The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito – Multicultural Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld

Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day – Jan. 26, 2021

Official hashtag: #ReadYourWorld 

 Learn more about this special day at the end of my review.

The Sound of Silence

Katrina Goldsaito, Author

Julia Kuo, Illustrator

Little, Brown, Fiction, 2016

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes: Sounds, Listening, Silence,  City, Tokyo, Multicultural 

Opening “Little Yoshio wiggled with anticipation. Three…Two…One! He threw open the front door.”

Puslibsher’s Synopsis

“Do you have a favorite sound?” little Yoshio asks. The koto musician answers, “The most beautiful sound is the sound of ma, of silence.”

But Yoshio lives in Tokyo, Japan: a griant, noisy, busy city. He hears shoes squishing through puddles, trains whooshing, cars beeping, and families laughing. A koto plays notes that are twangy and twinkinling; they tickled Yoshio’s ears!  Tokyo is like a symphony hall!

Where is silence?

Join Yoshio on his journey through the hustle and bustle of the city to find the most beautiful sound of all. 

Why I like The Sound of Silence: 

Katrina Goldsaito’s The Sound of Silence will transport readers to another place, where one needs sound in order to appreciate silence. The text is inspirational and very lyrical for both children and adults. The illustrations are rich and lively. This is a beautiful book for the family library.

I love the concept silence presented as “ma” by the koto player, with no further explanation. It can be heard in many different ways. When I attend the philharmonic, I love the moment of total silence that I hear as the last note is played just before the audience breaks into applause. For me that is a “ma” moment.

For Yoshio, he embarks upon a journey to listen more closely for sound. There is too much noise in his school classroom. When recess arrives, he visits a bamboo grove at the edge of the playground, but the wind is blowing and creates a beautiful sound, but it isn’t the silence he’s seeking. Silence seems so illusive, even at night when his family is asleep. There are noises. His journey contineus and he finds it in an unlikely place. No spoilers.

Resources:  Make sure you read the author’s afterwaord about the Japanese concept of ma. There are some exercises that Goldsaito’s father taught her as a child to listen to individual sounds around her, that would be fun to use with children. And like Yoshio, children can also discuss list their favorite sounds  and sounds that may feel disruptive, like a horn blasting. There are many ways to use this beautiful book.

Katrina Goldsaito’s favorite sound is the sound of bare  feet on tatami mats. In Tokyo, she worked as an on-camera TV journalist and producer for NHK-World, and has written for National Geographic, The Christian Sicence Monitor, NPA, and The Japan Times. She lives near Golden Gate Pak with her husband and son, and spends her days eating avocados and working on her first YA novel. You can visit her at katrinagoldsaito.com.

*Reviewed gifted by the author in exchange for a review.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/22) is in its 10th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

Ten years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

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Authors: Sivan HongAmanda Hsiung-BlodgettJosh Funk Stephanie M. WildmanGwen JacksonDiana HuangAfsaneh MoradianKathleen BurkinshawEugenia ChuJacqueline JulesAlejandra DomenzainGaia CornwallRuth SpiroEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoTonya Duncan EllisKiyanda and Benjamin Young/Twin Powers BooksKimberly Lee Tameka Fryer BrownTalia Aikens-NuñezMarcia Argueta MickelsonKerry O’Malley CerraJennie LiuHeather Murphy CappsDiane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John CoyIrene Latham and Charles WatersMaritza M MejiaLois PetrenJ.C. Kato and J.C.²CultureGrooveLindsey Rowe ParkerRed Comet PressShifa Saltagi SafadiNancy Tupper LingDeborah AcioAsha HagoodPriya KumariChris SingletonPadma VenkatramanTeresa RobesonValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena PublishingMartha Seif SimpsonRochelle MelanderAlva SachsMoni Ritchie HadleyGea MeijeringFrances Díaz EvansMichael GenhartAngela H. DaleCourtney KellyQueenbe MonyeiJamia WilsonCharnaie GordonDebbie Ridpath OhiDebbie ZapataJacquetta Nammar FeldmanNatasha Yim, Tracy T. Agnelli, Kitty Feld, Anna Maria DiDio, Ko Kim, Shachi Kaushik 

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Join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 9 pm EST for the 10th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

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Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 26, 2023, at our virtual party!

