Silent 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 involved creating the first library on Lampedusa to be used by local and immigrant children,

The second part required creating a collection of silent books (wordless picture books) that could be understood and enjoyed by children regardless of language. These books were collected from IBBY National Sections, over one hundred books from over twenty countries. This set of books was deposited at the documentation and research archive in Rome (Palazzo della Esposizioni), a set delivered to the library in Lampedusa and a further set was part of a travelling exhibition.

There are, to date, five collections of Silent Books: the Silent Books Collection 2013 (110 books), the Silent Books Collection 2015 (51 books), the Silent Books Collection 2017 (79 books), the Silent Books Collection 2019 (67 books) and the Silent Books Collection 2021 (76 books). Within each collection there is a selection of Honour Books. Each of the earlier collections has toured as an exhibition at various venues in Italy and all over the world, as well as being displayed at the Bologna Book Fair and at the IBBY Congresses in New Zealand, Greece and Russia.

As part of this project, IBBY Italia has compiled 10 tips for reading silent books in a community that does not speak a common language, which can be seen here. IBBY Sweden has also produced a booklet giving ideas about how to use the Silent Books with children. The booklet, Silent books, a handbook on wordless picture books packed with narrative power, can be downloaded here.


Silent Books. Final Destination Lampedusa

Silent Books Collections and Exhibitions

IBBY Camps in Lampedusa

Silent Books. Books on Board