“The Boy in the Dark Hole” is a children’s book by prolific writer Vaishali Shroff, a short yet profound story about a 10-year-old boy, SP, who has fallen into a deep, black hole and can’t seem to get out.

The tale is written from the point-of-view of SP himself, and how a dark hole is swallowing him up. He only wants to sketch, read his favourite poems, have fun with his two best friends Kuhu and Lobo, and chase rainbows with his father along the streets of Mumbai. But his father wants him to play football when SP has no interest in it, he is bullied and teased at school and he can’t enjoy the things he loves doing most.

Looking into a cardboard tube his mom gave him to put in his craft box, he imagines that he is falling into a hole, reliving the worst days of his life.

The book does a great job explaining the concept of depression to children, while exploring the fact that even their mental health is important. It also shows that sometimes a little light can illuminate a whole world.

An illustration by Samidha Gunjal

The book’s language is simple and easy to understand, and the beautiful illustrations by Samidha Gunjal bring life to its pages. Children of all ages shall certainly enjoy perusing this book. It is surely worth giving a read!

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