Hello readers, welcome to Kid Lit Village where I feature children’s authors and illustrators. I’m happy you stopped by. This week, we welcome Gabi Snyder to the blog with a feature on her book, LISTEN, illustrated by and published by Simon and Schuster.
“A memorable experience.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In the tradition of Tomie dePaola’s Quiet and Scott Magoon’s Breathe comes this lyrical, meditative picture book about listening and mindfulness.
Isn’t the world a noisy place?
But what if you
stop, close your eyes,
Can you hear each sound?
Can you listen past the noise
and hear the quiet, too?
Beautifully illustrated and poignant, this lovely picture book follows a girl through her school day as she listens to sounds across the city: caws of crows, shouts across the playground, and finally, the quiet beating of her heart and whispered goodnights.
Please welcome author, Gabi Snyder to the blog!
Thanks so much for featuring LISTEN in the Kid Lit Village blog series, Cynthia!
Q. Tell us about the inspiration for your book.
A. The idea for LISTEN grew out of a desire to explore, in picture book form, the benefits of listening. I also wanted to convey the sense that the world can sometimes be so filled with noise – both literal and figurative – that it can be challenging to focus or to filter out what’s really important.
In addition, I wrote the story at a time when I was taking solace and inspiration from getting outside for walks and paying close attention to the sights, sounds, and sensations on those walks. I was also attending a yoga class and finding that the practice of mindfulness was helping me focus and feel less overwhelmed – a feeling I was especially prone to as a child and still occasionally struggle with. In essence, the text for LISTEN grew from an exploration of the benefits of listening coupled with the practice of mindfulness.
Q. Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.
A. Go easy on yourself. Know that the more you practice – the more you read and write – the better you’ll get. You may have to write 20 stories before you write one that begins to match your vision.
And when you’re feeling stuck, try a change of scenery. For instance, I find that my writing “flows” better if I take a walk before or between writing sessions! I especially love to take a notebook and pen with me on walks. I’ve worked through thorny plot problems while walking and have had countless ideas pop into my brain while strolling through my town or hiking in the woods. I think it’s a combination of the repetitive movement involved and the inspiration that can arise from a change of scenery.
Q. What part of being a writer do you love most?
A. Knowing that something I wrote might inspire a child to, for instance, listen more closely on a nature walk, is incredibly gratifying.
Q. What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
A. I hope readers will come away from reading LISTEN with the sense that they can put listening and mindfulness skills to bear on a variety of situations. In particular, I hope that they’ll recognize that when the world feels overwhelming, there’s an opportunity to pause, close your eyes, and tune in to individual sounds.
You can find out more about Gabi’s books, read her blog, and sign up for her newsletter on her website: https://gabisnyder.com/.
Here’s the official S&S page for LISTEN: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Listen/Gabi-Snyder/9781534461895
Thank you so much for spending some time with us today, Gabi!
Readers, I’m so glad you stopped by Kid Lit Village today. I hope you’ll come back next week for another fabulous interview and children’s book feature.
Did you know, I’ve written a couple of books too?
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