Silent BooksBook Arsenal

Silent Books

Supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine

It all began in Lampedusa, an island in southern Italy where many refugees have been arriving after long and hazardous boat journeys across the Mediterranean Sea. The people coming here carried with them fear, anxiety, grief and longing. The situation created the conditions for a new means of refugee reception.

In 2012, IBBY Italy launched a project called: “Silent Books: from the world to Lampedusa and back”. The project focused on a collection of wordless picture books, on the understanding that the inherent narrative power of the images could bridge cultural and linguistic barriers. Everyone could share in the same story, no matter where they came from or what language they spoke.

It soon became clear that the books and the stories gave comfort and security, an opportunity to disappear into a story and escape the difficulties of life for a moment. This was a place where people could share worlds and experiences with each other. The books provided a fast route into the new language, and sparked a desire to read.

This year, a unique collection of “Silent Books” 2015 by IBBY will be presented at the Book Arsenal Festival with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine. These are 51 books from IBBY National Sections from about twenty countries. The IBBY expert, a senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow, the leading children’s literature and reading specialist Evelyn Arizpe from Scotland will arrive to introduce the collection and its history, as well as to share new models of storytelling to a wide audience of readers, authors and illustrators, publishers, educators and librarians (guest visit is supported by the Embassy of Great Britain in Ukraine).