We live in a time when noise pollution is all around us — jack-hammers in ever-expanding cities, lawn-mowers in suburbia, motor boats in lakes, blaring television monitors in airport lounges, Muzak in elevators, people chattering away on mobile phones, and an unending assault of ads on the screens in the back seats of cabs. Growing up in this 24/7 deluge of noise pollution, children are bereft of any experience of peace and silence. Most of them, by age ten, are addicted to texting, cell phones, and video games. All of us are forced to live in the relentless roar of our machines, our tools, and our toys.
There are very few children's picture books addressing this problem. We are impressed with The Quiet Book, a New York Times bestseller by Deborah Underwood. With poetic prowess and subtle power, she and illustrator Renata Liwska present a varied list of approaches to quiet including:
• Lollipop Quiet
• Making a Wish Quiet
• Before the Concert Starts Quiet
• Hide-and-Seek Quiet
• First Snowfall Quiet
• Bedtime Kiss Quiet
How can you find this inner quietude, tranquility, and calm? You must make room for it — literally. Find a space of physical silence where you can sit quietly, away from distracting demands, voices, and sounds. Go there every day. It is the gateway to your interior silence.
The Quiet Book is bound to create a yearning within children for the peace that is an antidote to the noise all around us.