Stay Silent

Stay Silent
A Refugee’s Escape from Columbia

by Natalie Hyde
Clockwise Press, 2016
ISBN 978-0-9939351-9-0 (pb)
$12.95, 143 pp, b/w photos/illustrations, ages 12+

This is the second book in the “Arrivals” series from Clockwise Press. It tells the story of Paolo Gomez who came to Canada in July 2004 and has since become an award-winning writer and human rights advocate. Raised in an environment of domestic abuse, Paolo eventually became a family commissioner and lawyer in Quimbaya where she directed most of her attention to the plight of local street people. But this led to death threats and eventually a savage beating at the hands of corrupt officials. Ms. Gomez first fled to New York where she lived as an illegal immigrant, then sought refuge in Canada, where she soon found herself helping immigrant women in crisis and creating a highly successful art program for refugee children. Like the first in the series, this book appears to have been completed on a dot matrix printer, but it does have a timeline, two pages of black and white illustrations, a list of supplementary resources, and a brief index.

Classroom Connections: With refugee crises affecting countries around the globe, and travel bans in the nightly news, this is a timely publication. Designed for middle school and older students, Stay Silent could be used in a variety of courses. The Canadian Civil Liberties Union, for example, has a “Seeking Refuge” website listing a half dozen examples of courses in Ontario alone where it could be utilized, with overall and specific expectations detailed, and even some applicable lesson plans.

Review by George Sheppard.

This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Sept/Oct 2017 issue.

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