by Julius Lester

Long ago in a mountain village, a girl called Shining was born...

As black as wisdom, with a gaze as bottomless as the unknown, Shining is as quiet as the night. Although she is silent, her parents are devoted and steadfast in their love for her. What they cannot know, as she grows, is that the day will come when the mystery will end and they will come to understand her silence. One day, Shining will be the leader of her people.

Newbery Honor author Julius Lester has created a tale of individuality--part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story--about the power of listening to the silence within.


ISBN #: 0-15-200773-3

Reviews and Honors

Selected for the Society of Illustrators Annual Show of art from the "Best Children's Picture Books of 2003."

A Booksense 76 Pick from the

nation's independent booksellers!

"This powerful tale, stunningly illustrated, is a beautiful story about a little girl named Shining who remains quiet, despite being shunned by her village, and who waits for the right sound to come. In this tale about remaining true to yourself, the paintings literally glow with warmth."

---- Jill Bailey, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Best Children's Books of the Year, 2004

Bank Street College of Education

Choices, 2004

Cooperative Children's Book Center

Parent's Choice Award Silver 2003 Fiction

Skipping Stones Honor Award 2004

Honor Book

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards

2004 Language Arts-Picture Books United States

"Lester looks to the silence that gives meaning to the noise all around us in this powerfully told original tale, as deep-eyed faces alive with character peer from Clapp's sweeping, shadowy accompanying art. […] Like a piece of sophisticated music, this will engender profound emotional responses"

Kirkus Reviews

"John Clapp’s paintings are some of the most beautiful children’s illustrations being created today. John's luminous paintings add a breathtaking dimension to Shining"

Michael Barnard -- Rakestraw Books

"…with its sooty charcoal and mixed-media images, brightened with touches of orange, this elemental tale has power."

Horn Book

"It is almost as if the reader can feel the characters' emotions when viewing the accompanying illustrations; and, although the colors in the illustrations are sparse and dark, the splashes of moonlight blue and bright reds and yellows speak volumes to the reader at the level of symbolism. This book is a supreme example of the illustration in unison with the text. The illustrations in this book become the music that carries the metaphor of silence a long way.

Lester has presented his audience with a truly outstanding and thought-provoking book that is bound to have a phenomenal effect on its readers. Shining comes highly recommended to young adult and adult readers from all walks of life."


"Clapp's imagination visualizes [the story] naturalistically using graphite, charcoal, chalk and pastels in misty tints with occasional red accents, enveloping the double pages with emotion-stirring imagery. Shining herself seems very real, her face and others sometimes emerging from the mist."
Children's Literature

"John Clapp's striking charcoal and watercolor illustrations add a sense of eerie mystery to the story."

Cooperative Children's Book Center

"Clapp’s mixed-media illustrations have a smoky otherworldliness, but there’s also a glistening immediacy to the figure of Shining. Figures emerge from cloudy backgrounds, their forms and faces rendered with exquisite emotional nuance."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books