Guest Lecture –
“Exploring Silent Books: Using Wordless Picture Books in the Classroom”,
Dr Áine McGillicuddy (Dublin City University), 23 Mar 2023 @ 9am in MIC (Room S103)

In 2012 the Italian branch of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY*) established a library on Lampedusa Island, Italy for the use of local children but also for the many refugee children arriving there from Africa and the Middle East. The challenge was to find books to appeal to children of different ages and from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds – books that could provide some respite for children traumatised by displacement and conflict. Wordless picture books were identified as an ideal genre, given they can be enjoyed by children of all ages without the restriction of language barriers. The Lampedusa Library initiative led to the creation of a collection of wordless picture books, comprising more than a hundred titles, donated from over twenty countries. One set of this collection remains in Lampedusa while another has evolved into a travelling exhibition, the “Silent Books Project”. Since 2013 this exhibition has toured many countries with the aim of inviting readers, young and old, and from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, to engage with these wordless picture books in diverse ways. The lecture will provide an introduction to IBBY* and its Silent Books project, and discuss responses by different groups of readers. Questions  arising may include how picture books with and without text challenge young readers narratively but also enable them to attain agency through the silent power of pictures.

All welcome!

The lecture will be followed by an interactive workshop for undergraduate students participating in FR4768/GE4788.

Dr Áine McGillicuddy (B.A., M.A., Ph.D) is Assistant Professor in the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (SALIS) where she lectures in Children’s and YA Literature Studies.  She is co-editor of Politics and Ideology in Children’s Literature and has authored articles and book chapters on topics ranging from Alsatian Expressionist writer René Schickele (1883-1940), child exiles from the Nazi era to picturebooks engaging with migration in contemporary contexts. She was a long-standing executive committee member of the Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature (ISSCL) and Vice-President / President of the Irish branch of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) as well as a board member of the Irish Humanities Alliance from December 2017-2020. She is a member of DCU’s Centre for Translation and Textual Studies (CTTS), was the CTTS Director from January 2017-August 2020, and a member of the DCU research team for the EU co-funded Creative Europe project G-Book 2: European teens as readers and creators (2020-2022).

If you are interested in a recording of the lecture, please contact