Readings With Many Voices

An open door on books without words
Readings With Many Voices is a scheme devoted to books without words, produced in conjunction with the Centro Astalli. The idea was developed during the two and more months of our exhibition space's enforced closure and of the cessation of all on-site activity caused by the health emergency. It is a way of not breaking off the work we have been doing with Italian schools for foreigners since 2017, involving the production of short videos allowing people to immerse themselves in Ibby Italia's silent book collection known as Books Without Words. Destination Lampedusa in the Palazzo delle Esposizioni's Art Bookshelf. The images, accompanied by a few sentences in Italian, English and Arabic, urge the viewer-reader to lend his or her own voice (or mark) to continue the tale and to thus build up a collection of unique new viewpoints.
Our choice fell on three mainstays of the genre selected for the quality and richness of their illustrations and for their narratives which are suitable for grown-ups and children alike, but also for the issues they address and for their points of contact with the situation of confinement and isolation that the COVID-19 emergency has enforced on all of our lives. Aaron Becker's "Viaggio" ["Journey"] (Feltrinelli Kids) urges readers to imagine an 'elsewhere' outside the door separating them from a monotonous, sepia-coloured daily reality; Maja Celija's "Chiuso per Ferie" ["Closed for the Holidays"] (Topipittori) allows readers to take a fresh look at the houses in which we are being forced to spend our days and to seek the company of unexpected inhabitants from the past; and lastly, David Wiesner's "Martedì" ["Tuesday"] (Orecchio Acerbo), with its style at once hyper-realistic and dreamlike, projects the reader into a future in which everything is possible.
We have also been using this page to share the moving testimonials we have received from students in the schools of Italian for foreigners run by the Centro Astalli and the Arci Solidarietà in Viterbo, alongside those from the boys and girls who accompany us with their voices on an imaginary journey around the world from Cameroon to Syria, from Lebanon to Mali and from Afghanistan to Niger and Peru, with the dream of an encounter with their countries of origin and their distant families – thus confirming that books without words can open up worlds, overcome language barriers and facilitate intercultural encounters by reaching across borders.








 LETTURE A PIÙ VOCI - Afghanistan