The Sound of Silence

Katrina Goldsaito, Julia Kuo

The Sound of Silence
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The Sound of Silence

Katrina Goldsaito, Julia Kuo

Yoshio thinks Tokyo sounds like a symphony hall! He delights in everyday sounds–shoes squishing through puddles, raindrops pattering down, and lots of giggles! But one day he meets a musician who tells Yoshio that her favorite sound is ma, the Japanese word for the sound of silence. Yoshio must hear this! But how can he find it amid the hustle and bustle of the city?

In the vein of Wabi Sabi, this book explains a sophisticated Japanese concept in a child-friendly way.


In a busy city like Tokyo the idea of silence is almost ridiculous. The Japanese have the word ‘Ma’ to explain the silence between sounds and it is this notion that inspires this quite lovely picture book. As young Yoshio revels in the sounds of the city while he wanders about, he comes across the wonderful music of a koto player. He asks the musician what she considers the most wonderful sound to be and she replies, ‘ma’. Yoshio is perplexed: where can he find silence? He finally understands that it is found in the moment of stillness when your mind is free from your surroundings.

The Sound of Silence depicts Japanese culture superbly and the colours and vibrancy contrast perfectly with the muted shades when Yoshio finds his silence. I love the way it describes such an elusive concept and introduces young people to the idea of contemplation and that they can find a peaceful place in a noisy world.

Highly recommended for 4 and up.

Alexa Dretzke is a Children’s & YA Book Specialist at Readings Hawthorn.

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