The Loud Silence Of Francine Green

Written by Karen Cushman
Review by Nan Curnutt

It is 1949, and the McCarthy Era has begun. In Hollywood, Francine Green, a modest 8th grader who tries to sit still and be quiet like she is taught, has just become friends with Sophie Bowman. Sophie is a new student in Francine’s Catholic school. She was kicked out of public school for painting “There’s no free speech here” on the gym floor. Sophie is never afraid to question authority. Francine, who tries to live by her father’s mantra, “Don’t get involved,” is fascinated by Sophie’s courage. When a friend of Sophie’s father is blacklisted from Hollywood, Francine starts to question the effects of suspicion and hatred on innocent people. She also begins to find her own voice.

Karen Cushman delivers a thought-provoking message creatively encased in a warm, engaging story. She captures the fear and confusion of the times, but also the warmth and love of family and the excitement of the post-war era. Her novel includes an author’s note with historical details and a bibliography. Grades 5-9.