Corvallis author encourages families to ‘listen’ to the world around them | Books and Literature

Corvallis author Gabi Snyder finds peace by slowing down and listening to the world around her, and she encourages children and families to do the same with her second picture book, “Listen.”

The children’s book, published last summer by Simon & Schuster, is one of five finalists for the Oregon Book Award presented by Oregon Literary Arts in Portland. But it was a long road of revisions and rejections before Snyder saw success and recognition for his writing.

“Perseverance is the key,” she said. “I think it took me a lot of time and willpower to rack up rejections and stay open to experimenting with different types of writing.”

The writing journey

Snyder’s writing journey began as a childhood hobby, although she never thought writing as a career was possible. She said she never saw a writing career modeled on her at school, and it wasn’t until her late twenties that she studied creative writing at college. from Texas to Austin. Her Bachelor of Arts is in Psychology from the University of Washington.

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Snyder originally wanted to write adult fiction, but fell in love with picture books while reading to her two children, who were then 3 and 5 years old. Her family moved from Austin to Corvallis in 2013, and while she was between jobs, Snyder had time to dabble in writing children’s books.

“It was nice to model this for my kids,” Snyder said. “Like, yeah, it can take many years. But follow your dreams.

Snyder wrote for four years before finding a literary agent who helped her submit to bigger publishers. Over those years, Snyder said she must have received more than 100 rejections, and eventually she developed a “rejection ritual” in which she baked a cupcake or bought flowers when she received one more. another “no”.

His first book, “Two Dogs on a Trike,” was published in 2020 and was inspired by Snyder’s childhood pets. She said she would like to progress and write books for older children and eventually for adults.

Everything about “Listen”

“Listen” follows a young girl who observes the sights and sounds around her throughout the day. It reminds kids and families to slow down and enjoy each individual sound rather than getting bogged down in all the noise.

“As a child, I was sometimes overwhelmed by things, whether it was too much noise or too many other kinds of stimuli,” Snyder recalled. “And even as an adult, I sometimes struggle with that. So I think “Listen” was kind of trying to weave in this idea of ​​really stopping to listen to individual sounds and helping calm your nervous system.

The book is illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, who was paired with Snyder of Simon & Schuster. The author and illustrator have never met in person, but communicate via Instagram and email. Graegin lives in Brooklyn, where the story takes place.

“I would say almost anything can inspire a story,” Snyder said. “I think the things that inspire me most often are my kids – things they say or do, or being in nature. I also really try to tap into childhood memories, what it’s like. was at the time to be a child and to experience something that had a strong emotion.

She said “Listen” is a great bedtime book because it ends with a child hiding after a long day of purposefully observing their surroundings. But the message goes beyond just getting a child ready for bed.

“I also hope it will be a model for families, children and adults, to practice mindfulness in their daily lives,” Snyder said. “We can all take a moment to stop and listen to the sounds and sights around us.”

Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be reached at 541-812-6076 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_.

Colin L. Johnson