Who Stole Bhaiya’s Smile – Picturebook about depression

This is a creative commons picture book, CC-BY-SA brought to us by Pratham Books. It is a level 4 book suitable for older children, middle to upper elementary.

Author: Sanjana Kapur, Illustrator: Sunaina Coelho

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Text from who Stol Bhaiya’s Smile – a picture book about depression

Chiru and Bhaiya used to play all the time. They’d explore caves under the staircase and fight aliens on the mango tree in the backyard.

Bhaiya always made Chiru laugh.
“Mangausura is from Mars and she is here to destroy your house! Ha ha!” Bhaiya said.
“Aaaah! I will trap and gobble up Mangausura. Bahahahaha!” Chiru said.

But it’s been a long time since Chiru and Bhaiya have played together. Bhaiya doesn’t like playing with anyone these days!
“Why don’t you feel like playing?” Chiru yells at Bhaiya.
“I don’t want to. I am stuck with this big monster on my back!” Bhaiya says.

Chiru names the monster Dukduk.
“Dukduk must be mean and grumpy,” Chiru thinks. “It feels like he has swallowed Bhaiya’s smile up!”
Since then, Dukduk is always with Bhaiya. “Tell your monster to go away! I don’t like him at all,” Chiru tells Bhaiya.

Sometimes, Dukduk is bigger than a truck! Bhaiya gets angry about everything on those days. He even eats his food angrily!

Mama thinks she knows how to make Bhaiya feel better. “You should go out for a walk. The fresh air will do you good,” Mama says.

On other days Dukduk seems to be holding on to Bhaiya. He doesn’t even let Bhaiya get out of bed.

Papa keeps asking Bhaiya about his mood and tells him how to fix it.
“What’s wrong, why aren’t you eating your food?” Papa says. “Eat well and your problems will go away.

There are days when Dukduk is small and floats around like a kite. Then Bhaiya gets out of bed and plays with Chiru.
But he gets tired very fast.

Nani and Nana tell Bhaiya what is wrong with him. “Arre, you kids and your problems. In my day,
we were tougher!” Nani says.
“You are just too distracted,” Nana says.

“It’s all in your head. You just have to put your mind to it and you will snap out of it,” everyone says.
“I will try,” Bhaiya says. “It isn’t that easy”.

Chiru tries distracting Bhaiya.
“Look at this new book, Bhaiya! Aren’t the pictures pretty?”
“They are okay, Chiru.” Bhaiya says.

“Bhaiya, have you seen the new train set?” Chiru squeals.
“Hmm, nice,” says Bhaiya.

“Mangausura is here! Run Bhaiya!” Chiru yells.
“Not now, Chiru. I don’t want to play,” Bhaiya says.

“Dukduk is making him sad and angry,” Chiru thinks.
She throws a pillow at Dukduk! “Take that, you horrible thing! Get away from Bhaiya and
give back his smile.”

It is Bhaiya’s birthday today. Chiru has baked a cake.
“Thank you, Chiru,” Bhaiya smiles.
Chiru frowns. “Bhaiya’s smile is very different these days.”

Chiru sits next to Bhaiya. “Is your new friend making you unhappy?”
Bhaiya nods.

“I feel like being happy, but it’s hard work on most days,” Bhaiya explains.
“How long do you think your friend will stay?” Chiru asks.
“I don’t know,” Bhaiya says.

“It’s okay,” Chiru says. “We can play whenever you feel like.”
Bhaiya smiles his old smile. Dukduk becomes smaller.

Bhaiya is even getting help from Doctor Aunty.

Dukduk is still there. On some rare days, he is big. Chiru waits for those days to pass. On most days, Dukduk is small and on those days Bhaiya likes to play.

<End of story>

Dukduk = Depression
When you break your arm, or have a cough you take medicine to feel better. The brain, like any other organ, can get hurt and may need help to feel better. Sometimes we feel sad. We cry, we sulk and we get angry, but the mood passes and we feel better. It is normal to feel sad.
Some people feel sadness that stays for a long time. Our brain helps us think, act and feel, so when we are sad all the time, it changes the way we behave. It makes us grumpy. We don’t feel like doing anything. It makes us feel unwanted. Some people feel like a big monster is sitting on them and making them feel bad about themselves. They even feel like the monster will never go away. This monster is called depression.
When you see someone sad for no reason, talk to them. Tell them that you may not understand how it feels, but you can see it is hard and you would like to help. If you feel that way, tell your family and friends. It also helps to talk to a doctor like a psychologist or psychiatrist.

End of book Who Stole Bhaiya’s Smile –  Picturebook about depression

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Comments 10

  • I liked the monster because it is very big.His family helped him cheer up.Thats my favorite part of the story . My most favorite part was all of them working together to make him happy.

  • Yes, it helps younger ones understand what depression can be like in a non clinical but real way as well. It reminds people that it’s not a choice of the person struggling and it’s not something we can control. But having family and friends stay and support makes such a difference. I struggle with depression so this book will help when I have children of my own 🙂

    • Hi Anne, thanks so much for sharing that, it is great to hear people identifying with the theme and not only can it help children understand their friends or their own feelings, but also parents who suffer from depression to explain why they sometimes feel the way they do.

  • i like this book because it explains depression as a monster and friend. it also explains what depression can do and that you should talk to an adult

  • This book is very good i think u should post more of these it helps people.

  • I love this story very much. Thank you! I’ll try to read another one.

  • yes I enjoyed it, I would like more like this

  • In my opinion, this book is a must read or/and an important share! There are too many teen suicides!! Kids needing and wanting help, but don’t know who to talk to or where to go. Some are even being bullied!! If they could see or read material like this!! One never knows what could or who could reach a person’s hurt heart ❤️

  • This book was very interesting! I had a very good narrator to read the book out loud.


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