I Go Quiet

Norton. Mar. 2020. 48p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781324004431.
Gr 1-4–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.

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