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A New Norm: A Book to Help Kids and Adolescents

Up to one in four people are affected by mental illness according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and many cases go undiagnosed and untreated.

A newly published book, “A New Norm,” is an inspirational story intended to touch the lives of children, adolescents and even adults who struggle with difficulties in life and want to find a path to wellness.

A New Norm book cover artOrder 'A New Norm'

Books can be purchased from Children’s Home Society.

If you are interested in ordering book quantities of over 10 copies, please email Tammy Roberts at or call 605-965-3183.

Purchase the book online »

Make a contribution to benefit behavioral health.

Watch author Tom Roberts and Amber Reints, Nurse Practitioner at Avera Behavioral Health discuss how sometimes confusing and stormy feelings can be overwhelming and detrimental to our mental and physical well-being. 

About the Book

Published in partnership by Children’s Home Society and Avera Health, the book was written by Tom Roberts and illustrated by Jim Brummond. Shantrel DeJong, who works in the outpatient adolescent group therapy program at the Avera Behavioral Health Center, brought forward the idea for a story to share with the youth she works with.

“A New Norm” expresses the confusing and stormy feelings that can be overwhelming. The words follow a poetic cadence as illustrations use color and contrast to move the reader toward a spark of light and hope for a better reality.

The book tells the story of a boy named Norm, whose “norm” was living with a cloud over his head, and nothing he tried could make it go away. Norm goes through a time of crisis and through that journey comes to realize there is hope.

The Moral of the Story

“A New Norm” expresses how routine thoughts of negativity can sometimes cloud our reality, making it difficult to enjoy life, to appreciate what is truly good, to have positive relationships, or to develop to one’s full potential. If one is willing to look, willing to accept, and willing to try, there is a light both within and beyond to change our lives and our world for the better.

Norm thumbs up from A New Norm bookThe “spark of light” can be experienced in many forms, such as:

  • Talking with an encouraging friend, family member or trusted adult
  • Visiting with a counselor or therapist
  • Accepting professional medical help
  • Engaging in a healthy diet and exercise
  • Participating in creative activities
  • Helping others
  • Seeking a spiritual connection

Discussion Resources

Use “A New Norm” to spark discussions at home, at school or in church youth groups. View discussion questions with answer guidance or view a printable discussion and resource guide.

About the Author: Tom Roberts

photo of A New Norm book“A New Norm” is the seventh book written by Tom Roberts as a benefit for Children’s Home Society (CHS). Since 2002, Tom and Tammy Roberts have raised awareness for CHS through a variety of storytelling presentations and book signings, raising over $1.2 million to support the programs and services that CHS offers to help kids and families across the state.

If you are interested in booking a storytelling event with author Tom Roberts, please email Tammy Roberts at or call 605-965-3183.

About the Illustrator: Jim Brummond

Jim Brummond is an artist, graphic designer, illustrator, and photographer, recognized locally, regionally and internationally for his work. This is the sixth book Brummond has illustrated. “It truly is a great feeling to make the world a better place with art, and I really enjoy knowing that by creating illustrations and designing this book, I am helping kids and families!”

How to Get Help

Reach out for help for these symptoms of concern:

  • Ongoing feelings of deep sadness
  • Thoughts or comments about suicide or self-harm
  • Always feeling anxious or upset
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Quick to anger or talking about seeking revenge

Call Avera Behavioral Health Center’s 24-hour assessment line at 1-800-691-4336.

Other resources:

Moving Health Forward

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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