Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 5, 2022

Book Giveaway: LISTEN: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion by Shannon Stocker

Shannon Stocker has written a new picture book, LISTEN: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion, Illustrated by Devon Holzwarth and published by Dial Books. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States. The book hits bookstores on April 12th but is available now for pre-order.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Sophia and Suzan.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


A gorgeous and empowering picture book biography about Evelyn Glennie, a deaf woman, who became the first full-time solo percussionist in the world.

“No. You can’t,” people said.
But Evelyn knew she could. She only had to listen.

From the moment Evelyn Glennie heard her first note, music held her heart. She could play the piano by ear at age eight, the clarinet by age ten. But soon the nerves in her ears began to degenerate, and Evelyn was told that, as a deaf girl, she could never be a musician. What sounds Evelyn couldn’t hear with her ears, though, she could feel resonate through her body, as if she were a drum, and the music she created as a result was extraordinary. All she had to do was listen in a way that others didn’t. And soon, the world was listening too.


Thanks for having me on your blog again, Kathy!

From as early as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed writing in multiple genres and styles. As a kid, I actually first fell in love with poetry, and then I became a songwriter. Before my first picture book was published (CAN U SAVE THE DAY—a funny rhymer), I became a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. Whether humorous or contemporary, fiction or non, I’ve always just sort of been an equal opportunity word nerd.

For those who know me well, I don’t think it was a shock that I decided to try my hand at a nonfiction picture book manuscript. The shock for everyone, myself included, was how quickly it all came together.

In January 2019, I attended SCBWI’s conference in Miami. This, alone, was a bit unusual, as my region is Midsouth—but I went to Miami to meet several critique partners. While there, a theme resonated from past conferences: write what you know.

The message sank in and I started jotting notes. What do I know? Well, I went to medical school, and then I was a patient myself for seven years…so I know medicine. I played guitar and sang to help pay my way through med school…so I know music. And for seven years, I fought a chronic illness called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy that almost killed me. In 2007, needing a wheelchair and having been given two years to live, I went to Mexico to participate in an experimental treatment, an induced coma, in search of a miracle. Now able to walk again, my disability is often invisible…but still, I know disability. I know what it’s like to be told my body would not carry me toward the future I wanted. And I know what it’s like to prove people wrong.

Invigorated, I started researching musicians. The very first person who caught my eye was deaf percussionist, Evelyn Glennie. Thinking she would be too famous to reach, I continued looking for a few days. But every day, I’d land back on one of her videos, or interviews, or songs. Her story—her experience—resonated so strongly and personally for me. So I reached out to her team.

Within two days, a representative responded that Evelyn would be delighted to Skype with me. She’d love to be a part of the project. I flipped.

Wanting to be as prepared as possible for the call, I dove into research. I decided to take another piece of advice I’d heard at the conference (and knew to be true from years of reading and writing nonfiction). Find a moment in time, and write around that.

First, I read every interview and story about Evelyn that I could find. I watched a billion videos of both interviews and performances. But just like when I’d started researching different musicians, the focal point of LISTEN quickly became clear to me. Evelyn frequently revisited the moment she first learned to listen differently, thanks to her percussion teacher Ron Forbes. No matter how many interviews I read, no matter how many videos I watched, this moment tugged at my heart more than any others. By the time I had my first Skype with Evelyn, I felt thoroughly prepared.

In early March, I wrote my first draft of LISTEN and posted it for my critique partners. The positive responses blew me away. I revised a couple of times with Evelyn’s feedback, and then, on March 14th, I submitted it to an editor I’d met at a prior Midsouth conference.

Within thirty minutes, she responded that she was sharing the story with other editors. Within two hours, it was in Acquisitions.

Although I’d previously been represented by an agent, the experience had not been a good one. But, in that moment, I decided to try again. That afternoon, I queried a handful of my top agency choices with LISTEN, letting them know it was in Acquisitions. Shortly thereafter, several expressed interest, and within two weeks week, I signed with Allison Remcheck at Stimola Literary Studio.

Before the end of the month, LISTEN had received multiple offers and found a home with editor extraordinaire, Jess Garrison, at Dial.

I’m not sure I will ever have such a magical book journey again. Every piece fell into place quickly. For those who have been in this industry for any length of time, you know what a rarity that is. It was the right book at the right time—MY right book—and for that, I will always be grateful. But it is also a reminder that talent only takes you so far in the world of kidlit. LISTEN was my lightning in a bottle. It’s not that I won’t be out there trying to catch it again—I will—but I’m also acutely aware that this story, this journey, was about much more than just my writing.

