About the Holiday
Perhaps on this last day of the year you’re suffering from a little stimulation overload. Everywhere you go, it seems, there is something else begging for your attention, whether it’s flashing signs, sale advertisements, that chore you haven’t gotten to, or just coworkers, family members, or others wanting to say hi or needing help. On No Interruptions Day you’re allowed to take a little time for yourself to decompress and enjoy a bit of silence and relaxation. Sure, you can party later, but for now—Ahhhhh….
The Quiet Book
Written by Deborah Underwood | Illustrated by Renata Liwska
Quiet comes in many guises, for many reasons, and with many internal emotions attached to it. Each type of quiet is unique, compelling, and special. If you are lucky enough to enjoy a “first one awake quiet,” you have a bit of time to compose yourself for the day because you never know if you might experience “jelly side down quiet,” “thinking of a good reason you were drawing on the wall quiet,” or even “last one to get picked up from school quiet.”
Suspense is full of quiet—like “hide-and-seek quiet,” “pretending you’re invisible quiet,” and bubbling “top of the roller coaster quiet.” There are times when quiet is required, for instance “sleeping sister quiet” and “right before you yell ‘SURPRISE!’ quiet.” Experiences in nature inspire quiet awe, like “swimming underwater quiet,” “first snowfall quiet,” and “don’t scare the robin quiet.”
Concentration, commiseration, and companionship all contain their own depth of quiet, and the end of the day brings comfortable moments of quiet in story time, tucking in time, bedtime kisses, and finally “sound asleep quiet.”
In her sweet tribute to the wondrous moments of quiet, Deborah Underwood is always surprising. Her original examples of quiet times are both ingenious and familiar, lending depth, humor, and insight to those times of the day that may defy definition but are felt in the heart. The Quiet Book is perfect for bedtime, but also for any time when quiet reigns. It’s a beautiful book for children who are more reflective and for whom quiet times are treasured.
Renata Liwska’s soft, enchanting illustrations are as cuddly and comforting as a favorite blanket. Her little furry, spiky, and feathery animals navigate their day, experiencing those occasions of calm or turmoil with faces registering thoughtfulness, sadness, resignation, or cheer. Each page contains details, such as a bunny with an ear bandaged in solidarity with her friend who has a hurt tail and head, a bear holding a hiccupping rabbit upside down, and a cactus whose shadow is transformed into a monster, that will give even the youngest readers much to discover.
While the text on each page is sparse, the feelings they elicit are intimate and profound. Offering readers—both children and adults—much to discuss, The Quiet Book is a must for children’s home bookshelves.
Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2016 (paperback) | ISBN 978-0544809048
Discover the world of books by Deborah Underwood, including picture books, books for older readers, and nonfiction on her website!
View a gallery of picture book artwork by Renata Liwska on her website!
No Interruptions Day Activity
Finding opportunities to spend time in quiet contemplation or creativity is rejuvenating. Teaching children to appreciate down time and listen to their own thoughts is a gift that can bring them happiness and success that follows them into adulthood.
Today, set aside 15 minutes (or an appropriate amount of time for your child) and do one—or both—of these activities:
- You can do this with or without a piece of paper and pencil. Sit still and quietly in a place with no distractions and listen to what you hear. If you’d like write down the answers to these questions or just consider them:
- What do you hear inside?
- What do you hear coming from outside?
- Can you tell how close or how far away the sound is?
- In what way might you be a part of the sounds you hear?
- Pick one sound and expand on its meaning
- Listen carefully to your own thoughts. What do you “hear” or “see”? On the paper draw or write whatever comes to mind, without changing it or erasing anything.
Picture Book Review