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion by Shannon Stocker

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion

Shannon Stocker, Author

Devon Holzwarth, Illustrator

Dial Books for Young Readers, Biography, Apr. 12, 2022

Suitable for ages: 4–8

Themes: Music, Deafness, Listening, Feeling, Resilience,  Percussion, Biography

Opening: “This is a story of music. Of obstacles. Of strnegth and hard work. Of all you can accomplish when you dream. If you only . . . listen.“usPublisher’s Synopsis:

A gorgeous and empowering picture book biography about Evelyn Glennie, a deaf woman, who became the first full-time solo percussionist in the world.

“No. You can’t,” people said.
But Evelyn knew she could. She had found her own way to listen.

From the moment Evelyn Glennie heard her first note, music held her heart. She played the piano by ear at age eight, and the clarinet by age ten. But soon, the nerves in her ears began to deteriorate, and Evelyn was told that, as a deaf girl, she could never be a musician. What sounds Evelyn couldn’t hear with her ears, though, she could feel resonate through her body as if she, herself, were a drum. And the music she created was extraordinary. Evelyn Glennie had learned how to listen in a new way. And soon, the world was listening too.

Why I like this book:

This inspiring biography about Evelyn Glennie will have a special impact on readers — especially those who are differently abled. How often children are told “no, you can’t do that.”  And something within them says, “watch me.” Shannon Stocker’s story will find a home in the hearts of many children. The text is lyrical and Devon Holzwarth’s vibrant and lively illustrations capture the essence of the movement Evelyn feels when the vibrations move through her body. Excellent collaboration between the author and illustrator. 

I really enjoyed the special relationship Evelyn had with her teacher, Ron Forbes, who encouraged her to feel the music in her own way. For Evelyn it was feeling the vibration in her heart and her entire body. My favorite scene is when Forbes encourages her to remove her hearing aids (not a likely thing to do) and feel the vibrations. She also takes off her shoes. She discovers that without her aids, the vibrations move through every part of her. And she finds her own way of listening and making music. She eventually ends up studying at the Royal Academy of Music. In later years, Evelyn Glennie became the first full-time solo percussionist in the world. 

This book spoke to me because I have a daughter who is hearing impaired. She began wearing hearing aids at age 4.  It opened the world to her. And, one of the things she loved was music and movement. We let her take piano lessons and play the violin in the middle and high school. She has a lovely singing voice and sang in a choir, but always positioned herself a certain way and stood by someone with a strong voice. She learned to adapt in her own way. 

Make sure you check out the Author’s Note at the end of the book, as you will learn about the author and her own journey with music. She spoke many times to Evelyn and shares her wisdom for young readers. To learn more about Evelyn, visit her website.

Resources: What a great classroom book. It would be fun to have a teacher to bring in some drums and other instruments, especially if there is a music department. Have children take off their shoes, touch the walls and feel the vibrations that are created.  

Shannon Stocker is a writer and musician who has always danced to the beat of her own drum. She is the author of the picture book Can U Save the Day? and the 21st Century Junior Library:  Together We Can: Pandemic early reader series. Shannon lives with her husband, Greg, and her children, Cassidy and Tye, in Louisville, Kentucky. Learn more about her at her website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library copy.

Listen by Gabi Snyder — PPBF Review

Listen

Gabi Snyder, Author

Stephanie Graegin, Illustrator

A Paula Wiseman Book, Fiction, 2021

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes: Listening, Paying attention, City, Sounds, Noise

Opening: When you step out into the big, wild world, sometimes all you hear is… NOISE!

