Stories without Words

[ 2 ] March 19, 2008 |

The SnowmanFlotsamTheBoyTheBearTheBard

The illustrations in “wordless books” tell the story and stretch the reader’s imagination in many directions. Before our children learn to read, they endlessly study the pictures in books for clues and details about the story, and as they learn to read, they begin to focus more on the words and less on the illustrations. As a parent who reads the same stories night after night, I often read “word books” the same way most evenings when I am tired and on bedtime autopilot, but wordless books challenge me to develop the story I am telling. And rarely do I retell the story the same way. My kids love these kinds of books because the story is a little different each time we read it. They love discovering new things in the illustrations and that they can be the storyteller whether or not they can read “real” words. We are book-a-philes in our house and books that can be experienced on many levels and stimulate our imaginations are among our favorites.

Flotsam by David Wiesner
(Caldecott Medal Book)
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.

The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard by Gregory Rogers
(New York Times Best Illustrated Books Award)
The story about a boy who kicks his soccer ball through the window of a famous boarded up old theater. The adventure begins once Shakespeare trips over his soccer ball. The boy is chased through old London by the grumpy bard. Along the way the boy frees and befriends a bear from a cage and a baron from the Tower of London. Make sure to follow this by reading the companion book, Midsummer Knight.

Sector 7 by David Wiesner
(Caldecott Honor Book)
A fantastic tale, which begins with a school trip to the Empire State Building. A boy who loves to draw makes friends with a mischievous little cloud, who whisks him away to the Cloud Dispatch Center for Sector 7. The clouds are bored with their everyday shapes, so the boy sketches some new unusual shapes for them. A great story of friendship, adventure, and imagination.

The Yellow Balloon by Charlotte Dematons
A storybook and a finding book. Follow the yellow balloon and the man with the carpet across every page while traveling around the globe–see a European city, farmland, mountains, Egyptian desert, Africa, an ocean scene with pirates, and more. Each page is full of adventures and a variety of recurring characters.

Yellow Umbrella by Liu Jae-Soo
(New York Times Best Illustrated Books Award)
The story unfolds through lovely watercolor paintings of umbrellas dancing across the pages, allowing readers’ imagination to invent their own story. The book is accompanied by a CD of piano music to be played while reading the story.

You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Museum of Fine Arts by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and illustrated by Robin Glasser
Follow the whimsical path of a young girls’ escaped balloon floating through the streets of Boston, while its journey simultaneously mirrors the paintings and sculptures the little girl is admiring at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. This engaging story is a fun way to tour the city and a great introduction to art. If you enjoy this one, read the companion books: You Can’t Take a Balloon Into The Metropolitan Museum and You Can’t Take a Balloon Into The National Gallery.

The Midnight Circus by Peter Collington
A young boy’s favorite mechanical horse comes to life and carries him to a circus for a night of adventure and stardom.

More wordless books:
Anno’s U.S.A. by Mitsumasa Anno
Anno’s Spain by Mitsumasa Anno
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
The Red Book by Barbara Lehman (Caldecott Honor Book)
Shrewbettina’s Birthday by John S. Goodall
Naughty Nancy (reissue) by John S Goodall
Snow by Isao Sasaki

Category: books / stories


Anisa Raoof

about the author ()

Anisa Raoof is the publisher of Kidoinfo.com. She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

Comments (2)

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  1. SueA says:

    And of course, one of our favorites, Goodnight Gorilla.

  2. calendar katy says:

    we like the english “naughty nancy” books with the devilish mouse abusing her teacher.

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