To the world, Ezra seems like a typical, happy fourth grader, yet making friends and joining groups can be overwhelming. His teacher introduces the idea of everyone having an “invisible” backpack with bricks that others cannot see. These bricks represent obstacles, emotions, and worries that people carry with them each day. From this, Ezra begins to realize that a smile on the outside doesn’t always reflect what's happening on the inside.
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The purpose of Ezra's Invisible Backpack
The invisible backpack is a concrete tool for children to utilize in their daily lives to better understand and express their emotions.
We created this book to inspire empathy in children, empower them to identify their individual struggles, and help them recognize that they're not alone.
Go further with discussion questions and tools at the back of the book that encourage positive mental health.
Meet the authors!
Hannah Cohen is an actor and creator based in New York City. She has worked with children her entire life, helping them learn and grow through various art-forms. After struggling personally for years with mental health, and losing her cousin to depression, she was inspired to share this story in hopes of helping children develop a foundation of positive mental health from a young age.
Dina Rock, an elementary school educator for over 30 years, has been sharing her love of literature with students throughout her career. Dina believes the message of a story can empower someone to believe in themselves and speak their truths. Her experience in the classroom, working with children of all ages, coupled with the loss of her nephew to depression, inspired Dina to write a story that fosters positive mental health.
Reviews & Endorsements
In a world where mental health remains stigmatized and language around emotions is yet to be taught, people of all ages move through life with a heaviness they’re unable to describe. Ezra’s Invisible Backpack creates language around struggles all of us have but aren’t able to communicate. The invisible backpack provides a way for people of all ages to express their feelings to others with the understanding that they are not alone. As the prevalence of mental illness continues to rise, I believe the invisible backpack will empower others to reach out for help when they otherwise might not have. Ezra’s Invisible Backpack fills a gaping hole left by the lack of education around emotion identification, mental health, and the power of empathy. This book should be on the shelf of every home, classroom, and therapist’s office as a necessary resource for people of all ages.
- Sydney Gideon, LSW
Helping children, teens, and young adults learn the words to express their inner experiences and struggles may be the most important skill we can teach them... second only to teaching them how to recognize and empathize with others' experiences and struggles. Ezra's Invisible Backpack provides a wonderful metaphor to teach these skills and to begin a discussion about the weights, both heavy and light, we carry with us.