Noura Al Kaabi Inaugurates Third Edition of IBBY’s Silent Book Exhibition in Al Ain City

September 17, 2018 - 12:25 pm

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, has inaugurated the third edition of International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)’s Silent Book Exhibition today (Monday), at the Zayed Central Library, Al Ain City, which will be the travelling exhibition’s home in the UAE until October 18.


Organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and sponsored by Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi (DCT), the exhibition seeks to educate the country’s citizens and residents, especially children, about silent books and their role in enhancing creativity, visual literacy and critical thinking, and connecting people around the world.


The opening ceremony was attended by Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY, The opening ceremony was attended by Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY);  Abdulla Majid Al Ali, Acting Executive Director of Dar Al Kutub (the National Library Sector) at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi; Sheikha Al Muhairi, Director of the Libraries Department; Jumaa Al Dhahri, Manager of Zayed Central Library, in addition to a number of publishing experts and media representatives.


Eight first-edition homegrown Emirati titles part of the 82-title collection  


Eight local titles representing the first in the genre produced in the UAE have been selected by UAEBBY to join 74 more from 20 countries worldwide, including Spain, Australia, Jordan, Brazil, Denmark, Turkey, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, UK, USA, Japan, Italy, Belgium, France, Canada, Hungary, Argentina and Holland.


This collection of Emirati silent books is an outcome of a creative workshop the UAEBBY organised for Emirati children’s book illustrators and designers on the sidelines of the second edition it hosted last year, to further its efforts to stimulate the production of wordless picture books, locally.



A unique cultural message by the UAE


In bringing these unique titles to audiences in Al Ain, the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi aims to present a valuable opportunity to children, especially those who have reading difficulties or a lower access to books. The department also seeks to heighten people’s awarenesss about the silent books genre in the UAE; its contributions to increasing visual literacy, sparking imaginations, and transcending language or cultural barriers, whilst also highlighting the UAE’s contributions to the field.


Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Patron of the UAEBBY observed: “By organising the IBBY’s third Silent Book Exhibition here in the UAE, the UAEBBY seeks to strongly portray our national vision – one that is aimed at promoting creativity and knowledge in children and youth, and teach them about the central role of books in driving fundamental and positive transformation in society.”


“As the national section of the IBBY, the UAEBBY is continually promoting this wonderful genre of illustration-only books in the UAE and the region in line with the organisation’s key cultural aspirations. Silent books transcend language barriers to open new doors of cross-cultural understanding and appreciation, which swing wide. This inspirational quality offered by silent books is especially effective when used as an edutainment tool to develop competencies of refugee children, enhance their access to knowledge and their experiences of interacting with books in general.”  Sheikha Bodour added.



H.E. Al Kaabi praised the efforts of the UAEBBY to develop children’s talents and personalities by encouraging a love of reading and an appreciation of arts and cultural diversity.


Her Excellency highlighted that the Silent Book Exhibiton contributes to stimulating creativity and unleashing the imagination of both children and adults by delivering the message of art in a unique and innovative way.  She pointed out that the human values and aesthetic images present in visual arts reflect artists’ feelings and ideas and allow more space for audience imagination. Art is a universal language that everyone can understands, regardless of their language or culture.


HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “By hosting the 3rd Silent Book Exhibition, we demonstrate DCT Abu Dhabi’s commitment to cultural enhancement. Additionally, by offering these books to those children with reading difficulties, the exhibition raises public awareness across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain regarding this rich art form, empowering readers to use the power of their imagination to create their own texts by drawing on featured images and drawings.”


“We are proud to see the publications of Emirati writers in this exhibition, highlighting the contributions of the UAE in this field,” Ghobash added.


About the Silent Book Exhibition


The Silent Books project started out as an initiative by the International Board on Books for young People (IBBY), themed ‘Silent Books, from the world to Lampedusa and back,’ in 2012 in Lampedusa, the largest Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. It aims to comfort thousands of young refugees who were coming into Europe from Africa and the Middle East. The project included the establishment of the first library in Lampedusa to be used by local and refugee children.


The second part of the project included the creation of a collection of silent books (illustration-only or wordless books) that children can understand and enjoy regardless of their language.


The ‘Silent books. Final destination Lampedusa’ – promoted by the Italian section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) – collected the best wordless books for children. This collection included illustrated wordless books to tell stories that words can not express. They are full of emotions, dreams and memories stemming from the silence of their characters. Silent books transcend the barriers of language and bring people from different cultures together.


This collection of books are maintained in the archives of the exhibition hall, the Cultural Center and the Italian Museum (Palazzo della Esposizioni). A second set of books was handed over to the library in Lampedusa and another set was part of a traveling exhibition.


So far, there are three sets of silent books, the 2013 silent book collection of 110 books travelled across Italy, Mexico, Canada, Austria and Germany, with plans for other exhibitions in Belgium and France. The 2015 silent book collection included 51 books, It was introduced in Italy, New Zealand and United Arab Emirates.


The third collection, themed ‘The traveling exhibition of the silent book collection of 2017’ was launched in Lampedusa. It took up residence in Greece before making an onward journey to the UAE.