Listen by Gabi Snyder

Listen by Gabi Snyder, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin (9781534461895)

When you leave your house and enter the world, sometimes all you can hear is a blare of noise. What if you stop instead and listen closely. Can you identify each separate sound like the car horn beeping and the dog barking? On your way to school, can you hear the slap of shoes on pavement or noises through the windows you pass? At school you can hear friends saying hello and the sounds of the playground being used. In school you can listen to learn new words. You can also listen to hear how words make people feel happy or hurt. Listen for feelings in the silence or sighs. Rain brings new noise, and wind does too. At home, it is quieter and still there are noises to listen to right up until bedtime.

This picture book demonstrates being able to reset at times of overwhelm by tuning in to the world around us rather than tuning out. It shows how listening closely can untangle the noise into sounds which allow us to learn and connect with others. Set in an urban setting, this book shares the joys of living in a city by celebrating the noise and not letting it become a problem.

The illustrations center on a little girl who is multiracial. As she moves through her day, she regularly takes time to check in with herself and center using the sounds around her. The cast of students and community members on the page are a variety of races.

A gentle book about the power of sound and our own power to use it to center ourselves. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy provided by Simon & Schuster.

What Do You Know? by Aracelis Girmay and Ariana Fields

What Do You Know? by Aracelis Girmay and Ariana Fields (9781592703210)

Created by two sisters, this picture book is an exploration of our world through a lens of positivity, ability to change and also a timelessness and sense of wonder. The book is a question, “What do you know,” asked by love and answered by people, objects and creatures. Their answers reveal depths and darkness, but also abundance and stars. They reveal the beauty of rain, the footsteps of fire. They include the wisdom of rocks and the wayfinding of bats. They share the insights of seafarers and farmers, each connected to a different part of our world.

Through asking the same question of the world around us, the authors create a book that celebrates the wild diversity of life on earth but also the connection to wonder and mystery around us. The book is simple yet deeply profound, offering hope in darkness, the breath of whales and bears, and the magnificence of change even if it takes millennia. Happily, the writing doesn’t rhyme, instead held together by the question and answer format. The writing is gentle and responsive, allowing each scenario to stand unique but also part of the whole.

The art is bold and simple. It moves from layers of earth in the fields to lava flowing across the land to the immense eye of a whale at sea. It invites us to see the beauty in laundry on an urban line, the marvel of goats on cliffs, and the profound black of a starlit night.

Gorgeous, deep and full of marvels. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Enchanted Lion Books.