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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.