After Zero (ebook)
by Christina Collins
After Zero is about a girl named Elise who is living in near silence. She is the only child of an emotionally absent mother in a small town. Elise makes the transition from a lonely childhood being homeschooled to attending a public middle school. She has one friend named Mel, but by the beginning of the story, she has isolated herself from Mel and her friends. Being awkward and never knowing the right thing to say, Elise decides to say nothing, and spends most of the story mute. When a family secret reveals itself, Elise finds herself spiraling to the point of not being able to defend herself verbally when necessary, and she wonders whether she is able to speak anymore.
What I liked about this story is that it helped me to understand the stress and anxiety some students have. I have never had a student with selective mutism, but I have had painfully shy students who just wouldn’t talk, no matter what. This book will help my students have compassion for those shy students, and hopefully show them that the word “quiet” to a quiet student is not encouraging.
What I didn’t like about this book was the frustration I felt for Elise, not speaking up for herself, not defending her actions, and the obvious pain she felt when her mom basically abandoned her emotionally.
Book 10 of 20 (summer goal)
(Book 56 of 2018)