Silent Music: 05/03/12
Silent Music by James Rumford tells the story of Ali who lives in Baghdad, loves loud music and soccer. When the bombings get too scary, he turns to the art of calligraphy, the "silent music" for comfort. His art is inspired by the words of master calligrapher Yakat who lived and worked 800 years ago.
Accompanying the text are intricate illustrations that weave together Ali's calligraphy with pictures from his life and that of Yakat's. It's done in a style evocative of Arabic mosaics. They appear to be multimedia collages but were apparently done in pencil and finished on the computer.
Although it's a picture book, it would best be suited for upper elementary grades. Besides the history and language lessons of Arabic script, the book covers the invasion and bombing of Baghdad. The book could be used in tandem with a social studies or history unit.
Before using the book in class, read the Blogs Burt Lit post. It has an in depth analysis of the book in terms of language, themes, and historical context.