Katharine Johnson northwoods Minnesota lake at sunset

Katharine Johnson

Sylvie’s Silence

Sylvie doesn’t talk. A secret Sylvie must not talk about is stitched inside a jagged scar that runs down her face. The trag­ic acci­dent that dis­fig­ured her and tak­en her voice has also torn away her mem­o­ry and iden­ti­ty. While liv­ing with a fos­ter fam­i­ly in North­ern Min­neso­ta, the search for her real fam­i­ly and iden­ti­ty begins. Lit­tle by lit­tle, dreams and bits of recov­ered mem­o­ry reveal the mys­tery of her acci­dent and her past. As she dis­cov­ers the truth, Sylvie strug­gles to find the inner strength and courage to face what she has always feared the most—the painful mem­o­ries and guilt she has been try­ing to forget.

Author’s Note

When I start­ed writ­ing Sylvie’s Silence, I had no idea where it would lead me. I only knew that I want­ed to write about a young girl who’d sur­vived a trau­mat­ic acci­dent that left her scarred in more ways than one.

As the sto­ry took shape, I found that the late 1950’s fit the time peri­od I needed—a time before seat belts and the inter­net, yet not too far in the dis­tant past. Minnesota’s Iron Range for a set­ting was a no-brain­er because I had spent 15 years of my most cru­cial grow­ing-up years there.

I love doing research into the peri­ods I choose for my sto­ries. When I dis­cov­ered that The Day the Music Died with Bud­dy Hol­ly, J. P. ‘Big Bop­per’ Richard­son, and Ritchie Valens, took place in 1959, I found anoth­er lay­er for my story.

Enjoy time trav­el into 1959 as you read Sylvie’s Silence.


  • North­east­ern Min­neso­ta Book Award finalist



In Sylvie’s Silence, Katharine John­son cre­ates a cap­ti­vat­ing sto­ry of painful secrets and fac­ing the truth. Her main char­ac­ter Sylvie is as nuanced and mys­te­ri­ous as the past she is try­ing to bury. Like the jagged scar on her face, her pain seems too big and ugly for a twelve-year-old to bear. Read­ers will empathize with Sylvie each step of the way as she strug­gles to find inner strength and courage to face her past and trust she can find a new life for her­self. (Lin­da Glaser)

Lin­da Glaser is the author of over 30 children’s books includ­ing award win­ners: Our Big Home (Read­ing Rain­bow selec­tion), Emma’s PoemThe Voice of the Stat­ue of Lib­er­ty (The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award), and  Hannah’s Way (The Syd­ney Tay­lor Gold Medal).

Sylvie's Silence

Sil­ver Fox Books, 2022
Paper­back ISBN: 979–8‑9860388–0‑3
eBook ISBN: 979–8‑9860388–1‑0

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