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Children's Fiction General


by (author) Marla Lesage

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2022
General, Parents, Depression & Mental Illness
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


A moving graphic novel, AWOL explores the realities of PTSD from a kid's perspective. The book includes an author's note and kid-friendly mental health resources.

As a military child, eleven-year-old Leah moves...a lot. But this summer she will be the one left behind when her best friend’s family is reassigned. To make matters worse, her mother will be away for training, leaving Leah at home with her father, who has just returned from deployment. When a new girl moves into her neighborhood, Leah must navigate the ups and downs of making a new friend while avoiding her father’s unpredictable mood swings.

Praise for We Wear Masks, winner of the Alice Kitts Memorial Award for Excellence in Children's Writing 2020:

“A timely book. The engaging rhymes and beautiful illustrations representing diverse community members, show readers different reasons masks are worn.”—The Toronto Star

“A book for the moment in which we find ourselves, and it offers a ready avenue for opening discussions with our children about what is occurring in the world around them. Recommended.”—CM: Canadian Review of Materials

About the author

Marla Lesage est une infirmière qui aime raconter des histoires, vraies ou imaginées, en dessinant, en peignant, en illustrant et en décrivant des scènes de la vie urbaine. Ses oeuvres figurent dans des collections privées au Canada, aux États-Unis et en Australie, et son premier livre illustré, Pirate Year Round, est paru en 2019. Elle a eu l’idée d’écrire À chacun son masque en visitant une ferme pédagogique. Ses enfants, masqués, ont alors découvert que les masques ont un superpouvoir : bloquer les odeurs nauséabondes ! Marla habite près de Fredericton, au Nouveau-Brunswick.


Marla Lesage's profile page


  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens

Editorial Reviews

“Nuanced...Inviting art is classic comic-strip style with sturdy lines and soft color washes...Thoughtful slice-of-life realness.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Expresses very raw, real feelings and emotions that will help readers with their own similar experiences feel a connection or provide a window into the lives of families in the military for unfamiliar readers.”

Children's Literature

“Lesage is able to convey the complexities of a serious disorder in a simple, child-friendly manner…A very thought-provoking graphic novel that highlights the everyday realities of mental illness. Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Thoughtfully explores what PTSD might look like to a child...Timely and universal. It will especially resonate for young people who have experienced isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Canadian Children's Book News

Other titles by Marla Lesage

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