I recently discovered The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnell. This is a beautiful and very moving book. It is simple and to the point. But there is an ephemeral sense of mystery to it as well.
It is the brief story of a child asking to understand how an old man can hear stars, or flowers or the very hills speaking to him. The old man gives brief and poetic direction about how to learn to hear the hills. The story is backed up perfectly by the illustrations. Which all can be seen one way, but if you look a bit longer can be seen as something else.
I adore this book. It is spiritual, natural, easy to read to kids. In fact I read it to my Earth Scouts/Champs group last week as we sat in the park. Afterwards, before any voices had a chance to break the spell of silence the book casts, I sent them quietly off to each sit by themselves and just listen to the nature around us. They did. 5 and 6 year olds, and parents alike, all spread out, sitting silently and separately around the open clearing, watching the sky, the trees, the wind. All waiting, listening, striving to hear what our hills had to say to each of them.
It was a great way to listen.
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)