Newscasts around the world have been reporting the plight of refugees fleeing their homelands. These are touching stories of the dangers and challenges faced by families who are searching for a safe place to call home. As refugee families are being welcomed in Canada, there have also been many migrants arriving on the island of Lampedusa, Italy.
Winnipeg Public Library has been offered the unique opportunity to host the international travelling exhibit Silent Books: Final Destination Lampedusa. This collection of travelling books was created as a project by IBBY (International Board of Books for Young people), in response to the waves of refugees from Africa and the Middle East arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The idea was launched in 2013 and included establishing the first library in Lampedusa for the use of local and immigrant children. Over one hundred books from twenty three countries have been gathered for the exhibit. The exhibit has travelled to cities around the world in Italy, Mexico, Austria, and is now in Canada having stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Halifax and finally, Winnipeg.
Silent Books: Final Destination Lampedusa is motivated by IBBY’s belief that every child has the right to become a reader. In choosing to highlight wordless books as the seed collection for the this library, IBBY has assured that reading these books will be accessible to all of the children who use the library without the barriers of age, individual reading skills, or diversity in language and culture.
Reading and sharing wordless books is a first step to becoming a life-long reader. They tell a story using the universal language of images and art rather than words. Wordless books can help develop confident readers by developing comprehension skills, learning how to construct a story, analysing the picture, reading and understanding the messages that are woven into the pages and also in developing the imagination. Enjoying wordless books with your children can be an adventure that will soar as far as your imagination takes you.
The exhibit runs at Millennium Library in the Children’s and Teen area from February 9 to March 12.
Activities will run parallel to the exhibit where children can send a postcard to Lampedusa or create a wordless book of their own.
Here are some of my favorite wordless books that are available at WPL to share with you. You can see more at Goodreads
A little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays her little attention. Each flower becomes a gift, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter. This book is being given to arriving Syrian Refugee families.
In a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He’s embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life- he’s leaving home to build a better future for his family.
Chalk by Bill Thomson
Three children discover a magical bag of chalk on a rainy day.
A touching story about a little girl, a shiny bicycle, and the meaning of persistence—with an unexpected payoff.
While walking through the forest, Hank finds an egg on the forest floor. After spotting its nest high up in a tree, he uses his ingenuity to help get the egg home safe and sound, and is joyfully rewarded with newfound friends.
A dark attic. A light bulb. An imaginative little girl.
Flora and her graceful flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance. With a twist, a turn, and even a flop, these unlikely friends learn at last how to dance together in perfect harmony.
The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
A baby clown is separated from his family when he accidentally bounces off their circus train and lands in a lonely farmer’s vast, empty field. The farmer reluctantly rescues the little clown, and over the course of one day together, the two of them make some surprising discoveries about themselves—and about life!
Fox’s Garden by Princesse Camcam
One snowy night, a fox loses its way, entering a village. Chased away by the grown ups, Fox takes shelter in a greenhouse. A little boy sees this from his window. Without hesitating, he brings a basket of food to the greenhouse, where he leaves it for the fox. His gift is noticed and the night becomes a garden of new life, nourished by compassion and kindness.
Many thanks to the following for bring this exhibit to Winnipeg: