Gabi Snyder & Stephanie Graegin
Listen is a story that covers both mindfulness and the science of hearing. Living in a busy and bustling city, a young girl takes a moment to really hear each sound as it passes around her throughout the day. I like the prevalent use of onomatopoeia within the text, and it’s overall a gentle story. The vocabulary is engaging for listeners of a variety of ages, and I can definitely see toddlers enjoying making the city sounds like “beep!” and the “tippy-tap-tap” of rain on an umbrella, while at the same time asking the reader to really consider what it means to “listen”. This is where the mindfulness piece comes in, as well as some pages that might help facilitate discussion about active listening afterwards.
In the back is a handful of definitions and information about the scientific aspects of hearing, and the more psychological responses like the startle, top-down and bottom-up response! A beautiful companion book that also focuses on mindfulness would be the story Hurry Up! & The Whatifs, both of which I reviewed awhile back. The story Most Days (review forthcoming!) from Tilbury House is also an excellent addition to this group of mindfulness books.
Social-emotional regulation and active listening help to build trust and rapport, especially helpful in a classroom at the beginning of the year. I can definitely see these three books being helpful, especially after the last 2 years being a mix of remote and hybrid-schooling. Teaching self-regulation isn’t so much about classroom management, but assisting kids in developing emotional maturity and the ability to interpret situations and emotions in others. Listen is the perfect story to begin talking about all of these topics, and I’m glad it’s being released in plenty of time for the new school year.
This book was kindly sent by Simon & Schuster and all opinions are my own. This book is out today!
Gabi studied psychology at the University of Washington and creative writing at The University of Texas and is a member of SCBWI. When she’s not writing, she loves taking nature walks, visiting Little Free Libraries, and baking sweet treats. She lives in Oregon with her family.
Born during a blizzard on Groundhog’s Day in Chicago, Illinois, Stephanie spent her childhood drawing and collecting fauna in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Houston, Texas. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. She later attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking. Stephanie now lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes and illustrates children’s books.