The Noisy Classroom by Angela Shanté

The Noisy Classroom by Angela Shanté
Publisher: West Margin Press
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The first day of school is coming… and I’m going to be in the noisy class. Any class but the noisy class will do!

A young girl is about to enter the third grade, but this year she’s put into Ms. Johnson’s noisy class. Everything about the noisy class is odd. While all the other classes are quiet, Ms. Johnson sings and the kids chatter all day. The door is always closed, yet sounds from it can be heard in the hallway. With summer coming to an end and school starting, the girl realizes that soon she’ll be going to the noisy class. What will school be like now?

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There were so many humorous moments in this picture book. The author sprinkled them into nearly every scene, and they only grew better over time. That was a wonderful way to approach a topic that can be a little sensitive for some kids. It’s hard to remain nervous about discussing something serious when the first few pages are already filled with laughter and joy.

This story seemed to be a little too dismissive of the idea that noisy classrooms are not going to be a good fit for every student. Some children who have sensory processing disorders, anxiety, and other diagnoses wouldn’t enjoy that type of learning environment at all. I wish this had been acknowledged alongside the encouragement to give scary things a try and not make assumptions ahead of time. This is something I’d be thrilled to read to some kids but hesitant to introduce to others depending on their personalities and reasons for being nervous about starting a new school year. The message itself was a good one. It was simply something that I would have liked to see tailored to its intended audience better and with a deeper sense of empathy for the young readers out there who need a quieter learning environment for any number of medical reasons.

With that being said, I did appreciate seeing how the main character reacted to the dreaded noisy classroom. She had thoughtful reasons for wanting to avoid it, and the creative method for getting out of it she slowly perfected over the summer made me laugh out loud. What a clever kid she was! I only grew more curious to see how she’d react to her first day back at school in the autumn when she had to face up to her fear. Her stubbornness and imaginative personality were going to be quite the match for her new teacher, and I didn’t want to miss a minute of it.

I’d recommend The Noisy Classroom to early elementary students who are a little nervous about adjusting to a new teacher this autumn.

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