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Annick Press Fall 2020

Why Are You So Quiet?
By (author): Jaclyn Desforges Illustrated by: Risa Hugo
Jaclyn Desforges ,

Illustrated by :

Risa Hugo



Product Form:


Form detail:

Picture book
Hardcover , Picture book


Children/juvenile: Interest age, years 4 - 7, Canadian school grade range P - 2, US school grade range P - 2, Reading age, years 4 - 7
Sep 08, 2020
$21.95 CAD


9.1in x 9.1 x 0.4 in | 280 gr

Page Count:

32 pages
Annick Press
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Chocolate Lily Award, BC Young Readers’ Choice Award 2021, Short-listed

Into a world where it often seems nobody is listening comes a poignant story that celebrates the power of silence.

“Why are you so quiet?” Her teacher implores it, her classmates shout it, even her mom wonders it. Everyone, it seems, is concerned for Myra Louise. So, in search of an answer to the tiresome question nobody will stop asking, she invents a listening machine. If the raindrops, or the crickets, or the dryers at the laundromat can tell her why they’re so quiet, maybe Myra Louise can finally make everybody understand. But the more she listens, the less interested she becomes in finding any answer at all. Because Myra Louise comes to realize that all she really needs is someone else to listen alongside her.

With gorgeous illustrations from Risa Hugo, Jaclyn Desforges’s first picture book champions introversion and the value of being a listener, a thinker, and an observer in our increasingly loud world.

Timely theme: Social and Emotional Learning titles continue to be parent favorites. This book beautifully celebrates introversion and listening. The story underscores that there’s nothing wrong with being quiet; it’s other people who need to learn how to understand her way of being.

Strong protoganist: Myra Louise is quiet--and inventive and couragous! In Myra Louise we have a character who notices details, is sensitive to her environment, imaginative and creative. She’s an observer, an artist, an inventor, a maker… a problem solver.

Gorgeous illustration: Risa Hugo's images are as inventive as Myra Louise

Jaclyn Desforges is a Pushcart-nominated writer whose work has appeared in The Puritan, The Fiddlehead, Contemporary Verse 2, Minola Review and others. She’s the winner of the 2018 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award, and also the winner of two Short Works Prizes: the 2019 Hamilton Public Library Freda Waldon Award for Fiction, and the 2019 Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd. Award for Poetry. She’s an MFA candidate at the University of British Columbia and lives in Hamilton, Ontario with her partner and daughter.

Risa Hugo is an illustrator with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Major in Illustration from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She spent most of her childhood living in Japan but currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and their son.

“The illustrations are charming and beautifully done. The book is a tender challenge for children (and adults also) to be silent observant listeners too. Take heed . . . the world has lots to teach us in its silence! I highly recommend this book. Well done!”

- Storywraps, 06/16/20

“A delightful read.”

- BuzzBees Book Reviews, 07/21/20

“Celebrates diversity by championing Myra Louise’s quiet, contemplative way of being . . . Should be read aloud in every Kindergarten classroom across the country, but it also deserves a place in libraries and homes.”

- CM Reviews, *starred review, 06/26/20

“A great story for children who both love to talk and love to listen.”

- Hidden Worlds Books, 08/25/20

“This endearing must-read of a quiet heroine is sure to become a classic go-to tale in a frenetic world.”

- Canadian Children’s Book News, *starred review, Fall/2020

“This book could really open up a discussion about how children are all different and how it is important to embrace those differences.”

- Youth Services Book Review, 10/28/20

“Teaches kids to slow down, to appreciate something more than technology.”

- My Book Abyss, 01/13/21

“Authentic and inspiring.”

- Sal’s Ficiton Addiction, 02/04/21

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