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The Department of Culture and Tourism and the UAE Board on Books for Young People conclude the 3rd Silent Book Exhibition

November 7, 2018
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The Department of Culture and Tourism and the UAE Board on Books for Young People conclude the 3rd Silent Book Exhibition

The 3rd edition of the Silent Book Exhibition, held at Al Ain’s Zayed Central Library under the theme ‘Stories Beyond Words!’, has come to an end after running for a whole month.

Aiming to help refugee children transcend the language barrier, the exhibition is organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), the UAE-based branch of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).

The event took its visitors on an expedition across a world beyond words, offering 82 wordless picture book from 21 different countries selected by the IBBY branches.

This year’s edition featured the first Emirati silent books amounting to 8 titles published in the UAE as part of the UAEBBY’s efforts to nurture local talents specialising in children’s literature and harness their creativity, empowering them to create visual narratives to which readers across the world can relate regardless of their language and reading abilities.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY, said: “We were excited to see the 3rd edition of the Silent Book Exhibition achieve such incredible success, as it aims to introduce the UAE community to this unique genre, which allows children to explore stories that help stretch their imaginations beyond language through expressive illustrations.

“The exhibition also highlights silent books that use the universal language of images, directing publishers’ attention to the role they play in promoting visual literacy and growing children’s imaginative abilities. Striving to develop the talents of UAE-based artists, we hosted a workshop on creating silent books to encourage these artists to produce picture books that may bring joy to children worldwide.”

Abdullah Majed Al Ali, Acting Executive Director of DCT Abu Dhabi’s Dar Al Kutub (National Library Sector), said: “Our contributions in organising this special event is part of our ongoing commitment to highlight visual narratives and their role in spreading meaningful messages through illustrations that appeal to children despite their age, nationality or literary abilities.

“Featuring illustrations, colours and unwritten stories, silent books encompass three important artistic elements, which together express wisdoms without using words. We are very pleased to have played a part in the success of such a progressive event.”

Underlining silent books as advocators compassion and tolerance, the 3rd edition of the exhibition featured a series of workshops presented by professional illustrators and authors, towards elevating children’s cognitive abilities and teaching them about the process of producing picture books.

In response to the waves of refugees from Africa and the Middle East arriving in the Italian island, Lampedusa, IBBY launched the project “Silent Books, from the world to Lampedusa and back” in 2012. The project aimed to provide the local and refugee children of Lampedusa with a collection of easily-understood wordless picture books that children can enjoy regardless of language.

Over the period following its launch, the project saw great success, evolving into a travelling exhibition held annually in one of the world’s major cities to highlight the power of images and illustrations in teaching young readers about human values and concepts. In 2015, Rome hosted the 1st edition of the exhibition.

Silent books contribute to promoting visual literacy, a modern-day trend, seen across the education sector. Teachers, educators, museum and exhibition specialists and film directors from around the world advocate this trend as a key element for fostering creativity, innovation, empathy and critical thinking, as well as improving academic achievement.

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