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, two collections of Silent Books. The Silent Books Collection 2013 comprises 110 books and has toured as an exhibition to Italy, Mexico, Canada, Austria, and Germany with further exhibitions planned in Belgium and France. The Silent Books Collection 2015, comprising 51 books, has been displayed in Italy and New Zealand.
IBBY Sweden has produced a booklet giving ideas about how to use the Silent Books with children. The booklet can be downloaded from here (PDF, 4.5MB)