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Why Are You So Quiet?

By Jaclyn Desforges
Illustrated by Risa Hugo
Interest Age: 4–7
Grade: p–2
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: RL.2.1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Reading Level: Lexile AD720L
Hardcover (Picture book) : 9781773214344, 32 pages, September 2020 , 9.0" x 9.0"
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781773214351, 32 pages, September 2020


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.


  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Award, BC Young Readers’ Choice Award 2021
  • Joint winner, TD Summer Reading Club 2023


“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