cover image The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

Katrina Goldsaito, illus. by Julia Kuo. Little, Brown, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-20337-1

On his way to school in noisy Tokyo, Yoshio asks a street musician what her favorite sound is. “The most beautiful sound is the sound of ma, of silence,” she replies. Yoshio spends the rest of the book trying to listen for silence in his city—a tall order—and finds it early the next morning when he’s lost in a book: “Suddenly, in the middle of a page, he heard it. No sounds of footsteps, no people chattering, no radios, no bamboo.... It was between and underneath every sound.” Kuo (Daisy and Josephine) draws with an architect’s precise line, alternating gallery-worthy spreads of Tokyo’s crowds and buildings with domestic scenes of Yoshio and his family. Debut author Goldsaito’s final passages about ma successfully illuminate the term and could be used to teach children to meditate, the way Goldsaito’s father taught her, as she explains in an afterword. Young readers, however, may be more impressed by the way Yoshio wanders freely and safely alone through the world’s most populous city. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Aug.)