I have been meaning to get my hands on this picturebook. When I saw it available on Overdrive, I nearly squealed aloud. I am also thrilled that it fits so beautifully with our current reading theme. Even while I have already read the e-book version, I think I will get myself a physical copy of this one. It is that good (and more).
I Go Quiet (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written and Illustrated by David Ouimet
Published by Norton Young Readers (2020)
ISBN: 1324004436 (ISBN13: 9781324004431). Borrowed from Singapore’s NLB Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
In this picturebook, a young girl who feels isolated and largely misunderstood, has decided to “go quiet.” There is a sense of futility attempting to connect with the whispering others, a sinking into one’s inner world, a succumbing to one’s expansive silences and living there .. for the meanwhile.
Often, the young girl is depicted to be one among a faceless, typical crowd: a sea of uniformity, each one interchangeable with the other. Yet this girl recognizes that she is unlike everybody else: there is both a sense of pride and utter loneliness, a self-contained vessel of suffering.
Yet amidst all this, she derives a sense of escape, a feeling of fleeing from the pages of a book. Each time she reads, the words spill out, wrap themselves around her, and make her feel less alone.
Reminiscent of Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree (Amazon | Book Depository – see my review here), this story evokes that feeling of being overwhelmed by something larger than one’s self, yet the girl steadies herself, allows her thoughts to soar, and climbs up book shelf ladders to free her mind. It is a remarkable story that features the redemptive quality of reading, solitude, and a quiet understanding of one’s worth and purpose. This is, hands down, one of my best reads this year.