Therese Rausch Potgieter (South Africa)

How the idea for your silent story was born?

With the rise in smartphone usage, modern society is irretrievably glued to their phones. Having a two-and-a-half year old child of my own, I’ve come to realise how important it is to switch smartphones off on a regular basis. Instead I get to spend quality time just with her, seeing her big beautiful eyes and the world as she sees it. I try to imagine how I would have felt as a girl, where all I want to experience is life in the moment or, have a conversation with my parents without a phone being stuck in my face to record my every move.  So I wanted to create a story where I can visually communicate to my daughter about leaving our phones behind, by being in the present moment. Just being with each other is something important and something we should not take for granted, in a world dominated by technology.

What's the story about?

The story is about a little girl cynically observing people being constantly on their smartphones around her. It seems as if the whole world is completely consumed by flat screened devices. Taking photos of everything and obsessively posting it to social media. Even her parents seems to be absorbed by their smartphones and tablets. Until she has had enough, and forces her parents to leave their smartphones at home and go on a ‘smartphone free adventure’ with her.

They study a paper map and on their train journey, observe the scenery flying by. Finally they reach a beautiful park, where they are completely content with the day’s experiences, and enjoying each other’s company without any smartphone entertainment.

With so much technology fighting for our attention every day we forget about spending quality time together and enjoy time and nature with those we love.

Why have you decided to enter the contest?

It’s a long standing dream for me to purely illustrate children’s books however, this is a hard industry to break into. What better way to pursue this goal than by entering the Silent Book Contest! Thank you for this opportunity.

Your story is dedicate to...

I would like to dedicate this book to my two year old girl, Alexis. May you discover the joy of reading and may we have many conversations about the world and ponder the meaning of it all. May we be alone and blissfully without a phone many times to come.


Therese completed a BA Communication Studies with a focus on applied computer design in 2008. After completing her studies she pursued a career in advertising where she worked in small to medium sized advertising agencies in South Africa.  In 2013 she moved to Vienna (Austria) where she’s currently freelancing and predominantly she’s designing for corporate accounts. Over this time her work has gradually developed into purely illustrational work.