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The Sound of Silence (primary age)

Quick Overview

The words and illustrations in this story come together beautifully to tell the story of little Yoshio who lives in Tokyo, Japan. He’s curious about his world, particularly sounds. He meets an elderly woman playing the koto, a traditional stringed instrument, who tells him that the most beautiful sound is in fact “ma” (silence). As he moves through the hustle and bustle of the day, Yoshio eventually becomes aware that silence is always there too, if only you learn how to notice it. The ideas explored in this book align nicely with some of the Five Ways to Wellbeing concepts, and the story encourages children to be curious, to contemplate, to get out and explore, connect with others, and to be respectful of the passing of knowledge between generations.

The Sound of Silence encourages young readers to get fully involved in the story, try out the ever-changing sounds with Yoshio and ask questions about Japanese culture and customs. Important values are portrayed throughout this story, such as respect for elders, rituals, music, the environment and studying. The background information contained within the afterword adds depth to the story and connection to the author and illustrator’s lives. This book encourages readers to experience the story through multiple senses, and perhaps come away a little curious to enable them to reflect on their own lives to see if they can find pockets of silence among all the noise.

Health Professional Review

Health Professional Review

Reviewer: Kim Higginson, Information Resources Specialist at the Mental Health Foundation.

Book Title: The Sound of Silence

Author: Goldsaito, K. 

Date Published: 2016

Problems addressed: Mindfulness

Suitable for: 5–9 age range

The words and illustrations in this story come together beautifully to tell the story of little Yoshio who lives in Tokyo, Japan.

He’s curious about his world, particularly sounds. He meets an elderly woman playing the koto, a traditional stringed instrument, who tells him that the most beautiful sound is in fact “ma” (silence). As he moves through the hustle and bustle of the day, Yoshio eventually becomes aware that silence is always there too, if only you learn how to notice it.

This book ticks a lot of the Five Ways to Wellbeing boxes. The story encourages children to be curious, to contemplate, to get out and explore, connect with others, and to be respectful of the passing of knowledge between generations.

Book encourages questions

Important values are portrayed through the story – respect for elders, rituals, music, the environment and studying. One thing that left me wondering was that even though Japan is a leader in mobile phone technology and use, in the beautifully detailed and busy illustrations of people, there is not a device in sight.

The background information contained within the afterword added depth to the story and connection to the author and illustrator’s lives.

Children get to experience this story through multiple senses, and they come away perhaps a little curious to reflect on their own lives to see if they can find pockets of silence among all the noise.

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