their own conclusion of what they think depression is. It is different for everyone.

“It is also a tool for parents, guardians and teachers to use to teach children about mental health.

“I hope it will engage them in discussion about mental illnesses so that they might have a better chance of tackling them in the future and reduce the stigma surrounding it.”

Deborah Malcolm 2 ‌ 

During research into children’s picture book illustrations for her final project at Abertay University, Deborah discovered the Norwegian book Haret til Mamma by Gro Dahle and Svein Nyhus, where depression is illustrated metaphorically.

This sparked her curiosity to explore depression through illustration, using metaphors and ideas to express the illness visually, like sinking into a black hole or being chased by darkness. These images were developed into a narrative to create the final picture book.


For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Manager) – T: 01382 308522 M: 07837 250284 E:


About ThunderStone Books

Founded by Robert and Rachel Noorda, ThunderStone Books is a publisher of educational books about topics such as Chinese (Monkey Gains His Powers, Picturing Chinese), science (Elements of Evil) and now mental health with Meh.

About Deborah Malcolm

Deborah Malcolm is an illustrator from Livingston, Scotland who focuses on character design and visual narrative to create wordless stories. She has a First Class Honours Degree in Computer Arts from Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland. She loves cats (which make an appearance in her first picture book), alpacas and Pokémon.

Back to News