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MY QUIET SHIP by Hallee Adelman


by Hallee Adelman ; illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-8075-6713-5
Publisher: Whitman

A child uses fantasy to cope with the angry shouting coming from adults in the home.

Quinn feels sick, achy, and scared when the yelling starts. In response, Quinn pretends to blast off into outer space as the commander of the Quiet Ship. There, the rumbling of the engines is so loud that nothing else can be heard. Quinn explores and sometimes even meets other creatures who “hug us and speak in nice voices” while managing the overwhelming feelings through dissociation. Jagged lines and dark colors show the intensity of the conflict and the discomfort it provokes in Quinn. Eventually, a night comes when the arguing is so loud that the child is unable to access the Quiet Ship. Instead, Quinn makes the decision to confront the adults, yelling at them to stop. The adults appear shocked when they are confronted and respond gently. In Quinn’s context, speaking up in this way is an empowering choice. However, for many children, this would not be the case, and such an action may not even be safe. While well-intentioned, this lack of context around issues such as domestic violence limits the title’s overall utility. Quinn and their caregivers all have light skin and straight, black hair.

This depiction of role reversal regarding who holds responsibility for keeping the home calm and safe unfortunately offers more confusion than comfort.

(Picture book. 4-8)