Italy-UAE: bond stronger in the world of children's books

Italy-UAE: bond stronger in the world of children's books
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 Marcella Terrusi, rappresentante dell'Ibby Italia

Sharjah - The UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and the Italian Board on Books for Young People (IBBY Italy), the guest of honour of the ongoing Sharjah Children Reading Festival (SCRF), are furthering efforts to enrich the local literary and cultural landscape through international exchange with national sections of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) around the world, Khaleej Times says.
Speaking during a discussion held as part of the children reading festival Dr Marcella Terrusi, representative of the IBBY Italy, and award-winning author of the first international critique on silent books and researcher on 'silent' or wordless books and children's literature said that the introduction of IBBY Italy in the UAE is the start of a new era of cultural collaboration between the two nations. "We have a lot of work to do together. To me this story is an endless story; it is a story of hope. The central idea of IBBY Italy is to build bridges between cultures, a goal we share with the UAEBBY, to build tools and exchange stories in order to build a new world. Being the guest of honour in Sharjah is historic for us." Highlighting the importance of illustrations in children's books, irrespective of the era they were written in, children's book expert Grazia Gotti said: "I would like to mention the Adventures of Pinocchio, which wasn't a literary novel but just a tale in a children's magazine. It took Italy time to realise that it was seeing a masterpiece in the making. There was no king or queen, just a wooden doll with a long nose. His iconic illustrations depict the passage of time, technological developments, the transformation of images from black and white to colour, and so on. In essence, what I am saying is, the language of images is as old and culturally important as the written novel itself."
Alia Al Shamsi Emirati author and illustrator, said that she was brought up in a multicultural environment from an early age and it was her mother of Italian origin who gave her a copy of Pinocchio to read in Arabic. "We see silent books as a bridge between cultures as they encourage every child to celebrate their individual interpretation and tell the stories as they see them. Currently, we are working on stories that have their basis in the Arabic heritage and at the same time appeal to young sensibilities. I thank the UAEBBY for all their efforts. I hope they will be able to contribute more effectively to the landscape of the silent books locally and regionally by encouraging more authors and illustrators to create content in this genre of literature."