Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Quiet Power

I asked a colleague recently if she had attended a large school function that was recently held, and she answered no. I had not attended either, and the reason she gave for her absence was "I am never bored by myself, but I am often bored at large gatherings of people." This description applies to me very well, too. Ever since I read Real Friends, Shannon Hale's new middle grade graphic novel, I've been reflecting more on my own introverted tendencies.

In our collection, we have the young readers version of Susan Cain's Quiet, which is titled Quiet Power.

I found the book to be a little bland. I love the idea, and the little illustrations were humorous, but it seemed like most of the narrative was giving examples of kids who consider themselves to be introverts, and how they have learned to cope with situations that might make introverts uncomfortable. For example, many introverts struggle with the standard of class participation because they do not like being the center of attention. The examples provided describe how some students have learned to either 1) raise their hands as soon as they have something to contribute, that way they can get it out of the way and won't have feel pressure mounting to say something as the minutes tick by or 2) wait until there is a lull in the discussion, and then raise their hands.

Most of the suggestions seemed pretty obvious to me, but it's still worth bringing them up for a young reader, who needs to understand that there are usually multiple ways to solve a problem.

Personally, I wish the narrative had more information on what makes people have different personalities. These past few years, I've become more interested in reading everything from astrology to Myers-Briggs personality types to birth order theories. Maybe some of that would have been difficult to understand for middle grade readers, but I think at least an introduction to the ideas might have provided suggestions for further reading/research.

I found much of the book to be very repetitive, and I fear a lot of young readers will get bored with it.

One point I am glad that I read was regarding a spectrum; on one side is introverts, and the other is extroverts, with most people somewhere in between.

I definitely consider myself an introvert, but there have been periods of my life when I acted very extroverted. When I was in highschool, I had a great group of friends. I wasn't 'popular' but having those friends gave me comfort, assurance and confidence, and I did act more extroverted than usual, even when I wasn't with them. 

And also, both times I was in grad school. Going to grad school allowed me to pursue my passions, so I was always eager to share ideas in class, get together with my classmates to work on projects (or get a drink in Boston after an exceptionally challenging project was completed) and ask questions of my professors. Also, I almost always had candy with me, so if I didn't know someone very well, I'd just ask her/him if they'd like some, and it was always a good ice-breaker.

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