Who's Jerry?


Children - Picture Book
36 Pages
Reviewed on 12/13/2020
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

T. M. Jackson was born in Southern California, but her naval career has taken her all over the world. When she was a child her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but no one explained her mother was unwell and needed help. She started writing because she loves that stories can be a way to convey thoughts, feelings and experiences to others without ever having to meet them. She hopes Who’s Jerry? will help combat the stigma surrounding mental health assistance that often prevents people of color from seeking professional help. This is her debut children’s book.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Erin Nicole Cochran for Readers' Favorite

Who’s Jerry? by T.M. Jackson is a children’s picture book about mental illness, specifically schizophrenia. The little girl, Imani, is struggling throughout most of the story to understand what is happening to her mother and trying to figure out who this Jerry person is that her mother talks about constantly. The narrative and dialogue of Who’s Jerry are completely realistic; it felt like it was really happening right in front of you, which was heartbreaking to watch unfold. I have to admit to my eyes welling up with tears by the end of it.

T.M. Jackson’s Who’s Jerry? is a children’s picture book with a very adult theme that I have never seen addressed in a children’s book before, so for me at least, this is brand-new territory. And it is brand-new territory that desperately needs to be explored because there are so many people on this planet dealing with all kinds of mental illnesses that are especially hard for children to understand. Mental illness is not an easy road for anyone involved. The illustrations created by Darwin Marfil are beautiful and bring the little girl Imani to life in her cherubic form. The story behind it clashes so sadly but importantly with the material. The beautiful faces demonstrating confusion and sadness send a chill down your spine because we know that this is happening somewhere. And we’re seeing it in a medium that most of us haven’t seen it in before. An educational medium that is important for everyone to read.

Jack Magnus

Who's Jerry? is a children’s nonfiction educational picture book written by Tess Jackson and illustrated by Darwin Marfil. Imani was so excited when she received an A on her math test that she ran home to show her mom, but her mom began to panic and ordered Imani to stay away. Imani was in tears as she ran to her room and cried on her pillow. She was worried about her mom. Imani had heard her speaking about Jerry for some time now, but Jerry seemed to be only in her mom’s imagination. Imani didn’t understand why Jerry would dislike her. She also missed having her mom fix her hair and take care of her. Her mom just hid in her bedroom. Kids started to notice Imani’s hair was getting messy, and her clothes were not as clean as they usually were. Her teacher, Mr. Jackson, wondered why she had done poorly on her last two tests. When he suggested he speak to her mom, Imani quickly said no, but she did think calling her dad would be fine. Dad came to the school and then went home with Imani. He soon realized her mom needed to go to the doctor. She would get better, but, for now, Imani would stay with him.

Tess Jackson’s Who’s Jerry? takes a look at the impact a parent’s mental illness can have on their child. It also demonstrates how medical care and medication can help relieve unsettling manifestations, such as Imani’s mom’s imaginary friend. This is an important issue as mental health is often overlooked or stigmatized. Jackson’s book shows how a family can come together to work through a parent’s mental illness and highlights how Imani’s mom never stopped loving her, not for one moment. Darwin Marfil’s illustrations work perfectly with the story and show how Imani is impacted at first, but then begins to heal when she goes home to live with her dad while her mom gets better. Jackson also includes a list of resources for parents and caregivers. An excellent choice for storytime, Who’s Jerry? is also written at a level suitable for new readers to try on their own. Who’s Jerry? is most highly recommended.

Geree McDermott

One of the most difficult topics to discuss with a young child must be the mental illness of their mother. It is hard enough for most adults to understand mental illness let alone a young child. How can we explain why Mom is acting so strangely? Why does Mom act like she doesn’t love them anymore? How can children learn to cope with Mom’s mental illness? This is where Who’s Jerry? by T.M. Jackson comes to the aid of everyone who needs guidance to help them navigate through such turbulent emotions.

In a beautifully written story, T.M. Jackson shows a young girl who's hurt by her mother’s strange and hostile behavior and how it is not only hurtful but frightening as well. Little Imani cannot understand what would make her mother behave so oddly. She tries to understand but fear and shame are hard to endure for a little girl alone without a mother who loves her. But, Who’s Jerry? explains what is happening to the mentally ill mother who suffers from schizophrenia and that she still loves her daughter.

Who’s Jerry? is well written so even young children can understand what is happening in the story. And those who have a mom like Imani’s will quickly identify with Imani and learn how to cope with a mother who suffers from schizophrenia and what Mom needs to do to stay well. I can see T.M. Jackson’s Who’s Jerry? becoming a best-seller children’s book assisting schools, hospitals, therapists, libraries, and the homes of children with schizophrenic moms.