The Quiet PlaceThe Quiet Place
By Susan Stewart
Illustrated by David Small
Published by Farrar, Straux and Giroux

“Drawn in Small’s signature style, the delicate but vibrant illustrations, along with the pithy narrative vignettes, poignantly capture the emotional hardships and triumphs of the immigrant experience.” –School Library Journal

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Description
When Isabel and her family move to the United States, Isabel misses all the things she left behind in Mexico, especially her aunt Lupita and hearing people speak Spanish.  But she also experiences some wonderful new things–her first snow storm and a teacher who does not speak Spanish but has a big smile. Even better, Papa and her brother Chavo help her turn a big box into her own quiet place, where she keeps her books and toys and writes letters to Aunt Lupita. As she decorates and adds more and more on to her quiet place, it is here that Isabel feels the most at home in her new country while she learns to adjust to the changes in her life.

Set in the 1950s and told through Isabel’s letters to her aunt, Sarah Stewart and Caldecott Medalist David Small have created a charming and unforgettable young heroine who will win the hearts of readers in this story of immigration and assimilation.

Reviews & Accolades
“From her new home, Isabel writes about her struggle with learning English, starting school, helping her mother bake cakes for children’s parties, and building her “quiet place”–a cardboard playhouse where she feels safe. Central to the story, the construction of Isabel’s project closely follows her gradual adjustment to her new life. Small gives glimpses at the process throughout the book, starting with very shy Isabel asking for a discarded birthday box and ending with her unveiling her completed project at her birthday party, attended by everyone in the neighborhood. Spread over a double-page foldout, the “quiet place” explodes with color, lavishly decorated with Isabel’s art. No longer merely a comfy space, it transforms into a place for connecting with new friends, a symbol for fitting in. Drawn in Small’s signature style, the delicate but vibrant illustrations, along with the pithy narrative vignettes, poignantly capture the emotional hardships and triumphs of the immigrant experience. Another gem from this dynamic team.” –School Library Journal

“This gentle book from the husband-and-wife team behind the Caldecott Honor book The Gardener is aptly titled: Small’s fluid paintings do a splendid job of silent storytelling, just as Stewart’s taut narrative is gracefully subdued…Through Isabel, Stewart and Small offer a stirring, backyard-size metaphor for the determination and drive for self-betterment that characterize the immigrant experience.” –Publisher’s Weekly

“As in Stewart and Small’s previous The Gardener (1997) and The Journey (2001), letters to a loved one become the vehicle for a girl to explore what she sees, feels and comes to understand upon leaving home for the first time…Small’s imaginative use of color and masterful variation of line combine to focus attention on Isabel’s expressive face while developing other characters and creating a convincing period with Formica countertops and big-finned cars. Silent spreads allow readers time to ponder her predicament and imagine their own reactions…A warm, gentle portrait of an immigrant’s isolation and the ways that creativity and a loving family can offer both a safe haven and a bridge.” –Kirkus Reviews

Groups Represented
Mexican American

Themes
Immigration, family relationships

Setting
United States

Author Research
TBA

Engagement Projects
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