The Power of “Quiet”: Thoughts by Cameron Smith on Tomie dePaula’s Latest Picture Book

The cover of this new book, Quiet, by Tomie DePaola.

Quiet by Tomie dePaola
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

I recently heard the NPR Author Interview about Tomie dePaola’s latest book, Quiet.  I listened to the three-minute interview around 5:45 am on my way to the gym.  

And I turned off the radio. Immediately.

Not exactly what NPR might have been going for, but Mr. dePaola got through to me.  Here’s why:

So many things distract us today.  How many waking minutes per day are you not attached to a device, getting a notification, or staring at a screen?  For most of us—very few.

But when you let your mind relax away from all these stimulants, you make room to pause and reflect—to be centered and calm.  Self-care and executive-function can be lost in the shuffle, particularly for our young, digital native kids. They can be overwhelmed by social media and the pressures to maintain a perfect persona online.

Later on that same morning, I was inspired during our family drive to Bennett Day School.  We normally have the radio on and jump around stations—from today’s pop hits (what the kids are listening to these days!), and once in a while, we get in a ‘90s rock hit to make dad happy.  

But on this day, I turned off the radio, and something magical happened. My kids talked with me and each other for the entire ride.

It was beautiful.

Mr. dePaola is the author of countless classic children’s book, including one of our family favorites, Strega Nona.  He mentioned in his NPR interview that he’s never had a ‘message book’ per se, but I wanted to share the question that Quiet brings to mind for me:

How will you give your kids some “quiet” today?

-Cameron Smith, 
Chief Executive Officer and School Parent
Bennett Day School










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