Three Quiet Books

February 27, 2024

Once in a while a book comes along that quietly is a WOW, a yes, a pleasure to read and share with a child.

Quiet as MudWords and images echo each other in Quiet as Mud, a book authored by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Nicole Wong. This picture book explores what you hear when you are all by yourself and you listen to the thoughts and feelings inside you.

Jane Yolen in her magical way has taken the words of Margaret Wise Brown and has imagined new meanings, thoughts and ideas:

Big as the whole world,

Deep as a giant,

Quiet as electricity rushing about the world,

Quiet as mud.”

Come, join the child in this book. Tip-toe in … whisper … Fill your eyes, ears, nose, as you read Quiet as Mud.

Two other new books about the gift of “silence and listening” that speak to children as well as the adults are:

The Sound of KindnessThe Sound of Kindness by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater illustrated by Teresa Martinez invites you to take a kindness walk. Simple dialogue and up-lifting illustrations invite and delight the reader as one experiences little ways to be kind. As we walk through a neighborhood, parent and child, hand in hand, we are reminded of what we each can do every day. Our kindness walk ends with:

We hear the sound

Of kindness when we listen to the day.

We fill our world

With kindness with the words we choose to say.

May we each choose to be kind.

RhythmOne more book to enjoy, to reflect about, and to share is Rhythm by Jackie Azúa Kramer, illustrated by Taia Morley. This book is also about listening and being more aware of the troubles and worries many children have. The book begins:

It was the first frost.

Before leaving she whispered to her friend her hopes of good things for her family.

I hope my father finds work again.

As we turn the pages of Rhythm, we experience the comfort this child gives and receives from her steady friend, a big strong tree:

“A tree she listens to … sometimes to hear an army of ants marching into lumpy knotholes.

And under the shady tree she planned adventures with her friend…

Lying under the tree, branches framed the steely blue sky with stars for her to wish on ….”

 Rhythm is a hopeful, comforting book that is perfect for sharing … whatever our age or circumstances. We all have troubles and worries … and hopefully, we all have a friend, perhaps a tree, or a special place, outside or inside, where our very own special friend is there and listens.

All three books are recent publications of Magination Press, the children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association. Its vision is to publish books that combine psychology with story and speak with hope. Learn more at or @MaginationPress on Facebook.

May your walks be times of peaceful listening!

Nancy Bo Flood

As a fish-brain surgeon or a rodeo poem wrangler, I have loved stories. I strongly believe that words – in poetry or prose – help heal our hearts and give us new eyes to see the world. I was first a research psychologist studying brain development at the University of Minnesota and London University before following my passion – writing for children. Learn more...