Silent Books on Finnish soil

Marianna Koljonen

Silent Books collection arrived in Finland for its two-month-long stay. The collection was put on show in three separate libraries in Helsinki before leaving to the Ukraine. IBBY Finland was keen to bring the collection to Finland because the refugee situation behind the original Silent Books project by IBBY Italy is of current interest in Finland. Even though the number of asylum seekers in Finland is relatively low, there is a great need for books that all children regardless of language can read.

IBBY Finland also wanted to promote wordless picture books for they are very rare in Finland.

Writer Katri Tapola, IBBY Finland’s President Noora Miettinen and board member Sara Nordlund-Laurent opening the exhibition.

Together with The Finnish Illustration Association, IBBY Finland launched the exhibition early in March. At the launch Illustrator Emmi Jormalainen and writer and illustrator Sanna Pelliccioni discussed their wordless picture books. Jormalainen has already published several wordless picture books, however they are not specifically aimed at children. Her book Puu (’Tree’) is part of the Silent Books collection. Pelliccioni’s recently published Meidän piti lähteä (which roughly translates into ‘We had to leave’) is her first wordless book. Pelliccioni got her inspiration from an IBBY Italy’s leaflet concerning the Silent Books project. Meidän piti lähteä is a story about war and fleeing from home, children at a refugee camp and, finally, a happy end in a new and safe home. Pelliccioni found that wordlessness suited the topic of her book since it also leaves the reader speechless.

Silent Books exhibition has received a very good response and a lot of interest from librarians, writers, illustrators as well as from the public.

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