The Silent Boy
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The Silent Boy

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  3,182 ratings  ·  407 reviews
Precocious Katy Thatcher comes to realize what a gentle, silent boy did for his family. He meant to help, not harm. It didn’t turn out that way.

“The author balances humor and generosity with the obstacles and injustice of Katy’s world to depict a complete picture of the turn of the 20th century.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

From the Paperback edition.
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published January 1st 2003)
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Ugh, this was such paint by numbers historical fiction. Little girl ahead of her time (She wants to be a doctor like her daddy!) + vaguely quaint descriptions of daily life (Time to harness the horses and hang the laundry!) + awkwardly inserted Important Historical Events (The Triangle Shirtwaist fire! The first car in town!) + Special Lessons (Guess where babies come from! The hired girl's brother is "touched!"). It has that vacuous invented middle class sense of nostalgia we associate with the...more
Linda Lipko
He was different from others. Jacob Stolz walked head down, large feet shuffling along the dirt roads. He did not talk, but when engaged, made noises to imitate his surroundings. The sound of the great gristmill grindstone as it crushed the grain was expressed as shooda, shooda, shooda. The marbles as they hit each other were click, click, click. "Touched" is what people said about Jacob. Pointing to their heads, they said he was "touched." Representing protection from the outside world, his fir...more
This story takes place in 1910-1911 and the sights and sounds are wonderfully crafted. It is told through the eyes of Katy, a young girl who sometimes accompanies her father, the local doctor, on house calls. You experience what it would be like to ride in a buggy on a cold day. Katy gets glimpses into lifestyles very different from her own and makes a gentle friendship with boy a few years older than she is, Jacob, who is developmentally disabled. The subject is handled very well for the times...more
While this book was beautiful, as well as being a useful look at autism before we began to understand it, I think it is completely inappropriate for the age range for whom it was written. Reviews suggest grades 5-8. The serious subject matter, references to sex and a resulting pregnancy, and a very horrific ending make this book only appropriate for a YA audience. That audience must also be comfortable with a dark tale that has no real resolution. In general, I found this book too gloomy to be e...more
"My mother says 'touched by the Lord,' and I think it's true."(page 73) Jacob Stoltz is a boy who, although nowadays people would call him "autistic" or "mental," has a way with animals of all sorts. He roams around all day, and he tends to the animals on his family's farm. He always looks out for the animals and tries to take care of them. For example, there was a female dog who died giving birth to a litter of puppies, and all of them died but the one Jacob saved. He fed it cow's milk every da...more
Melissa Mahle
I originally thought that The Silent Boy was a mid-grade novel. The protagonists, Katy, tells the story about her childhood, when she was 8 through 10 years old. It is a lyrical story, as Lowry expertly does, set during the pre-war years of 1910 and 1911. The "silent boy" is the brother of Katy's family maid. The story is very powerful in creating the relationship between Katy and Jacob, given that Jacob is "touched" and cannot speak. Despite their lack of dialogue, and never getting into Jacob'...more
Toni Miranda
This book made me think a lot about the way we used to treat mental illness and people with disabilities. It is sad that families had no resources or help in caring for a child with special needs. Often their only option was to lock them away in an asylum. I can't imagine as a parent having to do that. There was so much fear and misunderstanding. People often thought that disabilities were "contagious" or that the parent's had done something "wrong" and were being punished. I'm not sure all of t...more
Nancy O'Toole
The Silent Boy is a story about a unique relationship between Katy Thatcher, a young girl with dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Jacob, a special needs boy that cannot speak but has a close connection with animals. When Jacob unknowingly does something unforgivable, only Katy can understand why. The Silent Boy is a work of historical fiction taking place in the early 1900s. The book features a photograph at the beginning of each section, which does a great job of future immersing...more
(review originally posted on my livejournal account:

Why I Read It: Waayyy back in grade 11(5-6 years ago), I read Lowry's The Giver and fell absolutely in LOVE with it. Since then, I've only read her other Newberry Award winner Number the Stars (which I also enjoyed, but not with the fervor that I loved The Giver). Since then, I have been interested in reading more of her work, but I was convinced that nothing would ever impress me as much as The Giver s...more
While Lois Lowry has been my favorite author with her creativity and story telling skills, this book left me disappointed. The story is about a young girl and her relationship with a special needs boy by the name of Jacob. The boy is gentle with a love for animals and a love to explore. However, his innocence, compassion and independence put him in the wrong place at the wrong time and cost him an enormous price. His story is explained through the eyes of the protagonist, Katy, as she develops a...more
This great book was written by Lois Lowry. The writer of the book, Lois Lowry, uses a very easy language to understand. "The Silent Boy" is written in a diary format, and has tiny pictures of its' characters.
This story was told by Katy Thatcher, an old woman which lived in 1987. In the book she tells the reader about the critical period in her life. Katy's dad, who is a rich doctor, gets a maid once his wife (Katy's mom) gets pregnant. This maid Peggy, has a brother who is about five years yo...more
If you have ever been to the early 1900's you could probably relate to this book. This fiction novel by Lois Lowry was made for people somewhere around the ages of twelve to eighteen. This story has many speed bumps as your racing through it. Every time you start to get the picture they throw another major event or conflict at you. When you first begin the book you feel like it will just be a boring historical book and then you meet the characters, and it pulls you in.

