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Forget the Words: Wordless Picture Books for Children

Wordless Picture Books for children: A wonderful list a books without words that lets children tell the story. Find these books at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience. All recommendations are mine.

Forget the Words: Wordless Picture Books for Children

Reading is a wonderful way to improve your child’s vocabulary. But what about books that don’t have any words? These books allow children to develop their own storytelling abilities by “reading” the stories themselves.

I write so often about books, I’ve put them in one central location and created a collection of all of my book lists! Find more great reading book lists here.

Chalk: A rainy day. Three kids in a park. A dinosaur spring rider. A bag of chalk. The kids begin to draw. . . and then . . . magic! The children draw the sun, butterflies, and a dinosaur that amazingly come to life. Tuesday: A Caldecott classic celebrating twenty years in print. The whimsical account of a Tuesday when frogs were airborne on their lily pads will continue to enchant readers of all ages. Good Night, Gorilla: It’s bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who’s that short, furry guy with the keys in his hand and the mischievous grin? Sneak along behind the zookeeper’s back and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous good-night romp. Flotsam: A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam – anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share …and to keep. Zoom: Zoom from a farm to a ship to a city street to a desert island. But if you think you know where you are, guess again. For nothing is ever as it seems in Istvan Banyai’s sleek, mysterious landscapes of pictures within pictures, which will tease and delight readers of all ages. The Lion & The Mouse: In award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney’s wordless adaptation of one of Aesop’s most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he’d planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher’s trap. With vivid depictions of the landscape of the African Serengeti and expressively-drawn characters, Pinkney makes this a truly special retelling, and his stunning pictures speak volumes. Wave: New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book 2008! In this evocative wordless book, internationally acclaimed artist Suzy Lee tells the story of a little girl’s day at the beach. Stunning in their simplicity, Lee’s illustrations, in just two shades of watercolor, create a vibrant story full of joy and laughter. The Red Book: This book is about a book. A magical red book without any words. When you turn the pages you’ll experience a new kind of adventure through the power of story.Winning a Caldecott Honor for its illustrations of rare detail and surprise, The Red Book crosses oceans and continents to deliver one girl into a new world of possibility, where a friend she’s never met is waiting. And as with the best of books, at the conclusion of the story, the journey is not over.

Journey: Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.

A Boy, a Dog and a Frog: A boy and his dog go walking in the swamp.They spot a frog in the water. Can they use a net to catch him? Trainstop: A ride on the train is exciting. There’s always something new to see, even if you’ve been there before. But some train rides are better than others . . . What if a train took you somewhere else entirely? What if the doors opened in a strange, new place? This is one train stop you won’t want to miss! The Arrival: The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. Good Dog, Carl: An absolute modern classic that introduced the beloved baby-sitting rottweiler to the world. The Boys: This wordless picture book tells the story of a quiet boy working to overcome his shyness and finding the courage to play baseball with the other kids in the park… With the help of a few old timers from the nearby park bench, our boy is coaxed out of his shell and into the game. Beautifully illustrated, this is the story about the young finding out how much fun it is to live life… And the old finding out how much life there still is to love. Re-Zoom: Open this wordless book and take off on mind-bending visual journeys full of twists, turns, and surprises. Zoom from an Egyptian pyramid to an exotic jungle to a sandy beach. But if you think you know where you are, guess again. For in Istvan Banyai’s mysterious landscapes of pictures within pictures, nothing is ever as it seems.

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  1. says

    We received Tuesdays Frog as a gift a couple of years ago. It never occurred to me to look for more to use for child-led story telling. I love the idea! I will definitely be looking for more now. :)

  2. Natalie Brown says

    Hi! It’s been awhile since I bought children’s books because my son is 26 years old. Although, I have a grandson who is 18 months old. I’ve never even heard of wordless books to let the child tell the story. I love this! “Pinned” for my grandson. Thank-you for the information!!

    • says

      Aw, so glad you pinned for your grandson. It’s a wonderful way to share story time. I began wordless books with my boys well before they were talking. I would talk through the story, pointing out what we saw on the page. Then as they got older, they began to tell me the story in their own way :-)

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