The Silence Seeker by Ben Morley

Values: Empathy, Friendship, Kindness, Respect, Compassion, Patience.

The Silence Seeker is a book crammed with Values based teaching and messages from start to finish. The illustrations would be at home in a graphic-novel type of book, and this appeals to older children. I have studied this book with both Year 5s and Years 6s and all of them enjoyed it.

A new family move in next door to Joe and his mum explains that they are asylum-seekers who have travelled a long way. She suggests that they may have fled war and now need peace and quiet. Joe mishears and thinks she says ‘silence seekers’. He then goes on a quest to befriend his new neighbour and, despite the language barrier, shows him around the city to help him find somewhere quiet where he can feel safe and happy.

It is a beautifully sensitive book highlighting the way young asylum seekers may feel upon arriving in a new country and the children I looked at this book showed empathy beyond their years in verbalising how he may be feeling. They were quick to notice the friendship, kindness and patience that Joe shows towards his new neighbour and they thought about how this translated into their own classrooms and homes. Some of the classes had children with no/limited English or children who had recently arrived from another country and it was inspiring to see them communicating about what had been difficult for them when they first settled here.

The end of the book is rather unexpected and the children were able to identify why Joe may be feeling sad in the closing pages. They were able to draw upon their own experiences of loss and sadness to show compassion and respect towards one another.

An outstanding book looking at immigration, war, and homelessness from a child’s perspective. Having the foundation of Values means that these topics can and should be discussed with children in a sensitive way. Ben Morley has provided a safe way to do this through The Silence Seeker.

Find your copy here.

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