...Sonam and the Silence (Allen & Unwin) by the Australian broadcaster and musician Eddie Ayres is a vivid, lyrical story with the heightened feel of a fable. In Taliban-ruled Kabul, young Sonam has no time for anything but work and compliance with the regime – until she hears the beautiful sound of an old man playing a rubab. But music is forbidden, and Sonam must defy her family’s fears to pursue it. Ronak Taher’s mixed-media images combine sombre greys and threatening darkness with flashes of bright, rebellious colour, such as a single pomegranate lingering on a tree.
...this beautifully illustrated story is one of hope, resilience and the special power of music. It will connect children with others who live in very different places and emphasises what we all have in common...Ronak Taher’s illustrations are striking – mixed media collages that use colour and startling compositions to create mood and a sense of the unfolding story...The final page returns to the pinks, ruby reds and purples of the garden to leave readers with a sense of peace and hope for Sonam and for us all.