I Go Quiet
I Go Quiet

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Annotation: An introverted young girl finds her voice through reading and the power of imagination in this stunning debut picture book.
Catalog Number: #214093
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: W. W. Norton
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-324-00443-6 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7888-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-324-00443-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7888-6
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2019032138
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Publishers Weekly
-When it-s my turn/ to speak,/ I go/ quiet.- This eerie, brooding picture book for older readers follows a girl whose sense of alienation isolates and silences her. She trudges alone through an unrecognizable, dreamlike city and into a gloomy, dystopian institution filled with hostile peers. All the children carry catlike masks, to be worn at prescribed times. The girl-s is a mouse mask; in one spotlit scene, she removes it. -I would leave if I could fly,- she says, looking up at the ceiling. Yet there is redemption. Reading is the girl-s solace, she says, and although artwork by musician and artist Ouimet, making his picture book debut, stays dark, readers see intricate, delicate tendrils of life beginning to spread: -When I read, I feel that every/ living thing is part of me.- In this way, she is led to solid ground: -I may be part of everything too,- she decides. -And I am not small.- Though the conclusion doesn-t bear traditional signs of transformation, Ouimet provides the girl with promise: a sense of refuge, faith that all will be well, and a voice that will, -someday,- be heard. Ages 6-8. (Mar.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 14 This picture book is a deep contemplation about neurodivergence and perceptions of difference, despite its spare text. In a massive surrealist industrial city where the hordes wear cat masks as they operate machinery, a young girl dons a mouse mask and "goes quiet." In a first-person narrative comprised of short phrases, the narrator states that she is different, "the note that's not in tune." The illustrations are dark in color and in sentiment. They are both charcoal smudged and intricately detailed, with the city's controlled chaos leaving a feeling of claustrophobia on the page. The setting seems both old-fashioned and futuristic, and bustling spreads are well-balanced with several paneled pages and and those with ample white space. The story turns around when the girl finds a library and literally climbs out of her darkness into an inner calm. This allows her to recognize her place in the world and her potential voice. She states, "When I am heard I will build cities with my words. They will not be quiet." VERDICT While not a light read, this book is an important resource for children who don't feel they fit in. Purchase this hauntingly beautiful story to show them that they are not alone. Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* The story seems simple enough: an introverted girl goes quiet when others are around. "I sing silence," she muses, "as loud as I can." Often others whisper when she enters a room, perhaps because she is self-admittedly different. As if to underscore this, she is always alone, even when surrounded by a sea of other children, all of whom wear identical cat masks, perhaps to demonstrate their conformity or simply to menace. The girl, too, has a mask, but hers is different, the face of a mouse. She would leave, she thinks, if she could fly, and, indeed, there's a picture of her soaring like the ravens that clutter the sky. Happily, she does find escape books and reading. Ultimately, the story and the text that tells it are slender but large in their universality, while the paintings that accompany them are eye-poppingly rich and elaborate. In mostly monochromatic shades of gray, they evoke a steampunk atmosphere, one filled with elaborate machines, smog, and smoke. They also depict vast interior landscapes: a crowd of children filling a classroom that extends as far as the eye can see, and an enormous library with soaring ladders. The result is a thought-provoking tale that is both tantalizing and timeless, where disquiet is dispelled through hope and sprouting confidence.
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: 1-4
Lexile: 460L

How do you find your voice, when no one seems to be listening? In David Ouimet's spellbinding debut, a young girl struggles to make herself heard, believing she is too insignificant and misunderstood to communicate with the people in her life. Anxious about how she thinks she should look and speak, the girl stays silent, turning to books to transport her to a place where she is connected to the world, and where her words hold power. As she soon discovers, her imagination is not far from reality, and the girl realizes that when she is ready to be heard, her voice will ring loud and true. Ouimet's stirring and haunting illustrations masterfully capture how it feels to be a lonely, self-conscious child unsure of how to claim a space in the world.

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