Monday, November 9, 2015

Book of The Month: Silent Music A Story of Baghdad

I am starting a new series of posts and it is about books that I read or read with my daughter, Alya. Alya is 6 and she is already quite interested in Arts. She is fascinated by calligraphy and Islamic geometric patterns. I picked up this book at our local library. Needless to say, I was immediately attracted to the cover. We were in a hurry so I did not read the synopsis as I always do before checking out books. Who wants to carry extra loads of book that are not quite meaningful? In fact, although the book was in the children section, I picked it for me. Little did I know that this book is about Ali who lives in Baghdad, a city in war and to my surprise, I am Ali.
The story of the book is compelling for any human being but especially for someone who was raised or lived in a war zone. I grew up in the Middle East which is your typical war zone. I survived 5 major wars and I only started to realize how that affected me only when I moved to the US because back in the ME, everybody was like me. Anyhow, I will not tell you the story of the book, you have to read it but I will tell you about the beautiful illustrations. Every page is a piece of art, every page moves you and makes you want to take a moment and absorb the beauty. The beauty of the art work and the words. 
I was so moved by this book that I contacted the author James Rumford and expressed my gratitude and attachment to this book. He came back with a touching reply. I decided to blog about this book because it is truly a life teaching moment. The author gave me permission to take pictures of the book and post them here. Please seek his permission first, if you wish to do so yourself.
The book is full of beautiful Islamic patterns and calligraphy.
I find this book very useful for parents who wish to explain a war situation their kids. To tell them that sometimes, even when bad things happen in your life, when people seem to decide your fate, you still can escape this through art, music or any form of beauty and creativity. 
The colors of the book are so attractive. The earth tone of Baghdad with the striking blue and purple. How you seek internal beauty in the midst of chaos.
James Rumford is the author of other equally beautiful books. I encourage you to check them at your local library or buy them. I already requested them from my local library and as soon as I will get them, I will savor every page.

Disclaimer: The author gave me permission to use pictures I took of the book for this post. I did not receive any money from him to write this post. This post was is my own idea and represents my own views and opinions.

James Rumford page: click here
James Rumford books: click here


  1. Wow! I'm going to buy this book for myself. I'm not sure I want to expose Rami to the ugly face of humanity, at least not yet.

  2. Thank you Shahla for your comment. It is very hard to explain to my daughter what living in a war zone is about, but just like Ali, I kept myself busy while hiding in a damp rotten basement for 30 days without seeing the sun light. I played cards with friends. I remember eating labne with a spoon and was worried that I will never eat it again, so I overate until I had a stomach ache. I feel that we have to explain to our children, within reason, that war is not a game on a computer, or a stain of red on a Halloween shirt. War is real, it destroys families, futures and countries. Alas, I wish I were the last generation of kids living in a war ones, but it turned out that I am of the lucky generation. What the children and their families are going through right is beyond anything I witnessed.