It was about my connection to the story. My passion for it.

As I continue writing new picture book drafts and novels, I am not looking to recreate LISTEN’s journey. Instead, I’m looking to recreate projects about which I feel the same level of passion. Projects that connect with my gut. Projects that I feel NEED to be on our shelves, because they are filling a hole.

Might I go back to writing funny stories again someday? I hope so. I loved CAN U SAVE THE DAY’s journey.

But for now, I have to take the path that is calling. I must honor that voice.

I must LISTEN.



Devon Holzwarth is a picture book illustrator, author, and painter. Born in Washington D.C., Devon grew up in Panama surrounded by nature and her dad’s art supplies, and has lived in many other places over the years. She currently lives in Germany with her family including her husband, two kids, a galgo dog from Spain and a little dachshund from Romania.

Devon earned her BFA in 2000 from the Rhode Island School of Design focusing on screen printing and painting. She has written & illustrated two picture books: FOUND YOU and SOPHIE’S STORIES, with Alison Green Books/Scholastic UK. She has a number of picture books publishing in 2022, including “Tia Fortuna’s New Home” (Knopf Books, English & Spanish language versions), “Listen” (Dial Books and Penguin UK), and “Everywhere With You” (Walker Books US and Walker Books UK).

Devon Holzwarth is a picture book illustrator, author, and painter. Born in Washington D.C., Devon grew up in Panama surrounded by nature and her dad’s art supplies, and has lived in many other places over the years. She currently lives in Germany with her family including her husband, two kids, a galgo dog from Spain and a little dachshund from Romania.

Shannon, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love how you found Evelyn and brought her story to life. It is very inspiring book and the illustrations a gorgeous. I Love Suzan’s illustration. Helping children not believe when people say, “You can never do that.” It’s an important message. Good luck with the book.

Talk soon,



  1. Thank you for sharing this book’s path to publication–the subject matter is inspirational and as a musician, I’m going to love reading this book and learning about someone new to me. I’m an email subscriber and shared:


  2. What an exciting backstory to a book!

    I’m a newsletter subscriber


  3. I love your blog, Kathy! It’s always chock full of kid lit goodness! What a fabulous new book from Shannon and Devon!! And it was great learning more about the path to publication and their creative journeys.


  4. What a beautiful book on so many levels -congrats!


  5. This sounds amazing, Shannon! I loved reading about your connection with the story. Can’t wait to read it! Congratulations, Shannon and Devon!

    I follow by email and I tweeted this post, Kathy.


  6. I am familiar with Evelyn Glennie and her story. This looks like a wonderful treatment for kids. Thanks for featuring it.
    I’ve shared:, and tweeted:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a super day!!


  7. Powerful story and gorgeous illustrations!


  8. Reblogged this on Teresa Robeson 何顥思 and commented:
    I’m so excited for my dear friend Shannon Stocker on her upcoming book about an amazing woman! Enter the giveaway to win a copy for yourself. 🙂


  9. I am so excited to read this! Having been hearing impaired since birth, this story is especially dear to my heart. Congratulations!!


  10. I couldn’t be more excited for this book! I remember the conversation when Shannon told me this manuscript was going to acquisitions and that she was querying agents. It was magical hearing how it was all coming together. 👏🏼👏🏼Seeing the story in Shannon’s beautiful voice combined with the gorgeous illustrations is an excellent example of how picture books are more than the sum of their parts. I’m looking forward to sharing my interview with Shannon later this month. I’m reblogging and sharing on Facebook and Twitter.


  11. […] Book Giveaway: LISTEN: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion by Shannon Stocker […]


  12. What a great story. My daughter was hearing impaired and there were no books for her as a child. And a friend of mine’s grandson is deaf and wears a cochlear implant. He attends a deaf school. Can’t wait to let them know about this book!


  13. Beautiful story and book! I can’t wait to hold a copy in my hands. Congratulations, Shannon!


  14. Wow! What an inspirational story on all ends! Can’t wait to read this book! Congratulations on following your passion and seeing it so well received.


    • So happy to have found you blog through Laura Roettiger’s blog share. Now following 🙂


  15. Wonderful post, both about the story and the author’s incredible odds to make this happen. I posted this on FB, April 10, 2022.


  16. Everything about this story makes me say “wow.” (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


  17. What an inspiring personal story! Thanks for sharing your passion and book journey. The illustrations are beautiful and I look forward to reading this pb.


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