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Winter's Silence - a Review
Winterís Silence, by Stephanie Silberstein, is the story of a 6-year-old Jewish girl, Emily, going through a really rough time. She is a very creative, intelligent child. A large portion of her time is spent in daydreams, the only way she can escape all of the turmoil surrounding her. Through her imagination she becomes a North Pole explorer, a spy carrying a secret note, or a robot. This is probably a good thing, because no little child should have to face what Emily is experiencing.
Emily refuses to practice Christmas carols for the upcoming Christmas concert because she feels that God doesnít want her to sing about Jesus. A note she needs to bring back signed the next day is sent home to her parents. She really tries to get one of her parents to sign the note, but has a great amount of difficulty getting either of them to pay attention to what she is saying. Reason? Her little brother, Alex, has just been diagnosed with autism. Her parents, especially the mother, are totally wrapped up in trying to find a cure for him. Tension in the house is thick. Feelings are easily hurt. Emily doesnít understand what is happening around her.
The note isnít signed when she walks to school with her friend, Leigh, the next morning. Leigh takes the note and illegibly scrawls the name of Emilyís mother on it. Emily prays that her teacher forgets about the note, but she doesnít. She is later called to the principalís office because the signature isnít able to be read. This time the note is pinned to her coat. The note is returned signed by Emily's father this time, but Emily still refuses to sing.
Religious discrimination is never a pretty thing. Just because someone believes differently than you do is never a reason to torment or poke fun at that person, especially if it is a child. Her refusal to sing Christmas songs unleashes yet more discrimination on this sweet and innocent child.
She still doesnít understand what is going on with her brother. Her parents are so wrapped up in him that they almost ignore Emily, neglecting even to explain autism to her. Desperate to get attention from her parents, she feigns sickness and tells her mom that she has caught autism from her brother.
The only 2 adults that stick up for her are her Uncle Max and her teacher, Miss James. Both are told by Emilyís parents that what is going on with Emily doesnít concern them. When the story ends, Emily does receive some heartfelt affection from her mother. The way the story ends leads me to believe that a sequel to the book may be in the future.
The book is extremely well written. Not only has Ms. Silberstein managed to write an entire book through the eyes of a young child, she succeeds in causing the reader to experience the same emotions as her wellĖrounded characters.
The author graciously sent me a copy of her book to review. If you would like to purchase Ms. Silberstein's book from Amazon, I have provided a link below for you.
Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Binion. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisa Binion. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Binion for details.
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