The Kid Should See This

The Sound of Silence read by Simu Liu

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Birds chirping in the morning. The rain falling gently on the roof. An ice cream truck’s music as it comes down the street. A loved one’s laughter. The purr of a cat. A favorite song. There are so many incredible sounds in the world to notice and appreciate.

β€œDo you have a favorite sound?” young Yoshio asks a musician as they talk in the bustling city streets. She responds:

β€œThe most beautiful sound is the sound of ma, of silence.”

Yoshio and the koto player
In a huge, bustling, noisy city like Tokyo, it seems pretty hard to find silence, but Yoshio decides to try and find it in The Sound of Silence, a picture book written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo.

Actor Simu Liu reads this gem of a children’s book in this Storyline Online video, one in a series of their picture book read aloud videos.

busy city
Storyline Online is the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s children’s literacy program, in which actors read stories aloud. At the end of the story, Liu concludes:

“It’s really amazing that this story really highlights the importance of stopping and listening and really taking a moment to reflect. Because when we’re listening in a moment of silence, I feel like we are in moments of reflection. And in these moments of reflection, we discover things about ourselves; we listen to the world around us.

“I think this book is really teaching us to keep our ears open and to just take in every single sound, including the sound of nothing. And I think that’s really, really profound and really important. Silence is the perfect environment through which we can learn. Through which we read.

“And in this world, where everything, everywhere is happening all at the same time, and there’s so much to do, it’s really important not to forget about the importance of silence.”

TEACHING RESOURCES
β€’Β The Sound of Silence Teacher Activity Guide, a .pdf from Storyline Online.
β€’Β The Japanese Concept of Ma from Unique Japan.
β€’Β The Sound of Silence Resources, a comprehensive collection of resources from Teaching Books for Schools.

Enjoy these videos next:
β€’ Now, a picture book by Antionette Portis
β€’ The Day You Begin read by author Jacqueline Woodson
β€’Β β€œMeditation is all about practice,” two animal-themed animations for all ages
β€’Β Focus Rhyme, a Monster Meditation with Grover and Headspace
β€’Β The Importance of Staring Out Of The Window
β€’Β The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry, animated.

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