Sunday, December 18, 2016

Time for Quiet Amid the Noise

We live in a noisy world, and never more so than during the holiday season. Bells jingle and tinkle, horses clip-clop, carolers falala, and every store has piped-in music and noisy toys to tempt buyers and their children. Noise seems to be valued and desired more than quiet.

Picture book author Deborah Underwood recognizes that there are many different kinds of quiet. She names some of them in her Quiet Book. For example, there's "lollipop quiet" and "pretending you're invisible quiet." Some quiet times are happy, and some are anxiety prone.

Where I live, we are experiencing the deepest, darkest days of the year. We hurtle toward the Winter Solstice and our celebration of Christmas a few days later. These events toward the end of our calendar year make me want to stop and reflect, and that requires quiet.

Underwood knows that Christmas has its own kinds of quiet. Hence her picture book The Christmas Quiet Book. There's "knocking with mittens quiet" and "listening for sleigh bells quiet," for example. Even as I look back on the past year, these kinds of quiet indicate anticipation, looking forward.

Both books are illustrated with quiet animal drawings by Renata Liwska, who demonstrates that quiet does not mean inactive or passive.

As I wait for these days at the end of the year to arrive and pass, I wonder how I can be actively quiet? How can I stop, reflect, look back, look forward and still get done the many things this season demands? How do you find quiet time?

In tribute to the season, I offer this sweet Austrian carol, "Stille, Stille, Stille," sung in English by the Norman Luboff choir.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's Christmas Wish List Time!

Girls and boys around the globe are making their Christmas wish lists! Maybe many adults are, too. We welcome Penguin, the little bird with a big heart. In Penguin's Christmas Wish, he and his family go on an adventure to see Pinecone, Penguin's tree friend. They discover that Pinecone has grown up! And while things don't go exactly as planned, Christmas works its magic so that Penguin's wish comes true. This sweet book gets to the core of Christmas--sharing love--that all ages can understand and enjoy. The publisher, Bloomsbury, offers a free activity kit chock full of gift tags, ornaments, and more.

I was happy to meet author Salina Yoon at the 2016 Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival this fall. Born in Korea, she and her parents emigrated to the U.S. when she was 4 years old. Knowing no English, she struggled to fit in with other kids, and many of her books have a strong friendship theme. This title is one of several in the Penguin series. Her Bear series is equally delightful. (I wrote about one title in a previous post.)

My granddaughter's Christmas wish is for the entire Penguin series, which is fairly easy to fulfill. Some of our adult wishes are much more difficult, as this song expresses:

May your Christmas wishes come true!