SoHo, 1981. Twelve-year-old Olympia is an artist–and in her neighborhood, that’s normal. Her dad and his business partner Apollo bring antique paintings back to life, while her mother makes intricate sculptures in a corner of their loft, leaving Ollie to roam the streets of New York with her best friends Richard and Alex, drawing everything that catches her eye.
Then everything falls apart. Ollie’s dad disappears in the middle of the night, leaving her only a cryptic note and instructions to destroy it. Her mom has gone to bed, and she’s not getting up. Apollo is hiding something, Alex is acting strange, and Richard has questions about the mysterious stranger he saw outside. And someone keeps calling, looking for a missing piece of art. . .
Olympia knows her dad is the key–but first, she has to find him, and time is running out.
We are so excited to be participating in our first official blog tour!! Thank you so much to Viking books for reaching out to us! All the Greys on Greene Street is a fantastic middle-grade debut by author, Laura Tucker. The book deals with several aspects of mental health as well as exploring a lot of really cool things in relation to art. To celebrate its upcoming release, we asked the wonderful Laura Tucker to speak about art in relation to mental health!
Hey, there! Thank you so much for asking me to talk about art and mental illness. These are two big themes in my middle-grade novel, All the Greys on Greene Street. The main character, Olympia, is an artist growing up in a neighborhood filled with them. Her mom, who is also an artist, is suffering from clinical depression.
I think it’s really important to talk about mental health. There’s still a lot of stigma and confusion and ignorance and shame surrounding depression, which leads to secrecy. But a lot of people struggle with mental illness, and many kids grow up with a parent who is suffering. Depression is treatable: people do get help. It’s not something to be ashamed of or to hide.
As far as art and mental illness are concerned: many of us have a romantic (and dangerous!) idea that art and mental illness go hand-in-hand. I say dangerous because I’ve known artists who didn’t get the help they needed because they were worried their art would suffer if they felt better. Even worse, there are lots of instances where the people who stood to benefit from an artist’s output didn’t encourage them to get treatment.
A friend of mine is a talented and successful artist who lives with severe anxiety and depression. Her dad asked her once if she’d trade her mental illness if it meant she couldn’t make art anymore. Her response was: “In a second.” But it’s a false choice. My friend is stable—she’s worked really hard, and she’s gotten a lot of help. The good news is that the work she’s making now is better than ever.
The same is true for Ollie’s mom—the work she makes at the end of the book represents a breakthrough for her. But first, she needs help, and she can’t get that help while her condition is still a secret.
Laura Tucker has coauthored more than twenty books, including two New York Times bestselling memoirs. She grew up in New York City around the same time as Olympia, and now lives in Brooklyn with her daughter and husband; on Sunday mornings, you can find her at the door of Buttermilk Channel, one of their two restaurants. She is a cat person who cheats with dogs. All the Greys on Greene Street is her first novel.
Be sure to check out the other wonderful stops on the blog tour!
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
May 27 – Pop The Butterfly Reads – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
May 28 – The Busy B. Creative – Author Guest Post
May 29 – Adventures thru Wonderland – Moodboard
May 30 – Night Owl Book Café – Review
May 31 – Book Fidelity – Review
June 3 – Paper Procrastinators – Creative Instagram Picture + Blog Content
June 4 – Just Commonly – Author Guest Post: The Art Scene in NYC from 80s to the Millennium
June 5 – Library Lady’s Kid Lit – Review
June 6 – Tara’s Book Addiction – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
What’s your favorite piece of art? Are you planning on reading this book? What other book incorporates art well into the story?