Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman

Newbery award-winning children’s book author

Karen Cushman


The Loud Silence of Francine Green

The Loud Silence of Francine Green

The Loud Silence of Francine Green

Francine Green doesn’t speak up much, and who can blame her? Her parents aren’t interested in her opinions, the nuns at school punish girls who ask too many questions, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities is blacklisting people who express unpopular ideas. There’s safety in silence. Francine would rather lose herself in a book, or in daydreams about her favorite Hollywood stars, than risk attracting attention or getting in trouble.

But when outspoken, passionate Sophie Bowman transfers into Francine’s class at All Saints School for Girls, Francine finds herself thinking about things that never concerned her before—free speech, the atom bomb, the existence of God, the way people treat each other. Eventually, Francine discovers that she not only has something to say, she is absolutely determined to say it.


Awards and Recognition

Parents’ Choice Silver Award

New York Public Library, 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

ABC Children’s Booksellers Choice Award

CCBC Choices

NYPL Books for the Teen Age

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommendation


 “Cushman creates another introspective female character who is planted firmly in her time and who grows in courage, self-awareness, and conviction. … 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.” (School Library Journal, starred review)

“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. … Sure to provoke lively class discussion, this will easily absorb independent readers in search of a rich, satisfying story about early adolescence.”(Booklist, starred review)