Shh, there’s a silent book exhibition coming to Sharjah next month

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54 wordless picture books from 18 countries will be on display

A different kind of library is due to open its doors in Sharjah next month, one focusing exclusively on wordless books.

Opening on 1 August at the Flying Saucer exhibition space in Sharjah, the eight-week Silent Book exhibition is hosted by the Sharjah Art Foundation and will display 54 wordless picture books from 18 countries – three of which come from the Arab region.

The exhibition was initially launched in Rome in 2015 by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and is being brought to the UAE courtesy of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY).


The exhibition will be held at the iconic ‘Flying Saucer’ building in Sharjah

Originally started as a project by IBBY aimed to provide refugee children on the island of Lampedusa with a collection picture books that they would be able to enjoy and understand regardless of language, the Silent Book exhibition now tours internationally to raise awareness on the importance of communication outside of spoken and written languages.

Marwa Al Aqroubi President of the UAEBBY, said: “The language of pictures is universal, and can be more powerful in its communicative abilities than spoken language or the written word. We have seen how wordless books in the Silent Book Collection have been presenting young refugees with the most fascinating opportunities to share experiences with each other, get educated, have fun and alleviate the emotional and psychological stress they underwent during their trip.”

The collection spans books from five continents and is designed to provide a sweeping overview on the world of wordless book publishing, not just to children, but also artists, designers, illustrators and publishers.

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Images: Getty