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The Loud Silence of Francine Green by [Cushman, Karen]
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The Loud Silence of Francine Green Kindle Edition

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Length: 242 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-9–Cushman creates another introspective female character who is planted firmly in her time and who grows in courage, self-awareness, and conviction. This novel follows Francine's eighth-grade year, from August 1949 to June 1950, at All Saints School for Girls in Los Angeles, a year of changes largely inspired by a new transfer student, Sophie Bowman. While Francine is quiet and committed to staying out of trouble, happy to daydream of Hollywood movie stars and to follow her father's advice not to get involved in controversy, Sophie questions authority and wants to make a difference. Her questioning of the nuns' disparaging comments about the Godless communists frequently leads to her being punished and eventually to her expulsion from school. Francine begins to examine her own values, particularly when an actor friend of Sophie's father is blacklisted and Mr. Bowman loses his scriptwriting job. At the novel's end, Francine is poised to stand up to Sister Basil, the bullying principal, and exercise her freedom of speech. Cushman captures the era well, with references that range from Dragnet to duck and cover drills in schools and her father's aborted attempt to build a bomb shelter in their backyard. Francine Green is reminiscent of Jamie Morse, another 13-year-old and the protagonist of Ellen Levine's Catch a Tiger by the Toe (Viking, 2005), who is also coming of age in the shadow of McCarthyism and the beginnings of the Cold War. Readers will relate to the pervasive fear of the period as it resonates in our post-9/11 world.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. Set in Los Angeles in 1949, Cushman's latest historical novel captures the terrors and confusions of the McCarthy era. Eighth-grader Francine admires her outspoken, precocious friend Sophie, who was kicked out of public school for painting "There is no free speech here" on the gymnasium floor. Francine feels muzzled at home and at her rigid Catholic school, "the land of 'Sit down, Francine' and 'Be quiet, Francine.'" Her worries escalate as Communist scares in Hollywood grow, and Sophie and her playwright father fall under suspicion. Cushman adroitly transforms what could have been a didactic story about intellectual freedom into an integrated, affecting novel about friendship and growing up. Described in Francine's authentic voice, which is filled with period slang, the smoothly inserted historical details, from Montgomery Clift to backyard bomb shelters, personalize Francine's adolescent struggles rather than simply marking a place and a time. Readers will skip over unknown cultural references ("My heart pounded like a Gene Krupa drum solo") and savor the story of friends and family tensions, the sly humor, and the questions about patriotism, activism, and freedom, which bring the novel right into today's most polarizing controversies. Sure to provoke lively class discussion, this will easily absorb independent readers in search of a rich, satisfying story about early adolescence. For another young person's view of the McCarthy hunts, suggest Ellen Levine's Catch a Tiger by the Toe (2005). Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product details

  • File Size: 1132 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (August 14, 2006)
  • Publication Date: August 14, 2006
  • Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003K16Q1I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,669 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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November 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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January 30, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
October 8, 2014
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March 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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June 3, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback

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