Silent Books Intrigue Young Readers at Education Centre
By ROB FAULKNER
Eujenaé and Autumn chose their book Il Mare (“The Sea” in Italian) because of the cat on the cover. They both like cats though, Autumn adds, her cat “is getting a little old.”
But they had a question when they opened the book: “Why are there no words?”
It was because the Grade 3 Pauline Johnson students were fortunate enough to visit the travelling Silent Book Exhibit in the Education Centre. The international exhibit is a collection of wordless picture books from around the word – and it began for an interesting reason.
In 2012, the non-profit group International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) launched the project in response to the waves of refugees from Africa and the Middle East arriving on the Italian island Lampedusa. This created the island’s first library used by local and immigrant children – and allowed every child to enjoy books regardless of language.
After collecting more than 100 silent books from 20 countries, one set of books stayed on the island, one went to Rome’s Palazzo della Esposizioni and one is travelling the world to develop awareness of the power of shared books to build understanding.
HWDSB System Learning Commons Supervisor Donna Millard explained that the Board was chosen thanks to its relationship with Hamilton Public Library – and its great exhibition space in the Education Centre. The books are also visiting select HPL branches.
During the Grade 3 class visit, teacher Alyssa Guidotto and learning resource teacher Marj Howden had students select two books to report on; they could also write postcards that will be sent to Lampedusa, Italy.
“I think it’s cool,” Eujenaé says of the silent collection.
Books missing information reminds Autumn of a previous teacher who would read books to the class but not show its pictures. Students had to imagine what was happening.
That’s what happened after Pauline Johnson’s students browsed the 111 silent books. They chose one because they liked the animal, cars or trains on the cover. They sat beside a friend. They opened the pages and ‘read’ the illustrations.
And they were limited only by their young imaginations.
Enjoy some photos from their visit.