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This upbeat children’s book shows how easy it is to help someone having a really bad day.

Based on a True Story

Nice Shoes! by Dennis Gillan and Stephen Pihl.

Genre: Children’s book for ages 4–10

Life has its ups and downs. Especially for children, it can be hard to see the silver lining when things go awry. “Sometimes dark thoughts can overwhelm a child,” Gillan says. “But a kind word from another can really go a long way toward chasing off those negative thoughts.”

In Nice Shoes! Derek is having a really bad day. Nothing is going right at home or at school, and nobody is noticing his awesome new shoes. His day is turning out so rough that he just wants this day—and all of his days—to end. Then a tossed-off compliment from a popular kid changes everything.

This positive and inspirational story was based on Pihl’s own experience at school. “In writing this book for kids, I want to show how easy it is to help others, and how important doing so can be in someone’s life.”

The perfect book to help parents, teachers, and caregivers open a dialog with children about having a bad day and dark thoughts, and also about how they can brighten the day of someone else who might really need it.

Available online now at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other major online retailers!

About the Authors

Dennis Gillan is a national thought leader and accomplished speaker on the topic of suicide prevention and has dedicated his life to mental health advocacy. Dennis did a TEDx talk on loneliness and is the executive director of the Half A Sorrow Foundation, whose mission is to improve mental health for individuals and organizations by promoting real conversations. Dennis resides in Greenville, SC, with his lovely wife and their fur baby, Henry the Wonder Dog.  

Stephen Pihl is a graduate of the University of Delaware with degrees in biology and neuroscience. This story is about the lessons Stephen learned when he was younger and struggling with his mental health. Stephen plans to pursue a career in mental health research.


Dennis and Stephen met on April 15, 2018, at the University of Delaware. Dennis was brought in to speak at a fundraiser for suicide prevention, and he decided to incorporate students into his talk. Stephen was one of those students, and he told his story of having a rough day at school, and that became the inspiration for this book. This is the story behind the story, which makes the original story even cooler!!


Name: Dennis Gillan


Review copies and interviews are available.

The cover of our book!
A little compliment can go a long way!


#suicideprevention #mentalhealth #youmatter

Dennis Gillan

Author Dennis Gillan

More posts by Dennis Gillan

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