Monday, January 22, 2007

The Sound of Colors: A Journey of the Imagination

Liao, Jimmy. 2006. THE SOUND OF COLORS: A JOURNEY OF THE IMAGINATION. Trans. by Sarah L. Thomson. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 0316939927 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]

In a book that is both lyrical and highly visual, Jimmy Liao explores the world through the senses of a young girl who has lost her sight. Emerging from a year at home in the darkness, she sets out on the subway in search of the light she has lost. Her white cane and dark glasses contrast sharply with the vividly illustrations. Each double-paged spread features minute details that will be pored over during each reading to find something new. Readers will enjoy the incongruity of what is on the subway, an elephant’s trunk reaching for an apple, sharks swimming past a train car filled with sea life, little red riding hood, the wolf and a dozen tin men from the Frank Baum’s THE WIZARD OF OZ sharing a train ride home. The little girl’s metaphorical journey, listening for the colors she cannot see, smelling the shapes, and tasting the light and dark, encourages young readers to embark on a true journey of the imagination.

This book could serve as a catalyst for discussion about blindness, or loss of other senses. Children could use blindfolds to simulate sightlessness, and “see” with their other senses. This could also serve as an example of metaphor to elementary readers focused on writing style.

Other books for children about using the imagination and seeing life from a different perspective:
Fu-Bin Liao. A CHANCE OF SUNSHINE. ISBN 156846133X
Muth, Jon. THE THREE QUESTIONS. ISBN 0439199964
Muth, Jon. ZEN SHORTS. ISBN 0439339111

By Tammy Korns

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