Review: Sonam and the Silence

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations


Book Title: Sonam and the Silence (Available here)

Author: Eddie Ayres

Illustrator: Ronak Taher

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Publication Date: October 2018

Reviewed By: Kristen Hopwood, Year 3 Teacher


Sonam and the Silence is set in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan during a time when music was banned in the country.


The book tells the story of Sonam, a 7-year old girl who sells chewing gum in Kabul. She discovers music for the first time and uses it as a way to cope with the other, more frightening noises of the city. She meets an old man who gives her an instrument called a rubab. Sonam’s older brother finds out and forbids her to play, taking the instrument away from her. This book is a sensitively-told tale of a child focusing on something positive in an otherwise negative and controlling environment.


The illustrations in the book are magical with interesting use of colour. They really bring the words to life and I spot new details every time I look through the book.


Sonam and the Silence doesn’t deal directly with war, but more the idea of control and something being forbidden. There would be so much to discuss as a result of reading this book with almost any age group, but particularly what it means for something to be forbidden. How would the children feel if they weren’t allowed to do something they enjoy anymore?



It is an important story to tell and one that we can all learn from, no matter how old we are.


Curriculum links: PHSE, literacy, music, art.



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You can order Sonam and the Silence online or from your local bookshop or library.



Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Kristen for reviewing it.

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, BooksForTopics earns from qualifying purchases.  Click here to learn more. 

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