Behind Your Face: An Interactive Children’s Book on Mental Health

My capstone project centers on the increasing demands of children’s mental health space. The growing need for societal congruence can be detrimental to the developing minds of children. The consequences for children not having a proper mental health space are devastating to families, society, and the world. Through my capstone project I ask; how might design research better facilitate a connection between children’s wellbeing and storytelling?

In the Fall 2021 semester,I researched children’s storytelling; did you know that our ideals of children today stem from the romantic era? Or that fairytales weren’t originally written for children? Or that the industrial revolution was built with tiny hands? One thing came up over and over again in my various forms of research, surveys and interviews: Resilience. How then could I transfer my research of resilience into my storytelling about mental health?
Here’s some initial storylines and sketches of one of the main characters. I designed this fella to be extremely expressive to show that emotions, regardless of what they are, are safe and welcome. The story itself has changed multiple times as I integrated more and less to portray the direction of a safe space that I wanted to emulate with charming characters and lyrical storytelling.
In this slide, the reader is asked to imagine our main character from the deep dark ocean blue…
This spread is near the end of the book after the main character has given the reader an opportunity to figure out what nothings and something’s are. This part of the story is bittersweet as the main character is leaving. There’s plenty of texture throughout the story to elicit the imperfect nature of humanness and traditional forms. I believe that there’s magic.