A hardworking farm family r...more
This is a short but beautifully written book that tells so much in so few pages. Black and white photos at the beginning of each chapter will give you a glimpse of how children appeared in the early 1900s. While considered to contain "quaint" passages by some, Lowry uses phrases contained in everyday language -- you didn't "throw a load in" as we are apt to say today -- laundry took the better part of the morning to accomplish and had to be soaked and washed and hung out to dry...a real feat in...more
I found this book among Lowry's others in the Juvenile section at the library during my quest to read more Lois Lowry (after reading and enjoying all four books in The Giver series and Number the Stars). Not sure I'd want my kids to pick this one up, though. I really enjoyed the book, but there was definitely a "dark" tale -- some serious issues and sadness. Lowry does a good job of keeping it at a level that doesn't get too detailed -- so kids could potentially read this and not "get" the serio...more
Allie Randall
Genre/Category: mental illness/family/loss of innocence
Read for "oral author report: Lowry"

Summary: Katy Thatcher grows up in a small town hoping to be a doctor like her father. On a trip to pick up the "hired girl," Katy meets and befriends Jacob, a boy with a mental illness. As Katy goes through the year, she meets Jacob in a variety of situations and she begins to understand his actions and reasons for doing certain things. Katy also tries to make sense of some sexual images she comes across...more
I was kind of disturbed by this tale. It is told by Katy, a young girl at the turn of the century, about a boy named Jacob, the titular “silent” boy. He is what modern folks would refer to as mentally challenged, speaking no words but able to accurately replicate the sounds he hears, such as a grindstone in motion or a horse’s whinny. This is not a light read, and may be one that haunts me for quite a while. I can’t really say why without giving away the ending, but if you’ve read it, you probab...more
Leon Lee
This was the second book I read by Lois Lowry, and I really enjoyed it. I liked the unique way of how Jacob and Katy communicated, and unlike other readers, I did not think it was "gloomy" or "dark" at all. Katy always seemed happy and optimistic, and Jacob didn't seem all that moody most of the time, either. The only part that was dark or gloomy was at the very end, when Jacob kills the infant and gets sent to the Asylum. Yes, it is a little age inappropriate with pregnancy and murder and thing...more
Laura Brady
I really enjoyed this quick read (less than 200 pages). However, I would have like to have more. I couldn't help but want to hit someone with how Jacob was treated, but I do understand that is was "typical" for him to be treated in the manner he was. I loved Jacob's warm heart and his love of animals. The pictures in the books were amazing.
Charli Murphy
This was an interesting perspective on people with special needs. Katie doens't have any previous knowledge of "touched" people and so she treats Jackob the same way she treats every one else. I also really like that Katie tries to stand up for Jackob at the end of the book, and that she is the only one who truely understands him.
Lisa Mason
I read this with Kaitlyn and she loved it, even though it was a little sad. The Silent Boy is a boy with mental illness and the author was good about describing mental illness in a way a young child could understand. The characters were engaging and Kaitlyn had some good laughs. Overall, a good story.
I have had this book for years, but didn't pick it up until recently.

This book is definitely for a younger audience than myself. It was a very quick read for me, and the only reason I didn't finish it quicker was because of lack of time.

The book started with the narrator as an old woman retelling the story of this "silent boy". The story went back to the childhood of the narrator, and through stories of her childhood and growing up, told the "tragic" story of this boy named Jacob.

I felt the stor...more
I have no words to describe how happy I am I reread this short, meaningful book. Katherine Thatcher in all her splendid, naive ways. The "touched" one, the "imbecile," the very unique Jacob. Nellie and Peggy in all their sisterly love, even though they were complete opposites. Austin in all his immaturity. And of course, Katherine's father; the warmhearted, cheerful, smart, witty doctor he was. Before we knew what autism was, people's closed minds didn't accept that there might be smart, introve...more
Katy is an ambitious girl growing up in the early 1900’s. During this time Katy comes to know Jacob, a boy who is “touched”, and never speaks. Over time Katy comes to discover the joys of being friends with Jacob, but also experiences some of the difficulties that come with knowing him.

I found this book a very enjoyable read. It is a little more on a serious side for Lowry and contains some more adult themes. However, I do not think that it is inappropriate for young adults. I enjoyed reading ab...more
Love this story! Tender and revealing of the class differences in the turn of the century.
This was really really heart breaking and at the same time, heart warming.
Seriously the most depressing pointless book ever written. I love Lois Lowry and started this book thinking it was going to be great. I love the interaction between the boy and Katy. It's very sweet and very like a little child to love someone that nobody else does. The whole story was cute but what ruined it for me was the ending. It is depressing, doesn't have any closure, and cuts off very quickly. If she could have kept going and given us a little more detail at the end I would have liked it...more
Epitacio Gomez
Children’s go to their grandma house to visit her. she going to start telling them stories about her childhood. She started talking about this lonely kid that she knew when she was a kid. I think this book is a really good book for young people so they can read it. It show behavior it show how they care and help others. If I had change something I probably would change how the kid is. I would make the kid talk, and be happy and have a family. The silent boy doesn’t talk to no one the only thing...more
Thinking back, my interest in literary historical fiction can very much be traced to the works of Lois Lowry; in particular, to Number the Stars, winner of the 1990 Newbery Medal. It was Lois Lowry's realistic, soul-stirring, searingly painful novels about events that actually happened in our earth's history that began in me a hunger for wanting to learn more, to find out what else there was to know about these time periods that were brought to life so vividly by the author. I trust Lois Lowry...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Taken from Lowry's website:
"I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always...more
More about Lois Lowry...
The Giver (The Giver #1) Number the Stars Gathering Blue (The Giver #2) Messenger (The Giver #3) Son (The Giver #4)

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