Review: Quiet Art, by Mark Kashman

Today’s review is of Quiet Art, by Mark “Irv” Kashman

Quiet Art, courtesy of Foster the Future
Quiet Art, courtesy of Foster the Future



What it’s about: Young Wilda is a girl who’s always being told to be quiet by those around her, so one day she decides to stop talking altogether. Ironically the people who wanted her to be silent now become obsessed with getting her to talk but her sensitive and sensible grandmother comes up with a way for Wilda to speak without words. Her method is art and Wilda embarks on a journey of self-expression through painting until she is ready to communicate verbally again.

This book is quite different to most picture books in that there is no sole illustrator. Instead, it is a collective effort to bring a story alive through different people’s artistic perspectives. The publishers, charity Foster the Future, describe it thus: ‘Foster the Future [is] the charity initiative of the band Foster the People. Our mission is to empower youth to identify and make change in their communities. Last summer, in an effort to give fans access to ART, we partnered with Irv’s Storytime to create and publish a collaborative children’s  book called Quiet Art. Along the band’s summer tour, Irv hosted a storytime for fans of all ages before each show. Participants were read the story aloud and then asked to help illustrate the pages of the book.’ 

Holly’s review: This book was sent to us from America. It has the most interesting things in it. Basically, someone wrote the book and then asked different people from the public to draw a picture for one page of it. Some kids drew in it and some adults drew in it. I personally think this book is quite amazing.

This book is about a girl who is always told to be quiet and then she decides not to speak but to draw and eventually she speaks again. On each page she draws what she sees and different people draw those different pictures.

I like this book because it’s just quite amazing to read and look at. If there were any more of these books I would definitely read them.

Sam’s review: Holly and I were immediately captivated when we opened this book. The story itself is lovely – a young girl’s desire to communicate with those around her in a meaningful way, and in one that cannot be easily dismissed or silenced. I like stories like this – they are superficially simple (and not in a negative way either) but convey quite a powerful message that strikes deep. The publishers ask readers to:

‘See what you see.

Draw what you like.

Share if you want.’

The images also held our attention much more than many picture books do. This was down to the fact that key passages of the book were drawn by different people each time. This brought a new perspective to the story on virtually every page. Holly soon became engrossed in reading who drew what and how old they were and comparing styles of illustration. Foster the Future sent us some examples to show you below:

Omar Martinez, Age 20
Omar Martinez, Age 20


Tema Vasquez, age 17
Tema Vasquez, age 17


Marinthia Gutierrez, Age 15
Marinthia Gutierrez, Age 15



I really enjoyed Quiet Art, and I can see that this is a book we will keep coming back to. It offers much food for thought as well as a beautiful series of illustrations to contemplate. Additionally, 70% of proceeds from the sales of this book will benefit the Arts Education Partnership, which seeks to make the arts an essential part of education for every child.


Please note: We were sent a review copy of Quiet Art by the publishers but were under no obligation to review it. All opinions are our own.



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