Two wonderful, wonder-filled sessions with wordless picture books in County Clare this week. Syrian children brought their parents along to explore Clare Libraries’ set of Silent Books from around the world (based on the IBBY collection, (see We started by using props to create a group story where humans turned into cats, jumped into books and were chased through the pages by dogs.

Each child then chose a silent book and explained why the cover jumped out at them. With their parents, whose English was more limited, they ‘read’ the picture books in a mixture of Arabic and English. Through questions and wonderings, everyone entered into the stories and beyond, imagining the prequels and sequels or taking leads from the illustrations to weave new threads.

Children then volunteered to sit on the ‘flying carpet’ in the middle of the group and tell the story to everyone. They drew pictures inspired by the books and the conversations around them.

A brilliant reminder of the unique comfort, delight and intimacy that a book unclogged by words can bring.