Ten Ways to Hear Snow

by Cathy Camper (Author) Kenard Pak (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A snowy day, a trip to Grandma's, time spent cooking with one another, and space to pause and discover the world around you come together in this perfect book for reading and sharing on a cozy winter day.

One winter morning, Lina wakes up to silence. It's the sound of snow -- the kind that looks soft and glows bright in the winter sun. But as she walks to her grandmother's house to help make the family recipe for warak enab, she continues to listen. As Lina walks past snowmen and across icy sidewalks, she discovers ten ways to pay attention to what might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

With stunning illustrations by Kenard Pak and thoughtful representation of a modern Arab American family from Cathy Camper, Ten Ways to Hear Snow is a layered exploration of mindfulness, empathy, and what we realize when the world gets quiet.

Publishers Weekly

Luminous aquatint-like views of snow-covered neighborhood streets by Pak (Maud and Grand-Maud) contribute serenity to this story about senses and perception. A blizzard has ended, and Lina heads to visit her grandmother, Sitti. As she considers Sitti's diminishing eyesight en route, Lina realizes that snow is not just seen, but heard, and starts to list its different sounds: the "scraaape scrip" of a snow shovel, the "ploompf" of snow dislodged by a bluejay, the "drip, drip" of mittens drying. At Sitti's apartment, the two make warak enab (grape leaves stuffed with rice and lamb), assembling the rolls and joking as they go: "Mine looks like a mustache!" Lina says, holding a roll under her nose. How does Sitti knows that it has snowed? "Each morning I open the window and listen," Sitti tells the girl, and her sharp hearing supplies the final item on Lina's list. Deliberately paced, peppered with sound words, and centered around a close-knit family's routines and meals, this story by Camper (the Lowriders in Space series) is just right for winter reading. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

K-Gr 3--Perhaps only someone who has lived in a snowy place and loved it would find 10 ways to hear snow. This poetic undertaking is as simple as a walk to a grandparent's home and, ultimately, just as heartwarming. Lina hears a muffled sound, first in the morning when no one is moving after a blizzard the day before, a thwomp when the snow falls off a branch that sways under the weight, and the scrape of shovels as sidewalks are cleared. She wonders if Sitti, her grandmother, will know that it has snowed, and goes to tell her, and to make stuffed grape leaves, a Lebanese favorite. But the 10th way to hear snow is its quiet, and Sitti, who cannot see well, is well aware of the blizzard's aftermath. Camper's straightforward telling is imbued with lyrical moments: "Outside, the late blue afternoon was completely still" perfectly describes the color and cast of the day's blanketed scenery. Lina's skin is light brown, and her hair is black; her parents, too, have similar coloring, he with a moustache and calling her the Arabic endearment "habibti." The inclusion of that and a few other Arabic words is seamless. In muted pastel colors, with foamlike blocks of snow lining branches, roofs, and hedges, Pak re-creates the sculptured effect of snow--that it covers the landscape, and in doing so, highlights it: eyebrows of white over windows, bumps where there had been bushes, drifts scattershot up the trunks of trees. VERDICT Not since Ezra Jack Keats in Snowy Day and Karen Gundersheimer in Happy Winter has snow been so lovingly depicted, in a counting game for children in all seasons.--Kimberly Olson Fakih, School Library Journal

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


An NPR Best Book of 2020
A Powell's Best Children's Book of 2020
A Pacific Northwest Indie Bestseller

A warm, comforting story with a wintry backdrop... A fine selection for teachers requesting picture books on the senses and a natural for reading aloud before the season's first snowfall. —Booklist, starred review.

Not since Ezra Jack Keats in Snowy Day and Karen Gundersheimer in Happy Winter has snow been so lovingly depicted, in a counting game for children in all seasons. —School Library Journal

Readers will savor this calm, kind, and loving moment between a granddaughter and her grandma. —Kirkus Reviews

Just right for winter reading. —Publishers Weekly

Forges new ways to think about intergenerational, intercultural connections. —Horn Book

This cries out for a choral performance of the snow sounds, and it might prompt librarians to bring out Perkins' classic Snow Music. —BCCB

Cathy Camper
Cathy Camper is the author of the Lowriders in Space graphic novel series. She is a founding member of the Portland Women of Color Zine Collective, and she loves making stuffed grape leaves like her Lebanese grandma did with family and friends. Cathy also works as an outreach librarian, serving schools and kids grades K--12. You can visit her online at cathycamper.com or follow her on Twitter @cfastwolf.

Kenard Pak is a picture book and book cover illustrator. He's illustrated children's books such as Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray and The Dinner That Cooked Itself by J. C. Hsyu. He is the author/illustrator of Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn and Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and their cat. Visit his website at pandagun.com or follow him on Twitter @kenardpak.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2020

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