Listen (Gabi Snyder)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Listen, written by Gabi Snyder and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, a look at the sounds all around us and how they can help us focus, learn, and grow.

Sometimes, in the big wide world, there can be a lot of NOISE. But if we quiet our minds and really listen, we would find that noise is made up of individual sounds: a dog’s friendly bark, children playing jump-rope, wind rushing through trees. In fact, if we truly focus our attention, many of those noises can teach us things, like new words, or how to comfort a friend when they need to talk about their feelings, or even the voice inside ourselves has to say. It’s true, the world is full of noise – so it’s good to know how to take a breath, close our eyes, and truly listen.

Soothing and thought-provoking. In the grand tradition of children’s books encouraging young readers to slow down and take stock of the world around – and within – them, this one focuses specifically on the difference between hearing and listening. The benefits of active listening are well-explored, from providing comfort to others to calming one’s mind to the simple enjoyment of the symphony of life that surrounds us. This is richly brought to life by Graegin’s relaxing, blue-heavy visuals, using pops of color to focus the reader’s attention and allowing them to “hear” the expressive characters and environments. Backmatter briefly explains the mechanics of hearing and different types of listening, a welcome addition to the theme of the book. The length is great for a quick storytime, and JJ really enjoyed this one. Overall, a soft and sweet reminder of the possibility in sound, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing (Leda Schubert)

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.) 

Hello, friends! Our book today is Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing, written by Leda Schubert and illustrated by Raúl Colón, the story of the noted folk singer and activist.

There never was anybody quite like Pete. From his earliest days of performing, he wanted his music to say something. He wanted it to make people think, talk, interact, and especially sing. He sang old songs and new ones, and songs he made up. He used his music to try to help people and the environment, and to protest injustice and discrimination. Sometimes Pete faced hardships, dismissive attitudes, and even hatred for his music, but he never let it get him down. Pete just wanted the whole world to sing… and to listen.

This was a very nicely done biography of Pete Seeger for children. Focusing both on the history and general philosophy of his music, it does a good job of painting the picture of a simple man who just wanted to sing and make the world a better place, preferably at the same time. And while the detour into Seeger’s legal problems with McCarthyism might be a little over many bookworm’s heads, the story does a good job of making Seeger’s biography accessible and moving. The art is lovely, using detailed illustrations and a folk-art palette to set the mood. The length was a bit long for tiny bookworms, but JJ did fine with it, and we both liked it overall. A great book to celebrate a legend of American folk music, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!