Silent Music is a beautiful book. Ali is a young boy living in Baghdad in 2003. He tells us how much he loves soccer and loud music, but what he really loves is Arabic calligraphy. The long sentences, the easy words and the hard words are all laid out magnificently, and his explanations of how it feels to draw the letters is excellent. The design of this book, the illustrations, the text are all just stunning. The book ends with the war in Iraq beginning and life changing for Ali. He tells us it’s easy to write the word “war,” but writing the word “peace” takes much more practice for him. The change in his lifestyle is subtle but definitely there, so it keeps the focus on the written Arabic language and not a heavy-handed political message. Very elegant and lyrical, a great title for a lesson on life in Iraq.