Sonam and the Silence

Eddie Ayres, Ronak Taher

Sonam and the Silence
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Sonam and the Silence

Eddie Ayres, Ronak Taher

In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Sonam’s world is dark and silent. Then one day, she follows a magical melodious sound to a walled garden, and her world is silent no more. The sound is music, and it lifts her up amongst the stars and takes her deeper than the tree roots in the earth. How can she hold on to this feeling in a world where music is forbidden?

A lyrical fable-like story by the well-known musician, author and broadcaster Eddie Ayres, about the irrepressible power of music.


Sonam is a young girl who lives with her family in Kabul and earns money by selling chewing gum on the city streets. Sonam’s world is flooded with beauty and joy when she hears an old man playing music on her way home, and she returns each day to listen. The old man gives Sonam his instrument, a rubab, but music is forbidden in Afghanistan, and Sonam must defy her family’s fear, and her own despair, to find this joy again.

Ayres has built a charming fable around the true story of a resilient love of music, which was banned in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Ayres draws from his time teaching music in Afghanistan and his moving, lyrical story is beautifully illustrated by Iranian-Australian artist Ronak Taher. Best suited to children aged 3+.

George Delaney is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids.

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