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Children's Literature"Mental health is the ability to play the game of social living...mental illness is the refusal to play or the inability to play well." This is a quote from Runaway Train, a well-researched book in the series on youth with special needs. It begins by telling the story of Sheila and Trent, two teens with emotional disturbances. Their frenetic tale of highs and lows gives a personal glimpse into the daily lives of people who see the world differently from others. Their story is interspersed with discussions on the definition of kinds of emotional disturbance, their causes and diagnoses and treatments. While laws protect persons with special needs and ensure that they receive specialized education, if needed, it does not protect them from the ridicule and harassment. Photographs and the story of Trent and Sheila make the nightmare of emotional disturbance a reality. Adolescence and its emotional and physical changes is a challenge for all, but particularly stressful for youth with emotional illness. Teen suicide rates are a clue that adjustment to life is not always easy. This book does a fine job of presenting issues of emotional disturbance in a comprehensive manner for the non-professional. An extensive resource list, an index, glossary and biographies of the collaborators are included. 2004, Mason Crest Publishing, Ages 10 up.
—Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.