A step forward!

May 24th - 27th 2018, Assisi, Italy

When many people have the same dream,

it begins to become real and to create a new reality!

F. Huderwasser


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To think of Assisi as the backdrop of the Festival fills our hearts with pride and makes us see its beauty all over again. Squares, lanes, gardens...

Birba chi legge - Storytelling in Assisi

A Festival of Narration for children of all ages

May 24th - 27th 2018

Established in 2003, BiRBA is a not-for-profit cultural organization with its home-base in Assisi, dedicated to the creation of school libraries (virtually non-existent in Italy) and in general to inspiring and encouraging children of all ages to read, both in Assisi and throughout Italy. In the spring of 2018, and in collaboration with the city government of Assisi, BIRBA will launch, BIRBA chi Legge - The Wonderful Mischief of Reading, a Festival of Narration for children of all ages.

The Festival is dedicated to every possible form of narration: the reading, dramatizing, singing, dancing, illustrating and drawing of stories. Storytelling events will be held in every corner of the city - its medieval squares and castles, its Roman forum, its gardens and parks as well as along the lanes of Assisi themselves. Stories, fables and myths will come to life for children and become a part of their lives forever!

The theme of this year's Festival will be “A step forward!”

For four days, from May 24th to May 27th, children of all ages and their families, along with anyone else who love storytelling and narration will come together in Assisi to listen to stories, meet authors and illustrators, attend concerts, theatre and dance performances and discover the marvel that storytelling is in all its multiple expressions.

The local schools will be an active part of the Festival: Assisi's primary and middle students will attend Festival events at school, including workshops and performances given by the The Wonderful Mischief of Reading's writers and artists in residence. High school students at the local Musical Lyceum and Fine Arts Academy will give concerts and exhibit their artwork.

Birba chi Legge: The Wonderful Mischief of Reading will draw on the rich experiences of local cultural organizations and institutes dedicated to bringing stories and literature to children as well as bringing in well-known and innovative performers from all over Italy.
The Festival aims at excellence and at bringing books and stories to life not just for the children of Umbria (the State of Italy in which Assisi is located) or off Italy; Birba chi Legge: The Wonderful Mischief of Reading was conceived of as an international Festival for children and their families from all over the world.

In the months leading up to the Festival, talks, encounters, and workshops will be offered to anyone who wants to hone their storytelling skills and to learn more about the art of narration and children's literature in general, so as to be able subsequently to contribute to and play an active role in select Festival events.

In keeping with its slogan “A library in every school”, Birba is also setting up a national contest which will reward the best project for a school library to be submitted by parents from any Italian school district. The winning project will receive 1,000 € in books as well as free support and guidance from the Birba Organization.

The Festival will be covered nationally in the media and will be publicized through on the web and social networks as well as through traditional channels of communication.

Un passo avanti! tema dell'edizione Birba chi legge Assisi fa storie - Festival Assisi 24/27 maggio 2018

The theme of this year's Festival will be

A step forward!

For BIRBA, stories are A STEP FORWARD; they make bridges between past and future, between ourselves and others, and help us to cross them. Stories represent the geography of the possibile; they contribute to the creation of open minds which can pursue and find beauty and simplicity everywhere. Stories are the quiet teachers of children; they help students to approach and accept without prejudice a wide range of realities. They bring different points of view to life for children and help them to see what might otherwise be, for them, invisible. Imagination, awe, and wonder help children to step forward into a version of adulthood which is more complete; they help all of us, at any age, to become better people and better citizens of the world.

A step forward means marching into adulthood unafraid, with trust in the unknown which has become an essential part of the adventure of reading for children. It means having the courage to fight for one’s own ideals, as so many different and unique favourites characters have fought for theirs. It means a delighting in what is different and as a result a growing up with a broader awareness of oneself and others and an embracing of the new both in oneself and in one’s relation to others.

Birba chi legge, The Wonderful Mischief of Reading - A Festival of Narration is also a step forward for the little medieval city of Assisi; it is a step forward culturally, for it represents the important decision to affirm the value of reading and books, the journey of delight and discovery that they can be for all children. This is an important cultural first for Assisi. The Festival is the result of a fruitful collaboration among the schools, parents, cultural associations, city government and local institutions of Assisi, all united in their conviction that the sustenance of stories and literature is an essential part of every childhood.

With Birba chi legge, The Mischief of Reading - A Festival of Narration, Assisi becomes the ambassador of the value and importance of books and reading for children of all ages, and for all of us. And for BIRBA itself, the Festival is an important step forward in the realisation of its dream of creating a library in every public school, to foster in its turn the culture of books and the love of reading among children of all ages everywhere, across the social spectrum.

The Festival at a glance

"BiRBA chi legge - Stotytelling in Assisi"

“BiRBA chi legge” “The Wonderful Mischief of Reading”: a Festival of narration for children of all ages in Assisi, Italy.

A step forward!

From May 24h to May 27th, 2018.

From Thursday morning to Sunday evening (4 days).

Children of all ages from preschoolers to middle schoolers and their families, anyone who loves books and reading and storytelling, students at Assisi's nursery, primary, and middle schools.

- Plays, shadow theatre, puppet shows, itinerant theaters, dance performances, buskers and street performances. All day long, including matinees.
- Storytelling and itinerant storytelling throughout Assisi.
- Concerts of Medieval and Renassiance music.
- Guided tours of museums and archeological sites. 
- Storytelling workshops for adults.

- Events at local Assisi schools for Assisi's preschoolers, primary school students and middle school students.
- Hands-on lectures on festival events.
- Workshops with editors, authors and illustrators.

“Birba Chi Legge” or the Wonderful Michief of Reading will include several events, guided tours, and workshops in English, as well as in Italian.

The Festival will take place in the beautiful medieval city of Assisi, its squares, gardens, lanes, castle, woods and museums including the 1st century Roman Forum, the 12th century Rocca Maggiore (fortress), the Cathedral Museum and its 11th century Crypt of Saint Rufino (an underground maze of a place for children to explore), the Regina Margherita Park, and the Sacred Wood of St. Francis. Events will be held indoors and outdoors, in both public and private spaces.

Will be organized and curated by students of Academy of Fine Arts in Perugia and Scientifc Lyceum of Assisi.

Authors, Illustrators, Actors, Readers, Storytellers, Dancers, Musicians, Singers, Street artists, Art Counselors, Pietro Vanucci Academy of Fine Arts, Assisi Prince of Naples Scientific Lyceum

media partner umbria webcam assisi live streaming



Designed and planned by


In collaboration with




Under the auspices of Centro per il Libro e la Lettura

Festiva Birba Chi legge: Sotto gli auspici del Centro per il Libro e la Lettura

Associazione Culturale Birba Assisi (Pg) Umbria

Associazione culturale BiRBA
via Pennacchi 3
06081 Assisi (Pg)

Tel. +39 336 795 200