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Isn’t the world a noisy place?

BEEP! WOOF! VROOM!

But what if you stop, close your eyes and Listen?

Can you hear each sound?

Can you listen past the noise and hear the quiet, too?

Why I like Listen:

A girl walks to school with her father and is bombarded with the noises of her busy city — dogs barking, cars beeping, motorcycles vrooming, and crows cawing. Readers will join the girl as she stops and attentively listens to each sound and lets go of the noise around it. She begins to learn what’s beyond the sounds — joy, hurtful feelings, the sounds of nature, and silence. She discovers that there is so much more “waiting to be heard” if she quiets herself and just listens.

The text is noisy with fun sounds that readers will enjoy repeating. Stephanie Graegin’s illustrations are beautiful and guide you on the girl’s journey. It is a beautiful story about mindfulness and learning to live in the present moment.

Resources: There is more information about LISTENING at the end of the book, which will encourage many interesting discussions.  Listening is more than just hearing.  It is a skill that will help readers learn to focus and tune out the noise. It is also a good book for parents. Teachers, check out the curriculum guide from Simon and Schuster.

Gabi Snyder’s debut picture book, Two Dogs on a Trike, received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, who said it “perfectly captures the rollicking, manic joy of dogs off the leash.” She studied psychology at University of Washington and creative writing at University of Texas at Austin and is a member of SCBWI. When she’s not writing, she love taking nature walks, visiting Free Libraries, and baking sweet treats. She lives in Oregon with her family. Learn more at her website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library copy.

 

My Story Friend by Kalli Dakos

My Story Friend

Kalli Dakos, Author

Dream Chen, Illustrator

Magination Press, Fiction, May 2021

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Boy, Compassion, Listening, Self-acceptance

Opening: “There is the person who tells the story. This is the story teller. / And there is the person who listens to the story. This is the story friend.”

Publisher’s Synopsis

When a child treks across the land in search of someone to tell his sad story to, he meets a gruff mountain man who can’t stand unhappy stories and a too busy to be bothered farmer.  Finally he meets an old woman, who tells stories herself and is willing to  listen. She becomes his story friend. The act of telling the story leads the child to look at the other side and make what was dark lighter and full of hope and positivity.

The true potency of needing to express one’s unhappiness and the power of having someone else listen and help is a strong message for young readers. Like a favorite teacher or mentor, they may not be around forever, just for a short but meaningful time.

What I like about this story:

My Story Friend is beautifully written in free verse by poet Kalli Dakos. Her gentle and compelling storytelling will capture the hearts of readers of all ages. Kids will cheer for the boy when he finds the old woman who will let him unload his burden. When the old woman patiently listens, the boy gains some of his own insights about himself. Dream Chen’s textured illustrations are colorful and emotive and perfectly suit the boy’s journey.

Everyone has a story to tell, whether it is sad, joyful, or humorous. Everyone needs to have someone to listen. Dakos’s story encourages  children to listen with empathy and compassion when their friends and siblings need to talk. And it also encourages readers to seek out a trusting friend or tteacher if they want to share something that is troubling them. 

Favorite quote: “We talked all afternoon, and I learned that when we tell our stories over and over again to someone who listens with a big heart, then our stories become softer like butter melting in the sun, and if we are really lucky, the story tells us what to do.”

Resources: This is a perfect classroom book. Encourage children to write about their own lives. Sharing is up to them. But, pairing kids with a buddy might work well. It is also an excellent book for parents to use if they think their child is being bullied or is troubled about something. The book will guide discussions.

Kalli Dakos is a children’s poet and educator. She visits schools across the United States and Canada to encourage children and teacher to write about their own lives. She has written many collections of school poems that include six ILA?CBC Children’s Choice selections, such as If You’re Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand, and They Only See the Outside. She lives in Ottawa Canada, and has an office in Ogedensburg, NY.  Visit her Dakos at her website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by Magination Press in exchange for a review.