What is your favourite sound? This is the very question that Yoshio asks the musician in the street who is playing her koto. The answer he receives is most surprising and is a sound that he has never heard in his life.
Yoshio lives in Tokyo. The streets are full of sounds and on his daily walk to school his ears are filled with a cacophony of noise. Yoshio loves listening to all of the different sounds but there is one sound he hasn’t heard and he has been told that it is the most beautiful sound of all, the sound of silence…
This is a wonderful picture book around the Japanese concept of ‘ma’ or the silence between sounds. The book explores what ‘ma’ means and how it is actually all around you if you listen hard enough. Japanese culture bursts off the pages in the bight and colourful illustrations - koto, markets, bullet trains, bamboo, chopsticks, Uniqlo store - and I could feel myself walking the streets of Tokyo absorbing all the sights and sounds.
The importance of mindfulness and taking the time to just be with yourself has seen much more prominence in recent times. In a busy and noisy world we could all do with taking the time to search out ‘ma’.
Recommended for 8+.