Have you ever noticed that wordless books can be more challenging to “read” than other picture books? The pictures tell a complete story, but you (or your kids) have to come up with words to express it.
Wordless books are a fantastic resource to help your kids develop their own descriptive and story telling skills! Have your kids tell the story to you. Ask lots of questions!
Here are a few of our favorite wordless books to get you started.
Flotsam by David Wiesner–Wiesner is the author of multiple, wonderful wordless books, but Flotsam is my favorite. It’s the imaginative tale of a boy who finds an old film camera on the beach and can’t believe his eyes when he has the film developed. Each picture could be its own story. Don’t miss this book!
Red Sled by Lita Judge–Ok, maybe this isn’t really a wordless book. It does contain sound effects and onomatopoeia, but the story is completely told in the pictures. Some animals borrow a sled on a winter’s night, and the sled’s owner is left to wonder about their tracks in the morning. Well, maybe she does more than just wonder!
Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley–Hank finds an egg and tries everything to get it back in its nest. When he can’t, he spends the night in the woods to keep the egg safe. When the mother bird returns, he bundles the egg into a package that she can take to her nest. The eggs hatch, and Hank has four new friends.
Journey by Aaron Becker–A lonely girl finds a red crayon with powers similar to those in Harold and the Purple Crayon. She journeys into an amazing world. When she returns home, she finally finds a friend. Quest is the sequel in this planned trilogy. The boy and girl venture on a quest together to find all the colors of the rainbow and rescue a king. I can’t wait to see how the series concludes! Make sure to give your kids plenty of time to explore the details of each page.
Float by Daniel Miyares is the story of a boy who ventures outdoors to sail his newspaper boat in the puddles. He has some fun, but eventually his boat has a mishap and is ruined. His day might be ruined too, but dad saves the day by drying off his son and showing him what else can be made with newspaper: a paper airplane. I love that the front and back inner covers show step by step how to make your own paper boat or plane.
Pool by JiHyeon Lee is the story of a shy boy at a pool. A noisy crowd rushes by him (it’s amazing how noisy they look without words!). When he finally dives under, he notices a girl, shy like himself. Together they explore a fantastical imaginary world and become friends. A great thing to point out to your kids is that wordless books like this one transcend language and culture. The author is from South Korea, but she has no trouble communicating her story to speakers of any language with only pictures.
A wordless book for older kids:
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg is a collection of fascinating drawings. Each has a title and a first line, but the story is up to your child. This book would be great to use as a family storytelling game or creative writing time.
What are your favorite wordless books? I’d love to hear about them!