Posted on January 15, 2019

It is often said that every picture tells a story, and for young children, picture books open up a world of colorful adventures. Exposing young readers to picture books at an early age helps them develop essential building blocks for future learning, including critical thinking skills, imagination and a love of reading.

Children’s books are also a window into the cultures that create them, highlighting each one’s unique artistic and storytelling traditions while imparting universal lessons about life. Qatar National Library’s “The World Through Picture Books” exhibition celebrates these differences and commonalities with 387 children’s books in 26 languages from 45 countries, helping young readers learn about the values, traditions and challenges of people around the globe. The titles displayed at the exhibition, held for the first time in the Middle East in partnership with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), were chosen by librarians from the represented countries and regions. As such, they celebrate the importance of children’s books in developing literacy at an early age, impart cultural and linguistic identity, and promote diversity of ideas.

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Featuring richly illustrated tales about Madagascar’s folklore and unique ecosystem, the forests, rivers and villages of Serbia, the lively traditional music and dances of Nigeria, India’s rich identity and traditions, Finland’s artistic and cultural diversity, Australia’s exotic animals, and Qatar’s remarkable heritage, each picture book has something for everyone to read and relate to. “When you are in the exhibition, it is like being in a mini-United Nations of the world’s collective imagination. All the books are in their original language, and the stories and illustrations express the cultures they come from in ways children can relate to,” says Maram Al Mahmoud, Senior Information Services Librarian at the Library.

Hind Al Khulaifi, Manager of Children’s and Young Adults’ Library at the Library, says: “The exhibition perfectly reflects the needs of Qatar’s multinational population and community. This unique collaboration with IFLA has immensely delighted families and children who have visited the exhibition and were able to enjoy the most popular picture books from their home country in their home language.”

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Students from various schools across Qatar have already visited the exhibition as part of their Library tours. Children can take part in story puzzles, memory games and other engaging activities to help with their reading comprehension. “I learned a lot here at the exhibition by reading the books and taking part in the games. I read interesting stories from Qatar, Mali and Togo. Although I didn’t understand the language of some of these books, the pictures were enough to tell me about children in these countries,” said Mariam Mohamed, a visitor to the exhibition.

The exhibition is open to the public during the Library’s opening hours until 31 January 2019.