I first came across wordless picture books several years ago while working as an ESL teacher. I was looking for ways to add variety to my students’ writing exercises, and stumbled across Shaun Tan’s beautiful, brilliant wordless picture book (and all-around work of art) The Arrival.
Wordless picture books come in a wide range of styles and formats, and there are titles perfect for just about all audiences. While I might not use these texts in my story times, I don’t hesitate to recommend them to patrons, as they can encourage children’s expressions of creativity and imagination. Working through a wordless picture book together is a wonderful experience for children and caregivers, and the level of detail in many of these texts allows for repeat re-tellings and new interpretations. For educators, wordless picture books can lend themselves to exciting writing assignments, and can be used individually or in group settings, as children work together to analyze the images and collectively decide on a logical (at least to the readers….) series of events.
Flora and the Penguin / Molly Schaar Idle
In this wordless, lift-the-flap picture book, Flora and her new friend, the penguin, dance on the ice together and learn to treat each other with respect and kindness. In this wordless, lift-the-flap picture book, Flora and her new friend, the penguin, dance on the ice together and learn to treat each other with respect and kindness.
Mr. Wuffles / David Wiesner
Mr. Wuffles ignores all his cat toys but one, which turns out to be a spaceship piloted by small green aliens. When Mr. Wuffles plays rough with the little ship, the aliens must venture into the cat’s territory to make emergency repairs.
Journey / Aaron Becker
Using a red marker, a young girl draws a door on her bedroom wall and through it enters another world where she experiences many adventures, including being captured by an evil emperor.
A Ball for Daisy / Chris Raschka
A wordless picture book showing the fun a dog has with her ball, and what happens when it is lost.
Wave / Suzy Lee
A wordless picture book that shows a little girl’s first experiences at the beach, as she goes from being afraid of the roaring waves to playing on the shore while gulls soar overhead.
What do you think about wordless picture books? Any favourites that I missed?