Tag Archives: Depression

CanCon Review: The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

CanCon is the idea in Canada that a certain percentage of television/radio content needs to be Canadian in nature: either created by Canadian artists or about Canadian topics. Providing a few CanCon posts while I’m here seems only natural.

One message has been pounded into my head, daily, in my MPub classes: Canadians produce a lot of great artistic and cultural work. The irony is, now that I’m here and the deadlines are flying, I don’t get much of a chance to take it in.

An exception was last semester when we had a children’s book editor visit our editing class. She brought a bag full of children’s books to use on an exercise, and I was introduced to The Red Tree by Shaun Tan.

As soon as I laid eyes on the cover, I was sucked in and spent the next several minutes absorbing the book cover to cover. It’s surprisingly marketed as a children’s book, but it seemed to me to cut across boundaries of age. Both the art and typography are used in complex ways to tell the inner story of a little girl struggling with depression. She finds herself navigating a world that doesn’t make sense to her, feeling like she can’t communicate. (Fret not though, there is hope at the end!)

This is a fine example of Canadian literature that we rarely get exposed to in the US. But you don’t have to take my word for it!

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