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A Look Inside: A Picture Book Review of Lost Inside My Head

Lost Inside My Head written and illustrated by Vigg, translated from the French by David Warriner, published by Orca Book Publishers.

David Warriner has translated the original French version of this auto-biographical book, Ma Maison-tête, into English. And I hope many other translations exist or will soon. With clear illustrations reminiscent of certain late modern designs, readers easily step into the main character’s head. Vincent has ADHD, and a lot is happening in his head. In clear and accessible language, readers are able to sympathize, if not relate, to the chaos most apparent in The Control Room.

Although this book focuses on Vincent’s head, readers also see into his heart. After Vincent can’t recall the fable he is to recite in front of the class, all of his classmates laugh. That laughter hits him “like shards of glass.” Later, during a tour of the house inside his head, readers see the “chute for nasty words” where he throws away all the nasty things people say to him. Nonetheless, he has “the feeling that they’re still there somewhere.”

But there are rooms that bring some comfort to Vincent as well, like The Dark Room and The Space Room, where he can go to rest, recharge, or count the stars. But the best room may be The Light Room “where anything is possible.”

Vincent opens up his mind for readers to understand where he goes at difficult moments and, specifically, during key times of his school day. When his dad takes him to the cinema, he realizes how much easier it is to focus when everything goes dark except for one screen. He takes this understanding back to The Control Room to see if he can make some changes.

All the while, the characters, a fox and a crow, from the fable he had to recite represent positive and negative self-talk.

Lost Inside My Head is a longer narrative than most recent picture books, but it’s not a story that should hurry. Experiencing this book with a child should take as long as it needs. I can imagine a child stopping the adult reader to say, “That’s how I feel, too.” That valuable moment should be given all the time it demands… like any good story.

Imagine It!

Imagine one of your stuffed animals or a doll has had a wonderful day! Draw an outline of their head and color in everything that makes them happy – activities, special foods, books, people, etc.

Now imagine they had a bad day. What could be the reasons? Draw another outline and color in what might have happened or what activities, foods, lessons, people, etc. could have turned their day sour.

Lastly, imagine they had an OK day, some things may not have gone their way, but some things did! Imagine how that might look inside their head and do one more drawing.

If you’re ever having a hard time expressing what happened during your day or how you are feeling, you could show a trusted grown-up one of these drawings. If you’re feeling extra brave, you could draw one for yourself.

Imagine the relief when a loved one understands what’s going on inside your head.

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