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Children's Fiction Imagination & Play

When I Listen to Silence

by (author) Jean E. Pendziwol

illustrated by Carmen Mok

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 2022
Imagination & Play, Toys, Dolls, Puppets, Fantasy & Magic
Recommended Age
3 to 6
Recommended Grade
p to 1
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Download Student Activity

Where to buy it


When a child is asked to “Please, be quiet!” they sit silent … and their imagination sweeps them away on a breathtaking journey.

Through the window, the child can hear the trees breathe and watches them sway back and forth as they begin to dance. Then bears join in, accompanied by the child on their drum, making so much noise they wake up a dragon! The dragon’s smoky breath fills the sky, and the wind forms a knight on a steed that gallops through the stars. The child’s adventure continues, as one wonderful flight of fancy leads to the next, from pirates to mermaids to whales, until they find themselves sitting silent once again among the trees.

Jean E. Pendziwol has written a charming story-poem that looks at silence and stillness as an opportunity for the imagination and creativity to flourish. Carmen Mok’s magical illustrations flow from one spread to the next like animation, in a palette inspired by vintage printmaking.


Key Text Features




Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

About the authors

Jean E. Pendziwol has published several highly acclaimed picture books, including Once Upon a Northern Night, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. She is also the author of Marja’s Skis, illustrated by Jirina Marton, and The Red Sash and Dawn Watch, illustrated by Nicolas Debon. Jean’s debut adult novel, The Lightkeeper’s Daughters, will be published in 2017 in more than ten languages. Jean finds inspiration in the rich history, culture and geography of Northwestern Ontario where she lives in the shadow of the Nor’Wester Mountains near Lake Superior.

Jean E. Pendziwol's profile page

Carmen Mok is a studio-art graduate of the University of Waterloo, and a crafts and design graduate of Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. Her books include Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis, Look at Me Now by Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones, and Ride the Big Machines in Winter. She recently illustrated Grandmother’s Visit by Betty Quan, which was named an Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Picture Book Honor Title, was on the shortlist of the IODE Ontario Jean Throop Book Award and was selected for the Ontario Library Association Best Bets List. Carmen lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Carmen Mok's profile page


  • Short-listed, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award

Editorial Reviews

Young readers can enjoy this small adventure either or on their own or in a group setting.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Pendziwol's lilting, lyrical text … shows that sometimes a moment of quiet freedom can be a wonderful gift to a child's imagination.

Quill & Quire

A beautiful ode to imagination and the magic of silence.


Fairy-tale flashes of color dart across this bubbly story that celebrates being alone with one's own thoughts and dreams.

Foreword Reviews

The illustrations by Carmen Mak are soft and dark yet colourful all at once, giving an imaginative, dreamy vibe that is the perfect match for the story. This story … helps to show how silence can be a positive thing.

Miramichi Reader

Jean E. Pendziwol's beguiling circular story-poem celebrates the powerful delights of the imagination.

Canadian Children's Book News

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