A young girl learns how to cope with her noise sensitivity and step outside of her comfort zone in this “thoughtful” (Beth Turley, author of If This Were a Story and The Last Tree Town), heartwarming middle grade novel that’s perfect for fans of Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner and El Deafo by Cece Bell.
Ten-year-old Amelia does not like noise. From subway brakes to squeaky sneakers, she is sensitive to sound, just like her dad. Amelia has always worn noise-canceling headphones, but now that she’s going into fifth grade, her parents want her to stop wearing them. To make matters worse, she must learn to play an instrument! Or, as Amelia sees it, make noise on purpose.
To help Amelia cope, her father gives her a pair of earmuffs to wear instead. Even with her new earmuffs, Amelia struggles at school…until she gets partnered with Madge in music class. Madge is loud and bold and goofy—everything Amelia is not. And so Amelia is surprised when Madge wants to be friends.
Still, it’s not long though before Amelia’s quiet nature clashes with Madge’s loud personality. And when Madge disappears after an argument, Amelia fears Madge might be in trouble. If she’s going to help her friend, she will have to find a way to let in the noisy world she’s muffled for so long.
With the start of fifth grade comes new responsibilities for 10-year-old Amelia: she is allowed to walk to school and visit the Boston Public Library alone, but she also has to give up the noise-canceling headphones that she previously relied upon to manage her noise sensitivity. On the first day of school, Amelia's father, who has the same sensitivity, gives her a pair of fluffy purple earmuffs to ease the transition. Used in conjunction with the mental math she does as a coping mechanism, the earmuffs help to keep classroom and city noise at "five bars out of ten," but frustrate her mother and have an alienating effect in the classroom. As the class begins music lessons, Amelia struggles to settle on an instrument and retreats into the world of books until a solo library trip inspires her to pick up the trombone, and she embarks on a new friendship with fellow trombonist Madge. Gennari (My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer) effectively works Amelia's experience onto nearly every page ("each noise bounces around the walls of my head like a rubber ball"), making each of her hard-won victories resonate powerfully. A gentle portrait of a child learning to navigate her world. Ages 8 12. \n