The Quiet Book - Thao Lam
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The Quiet Book

The Quiet Book

The Quiet Book

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Shhhhhhhhhhh… Keep reading…

From morning to night, we are constantly hustling and bustling, our senses bombarded by noise and images. Every minute filled and counted for, down to the tenth of the second. It is amazing that we can still find pockets of quiet in an over-stimulated world. The Quiet Book, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska, reminds us that those moments of stillness do exist.

Different types of quiet are illustrated in subdued colours and gentle narration. Being a Canadian, my favorite is the first snowfall quiet. I can remember early mornings waiting for the school bus and feeling the stillness created by thick blankets of snow.

This smaller than normal size picture book stood out among the crowd of loud covers with its soft mint green cover, and the title whispered in an even lighter shade of mint green. Liwska’s pencil drawings are captivating and charming, with her delicate drawings of adorable little animal critters with subtle facial expressions. With their rounded figures, these critters almost appear to be stuffed and reminded me of a favorite childhood teddy bear.

The Quiet Book, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

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Author Deborah Underwood

For the first few years after college, Deborah Underwood was a street musician, making her living playing guitar and singing. Growing up in Walla Walla, Washington, Underwood wanted to be an astronomer, then a singer and then a writer. Today when she is not writing, she sings in a chamber choir. In fact, while sitting in church waiting for a classical guitar concert to start, Underwood observed many types of quiet, which inspired her to write The Quiet Book.

I am always tickled pink when an author or an illustrator, takes time out of their busy schedule to reply to a fan mail.

“I got the idea for The Quiet Book while I was sitting in a church, waiting for a classical guitar concert to start. There were several “quiets” all in a row–a relaxed quiet before the performer entered, a polite quiet while he tuned, and then a fabulous, electric, expectant quiet right before he started to play. As I listened to the concert, I began to mull over other kinds of “quiets.”

I started working on the manuscript immediately, and it probably took about a month for me to have a draft that I felt was ready to send out. I got a number of rejections from people who felt the book was too quiet! I’m hugely grateful that my editor, Kate O’Sullivan, saw the possibilities in my manuscript and that I was paired with Renata Liwska, truly the perfect illustrator for this project.”

– Deborah Underwood –

To find out more about Deborah Underwood, please visit her website:

Illustrator Renata Liwska

Raised in Warsaw Poland, Renata Liwska was educated at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw before moving to Canada to finish up her studies at the Alberta College of Art & Design in Calgary. She currently resides in Calgary with her husband, Mike Kerr, who also is a talented illustrator in his own rights. At any given moment, Liwska has half a dozen sketchbooks on the go. Her sketchbooks are mind-blowing, filled with delicate pencil drawing of ideas and illustrations at different stages of development. For finished illustrations, the sketchbook pages are scanned and coloured digitally.

I am always tickled pink when an author or an illustrator, takes time out of their busy schedule to reply to a fan mail.

“As soon as I started reading The Quiet Book pictures and characters started to appear in my mind and I was sketching them before I could even accept the job to illustrate Deborah’s wonderful words. When I work I try to find a quiet place, literally and mentally. I draw best when I don’t have distractions, and I can lose myself in the character’s world. It’s not a totally made up world, however, it is usually inspired or based on something I have experienced from childhood or the present. When I have the opportunity to consider illustrating a book, this is probably the most important thing for me. A children’s book takes a long time to do, at least for me. So I want to make sure that it is something that will keep me inspired, and I can never get enough quiet.”

– Renata Liwska –

To find out more about Renata Liwska, please visit her website:

Publisher Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (Mar 24 2010)

ISBN-10 0547215673

ISBN-13 978-0547215679