Silent books speak volumes on hope

Shaikha Budoor tours unique exhibition of wordless picture books

Staff Report
17:21 September 9, 2017

Sharjah: The Silent Book Exhibition in Sharjah is featuring wordless picture books for children, especially refugees, to inspire hope and determination in them.

During a visit to the exhibition, Shaikha Budoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, founder and patron of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), stressed the need to provide all kinds of sources of knowledge to children, specially refugees, to overcome challenges they face and give them hope for a better future.

The exhibition is organised by the UAEBBY and hosted by Sharjah Art Foundation at the Flying Saucer till September 30.

Brought to the UAE and the wider Arab region for the first time, the exhibition focuses on how wordless picture books can be enjoyed and appreciated by children, and young refugees in particular, regardless of language.

The exhibition, which opened on August 1, focuses on the power of silent books and their ability to convey ideas and meanings visually. It also brings to the fore the role of these books in promoting visual literacy — in improving the users’ ability to interpret, negotiate and make meaning from a narrative presented in image form.

The eight-week event is showcasing 54 wordless books from 20 countries.

Shaikha Budoor toured the exhibition viewing the books on display and expressed her appreciation for contributions made by publishers around the world in developing the silent books genre.

She said: “We are pleased to have brought the Silent Book Exhibition to the UAE and Arab world for the first time. This event is a brilliant platform for reinforcing the important role these books have in personal development and in facilitating human communication. Silent books are a powerful tool that can be used to inspire refugee children to explore the world through beautiful illustrations — ones that bear values and principles essential to encourage them to comprehend their reality and increase their confidence in their futures.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, president of the UAEBBY, said: “The content in the books displayed is deeply meaningful. I was moved to see how every story in these books have been painstakingly crafted to put a smile on the faces of children in need of emotional support. These books are a glorious escape that takes them on a journey away from their painful memories into a brighter and more optimistic world,”

The exhibition also features workshops by various authors and illustrators who are helping children understand the themes of the books.

Informative tours will be organised as part of the exhibition to help visitors gain insights into the messages that silent books seek to convey to readers.