I am a huge fan of the wordless picture book – there is something quite intriguing about a story with no words. Over the years we have collected quite a few and read dozens from the library. Check our list of favourites below.
Wordless Picture books do have a reputation for being books for non-readers. In my time in the classroom, I had many children tell me they could read so why choose a book with no words. Yes, there are no words, but I see these stories as harder to comprehend than stories with words.
My children have been brought up with wordless stories and they sit pride of place on our bookshelves with our other favourite picture books too. We call them —
think about it books
By discussing pictures with no words children and adults are free to use their own words to tell the story. To truly comprehend what’s going on the reader has to immerse themselves in the visual to completely understand. Wordless stories ask so many questions without words. They are a great teaching tool and here’s why —
- They let the reader retell the story in their own words and at their own level. Whether you have a child with an emerging vocabulary or a teenager with thousands of words hopefully up their sleeve, these books can be used by all to develop language skills and vocabulary through discussion.
- Encourage imagination, creativity and critical thinking skills
- Develop observational skills
- Deepen comprehension skills
- The illustrations can be a great prompt to develop own story writing skills
Here is our list of wordless wonders in no order – they all have so much to give!
Zoom by Istvan Banyai
I found this book as a student on teaching practice and have loved it ever since. The books recreate the effect of a camera lens zooming out. A great take on viewpoint and perspective. There is also an equally wonderful sequel called Re-zoom.
Midsummer Knight by Gregory Rogers
This is the second adventure in the series. The first adventure is called The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard and it is equally good. A funny tales set in days of old, the Bear has come back as a soldier full of courage and rescues a king and queen. Drawn like a graphic novel this is a great fairy story and as it is wordless it is great for discussing story features and developing storytelling skills.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
An eternal classic that we re-read every year. The pictures are completely magical and touch the heart. A beautiful story that is a feel good at Christmastime story and on the other hand, a tale all about morality and the fact that everything must come to an end.
Wave by Suzy Lee
Wave is the most glorious tale of a little girl’s day at the beach. A book full of wonderment and childhood simplicity. The spine of the book acts as the barrier the little girl faces when thinking about jumping in the waves. The joy of wave jumping and yet the trepidation of falling over, getting wet, cold and being bashed by a wave comes through perfectly in pictures.
Flotsam by David Wiesner
A book about a boy who finds a camera at the beach. Such a thought-provoking and intriguing story as the boy wonders if it holds any secrets? The beautiful pictures are a graphic message in a bottle. Such a great story for discussions and to develop imaginations.
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
The story is told through the eye of the flashlight. This book cleverly deploys colour, shown by the flashlight beam, whilst the rest of the page is virtually black. A book full of curiosity and wonderment as a little boy sneaks out of his tent to experience the nighttime world. What will he find?
Bee and Me
This was a great find at our local library recently. Alluring hazy illustrations reveal an emerging friendship between a bee and a little girl and through their eyes, we see how simple actions can help save our environment and keep the world a beautiful place. Even though this is a work of fiction, it highlights beautifully the unfortunate situation we now find ourselves in with a declining population of bees, lack of woodland areas and implications for the future of our planet.
Mirror by Jeannie Baker
This is a virtually wordless story. There is a paragraph at the beginning to explain the book and further signs in the books have words such as hardware store. I love the idea of this book. It opens up as 2 individual books designed to be read simultaneously. One that follows the lives of 2 families throughout the day one from Sydney, Australia and one from a village in Morrocco, North Africa. A beautiful look at how alike families are even when living in completely different places.
Pool by Jihyeon Lee
This book left us all speechless, it is a masterpiece and probably has the best illustrations I have ever seen —mainly pencil with hints of colour. The story is brimming with wonderment and curiosity of a shy boy who is at a public pool and is stood thoughtfully on the side wondering whether or not he should jump in. The illustrations in their magnificent way show the noise, the squeals and the other rowdy kids at the pool. What will he find if he takes the plunge?
Happy Reading xx