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The Revolutionary Nature Of Silence and The Redemptive Act of Reading in “I Go Quiet”

"I Go Quiet" by David Ouimet.

Myra here.

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.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “The Revolutionary Nature Of Silence and The Redemptive Act of Reading in “I Go Quiet”

  1. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] Of Silence and Reading – Gathering Books

  2. Pingback: [My 2020 in Books] Favourite Books Read in 2020 – Gathering Books

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