When No One Is Watching

When No One Is Watching by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by David A. Johnson

when no one is watchingSome children (and some grown-ups) want to be the center of attention.  Some children (and some grown-ups) are happier away from the spotlight – are happier doing things on their own, or with one friend.

The main character in When No One Is Watching is creative and spunky on her own.  She dances, and spins, swings high into the sky on a tire swing, and plays basketball – shooting baskets and cheering – when she is alone.  But, in a group, or when lots of people are around, she changes.  She feels shy, and wants to hide, or lean against a wall.

This story shows her feelings in alternating scenes of playing alone, and feeling shy around other people.

“When no one is watching, I’m brave.

I’m brave as a bear in a cave in the dark.”


“When everyone’s watching, I hide.

I hide like the cat alongside the big chair.”


The main character has a good friend – a friend who is a little shy, too.

“Together Loretta and I are cozy and comfy.  We’re no longer shy.

We splash in the summer and read in the fall.  Together we don’t care who’s watching at all.”

This is a sweet, fun book to share with children of any temperament.  An introverted child can relate to the main character, and enjoy the ways she has fun.  I’m happy to have found a book that shows shyness this way – it is how the girl feels….and none of the adults are shown trying to ‘fix’ her shyness.  Some children (and some grown-ups) are happier not being the center of attention.  And, some prefer spending time with one close friend over being part of a big group.