The Sound of Silence
The Sound of Silence
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Katrina Goldsaito, illus. by Julia Kuo
ISBN 9780316203371
Little Brown & Co, 2016.
5 stars
Keywords: 4-7 ages katrina-goldsaito sound-silence

The Sound of Silence
by Katrina Goldsaito, illus. by Julia Kuo

 Little Yoshio is on his way to school throughout the bustling city of Tokyo. He hears the squish squash of his yellow boots in the puddles, the raindrops pattering on his matching yellow umbrella. When he finds a koto player tuning her instrument on the street, little Yoshio asks her, what is your favorite sound? 

 

"The most beautiful sound," the koto player said, "is the sound of ma, of silence." 

 

There begins Yoshio's search for silence, or ma, in Japanese. It is more difficult to find than he thinks! Julia Kuo's absolutely stunning and poetic illustrations and Katrina Goldsaito’s words are a perfect match. They take little Yoshio through the bamboo grove, where “the bamboo made a takeh-takeh-takeh sound as the wind banged its stalks together. He closed his eyes and heard the swish-swish-swish of the wind making the leaves talk. It was beautiful, but it wasn’t silence.

 

When Yoshio gets to school, the classroom is empty, so he pulls out his book and begins to read.

 

“He sat at his desk by the window and pulled out a book. He loved this story, and as he read, he forgot where he was. Suddenly, in the middle of the page, he heard it. No sounds of footsteps, no people chattering, no radios, no bamboo, non kotos being tuned.”

 

In the middle of a book, Yoshio found silence. 

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