The Quiet Place
by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
Margaret Ferguson Books, 2012
Isabel and her family move from rural Mexico to urban Minnesota. A vast difference in climate, culture, and language. Isabel finds solace in writing to her Auntie Lupita and in a large refrigerator box. She decorates the box with colors and things from Mexico. When the box is ruined in the rain, she collects other boxes to build herself a new quiet place. Through letters to her Auntie and illustrations of her expanding box collection, we follow Isabel through adjustments at school, in the neighborhood, and in making new friends. It culminates with a celebration where she shares her decorated boxes and other creative activities with other children. Going to school the next day is easier.
The Quiet Place is based on a true story of a friend of author Sarah Stewart.
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Charlotte and the Quiet Place
by Deborah Sosin, illustrated by Sara Woolley
Plum Blossom Books, 2015
Everywhere Charlotte goes, it is noisy. At home, in her neighborhood, at school. It is even noisy at the library and park, where it’s supposed to be quiet. All she wants is a quiet place. One day her dog goes after a squirrel, breaks away and runs deep into a grove. They sit down to rest and Charlotte gets in touch with her breathing and becomes mindful of the quiet. She finds a quiet place, deep within her belly. She eventually leaves the park, but takes her quiet place with her. Where ever she is, no matter how noisy or quiet, she can think of her quiet place, feel its pleasures and shut out the noisy world around her. Perfect for the introvert, the quiet child who needs to be in touch with their quiet place, and the rambunctious child that needs a quiet place to rest.
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That Book Woman
By Heather Henson, illustrated by David Small
Atheneum Books, 2008
Told from the point of view of an older brother who resisted reading, thinking it more important to work the land, we learn about the brave Pack Horse Librarians, known as the “Book Women” (most were women) who, through the US Work Progress Administration program, served people in remote regions where even schools aren’t available. They came every two weeks.
We open with Cal glowering at this sister Lark who “would keep her nose a-twixt the pages of a book daybreak to dusky dark”. Without his nose in a book, he is the first to hear the lady riding a sorrel mare. The lady brings in a leather bag of books and leaves them. The family offers a poke of berries for a trade, but the women says they are free, there is no charge, and the children are relieved they will have their cherished pie. Cal thinks this is all a waste of time. The women comes rain, snow or shine; she even came during the worst blizzard, knowing, “My horse will see me home.” Why would that women risk her life in the blizzard, Cal begins to wonder. What’s in those books? He picks up a book and asks Lark to teach him what it says. It’s not until next spring before the woman sits and visits a spell and mom gifts her with her most prized possession, her mother’s recipe to berry pie. Cal says he wishes he had something to give, and the librarian asks him to read something to her, and says, “That’s gift enough.”
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Michelle Knudsen; illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Candlewick Press, 2006
A lion walks into a library. Liking what he sees, he lies in the story hour area. He enjoys the stories and when they are over, he roars for more. The librarian charges out and patiently explains roaring is not allowed. The lion learns to help the librarian and they become good friends.
One day the librarian falls, and the lion must roar to get the attention of someone to help. He then leaves, knowing he broke the rules and won’t be allowed to stay. All the children and the librarian miss the lion, until one day the lion is asked to return.
A story for book lovers and library lovers; when I first read it, I had to own it. The back story discusses rules and when to break them, making the story a good discussion topic.
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