The Silence Seeker ISBN: 9781848530034
Published by Transworld Publishers, 2009
Joe wants to meet the new boy next door, but his mum explains that he may be tired because he is an 'asylum seeker' and probably wants some quiet time. Joe mis-hears what his mum says and thinks the boy must be a 'silence seeker'. That is right up Joe's street, because he knows all the quiet places in his big city. The new boy, older and bigger than Joe, spends lots of time sitting on the steps outside his house, so Joe takes him a jam sandwich, and while the boy doesn't speak, he does follow Joe to all the quiet places Joe knows about. The only problem is that none of them are quiet. There are always lots of people there, mostly teenagers throwing stones or playing loud music, or shoving each other around. There are noisy homeless people too, and Joe gets discouraged about finding any silent places for his new friend. The boy seems pleased, though, and takes Joe's hand and smiles. The next morning the family have disappeared in the night and Joe is sad. Perhaps, he thinks, 'it was too noisy for him here.' He hopes he finds the silence he needs. The busy illustrations in this superb picture book are full of the noise of the city quite as much as the text, and we feel for the boy who is not used to the bang and clatter that he finds himself in. But we also know that Joe's friendship has meant a lot to the boy who finds himself in an utterly strange world. With Joe, we hope he finds the place he needs and that he is allowed to stay there.