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.
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 Poem, The Voice of the Statue of Liberty (The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award), and Hannah’s Way (The Sydney Taylor Gold Medal).