Stories Without Words
* = Ms. Rosen’s Favourites
While looking at a wordless book, ask…
1. “What’s going on in the picture?”
2. “What do I see that makes me say that?”
3. ”What more can I find?”
*Anno, Mitsumasa. Anno’s Journey. New York: Philomel, 1978, c1977.
“Records in drawings the author’s journey through northern Europe and his impressions of the land, the people at work and play, and their art, architecture, folklore, and fairy tales.” – CIP.
*Anno, Mitsumasa. Anno’s Spain. New York: Philomel Books, 2004, c2003.
Aruego, Jose. The Last Laugh. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2006.
*Baker, Jeannie. Mirror. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2010.
Without words, 24 hours are shown in Morocco and Australia.
Becker, Aaron. Journey. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2013.
Becker, Aaron. Quest. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014.
“In the Caldecott Honor-winning Journey, much of Becker’s energy was devoted to the story’s exquisite backdrops. Now, in the second wordless book of his planned trilogy, the focus is on his characters. On a rainy day in a city park, the girl who starred in Journey and the boy introduced at the end take refuge by a doorway under a bridge. To their surprise, a king emerges from the door just long enough to pass the two a map before soldiers apprehend him. Returning to the magical Pallonezia, they find the walled city in flames, under siege. Becker includes wonderfully evocative set pieces – a submerged city, a Mayan temple – as the pair follows the map to collect chalk markers in all the colors of the rainbow to free the king and save the city.” – FVRL.
Briggs, Raymond. The Snowman. London: Puffin, 2013, c1978.
*Cole, Henry. Spot, the Cat. New York: Little Simon, 2016.
*Cole, Henry. Unspoken: Story from the Underground Railroad. New York: Scholastic Press, 2012.
“In this wordless picture book, a young Southern farm girl discovers a runaway slave hiding behind the corn crib in the barn and decides to help him.” – FVRL.
Colón, Raúl. Draw! New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014.
Crews, Donald. Truck. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1980.
Fleischman, Paul. Sidewalk Circus. Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2004.
“Mooch the cat helps a lonely bird find its flock, which has flown south for the winter.” – CIP.
**Guojing. The Only Child. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015.
“In this wordless graphic novel, a young girl traveling from her city apartment to her grandmother’s country home becomes lost and enters a fantastical world in the clouds.” – CIP. Recommended for readers 8 years old and up. [Adventure stories; Missing Children]
McDonnell, Patrick. South. New York: Little, Brown, 2008.
*Merveille, David. Hello, Mr. Hulot. New York: NorthSouth Books, 2013.
Mr. Hulot is a French character played by Jacques Tati, an actor and filmmaker. In this almost wordless picture book, David Merveille has created comic-strip scenes useful for learning how to infer meaning and analyze humour. But mostly, the pictures are simply fun. They will surprise and delight viewers 8 years old and up.
*Miyares, Daniel. Float. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015.
“Wordless picture book about a boy who loses his paper boat in the rain.” – CIP. The main character in his yellow slicker and hat is reminiscent of the main character in Ezra Jack Keats’s A Letter to Amy. The limited use of colour in this story could start an interesting discussion: Why so much grey? What is the significance of the yellow? And what all can we lose in life? And does the title – Float – have more than one meaning? [Boats and boating; Lost articles; Toys; Rain]
*Nolan, Dennis. Hunters of the Great Forest. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2014.
Tiny brave hunters set off on a great expedition. What will they find? A humorous wordless story with a joyous ending.
Nolan, Dennis. Sea of Dreams. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2011.
Pinkney, Jerry. The Lion and the Mouse. New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009.
*Ramstein, Anne-Margot. Before After. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014, c2013.
“Everyone knows that a tiny acorn grows into a mighty oak and a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But in this clever book, it’s also true that a cow can result in both a bottle of milk and a painting of a cow, and an ape in a jungle may become an urban King Kong. Just as day turns into night and back again, a many-tiered cake is both created and eaten down to a single piece.” – CIP.
Raschka, Christopher. A Ball for Daisy. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2011.
Slater, David Michael. The Boy & the Book (a Wordless Story). Watertown, Mass.: Charlesbridge, 2015.
“In this story without words a young boy carelessly mishandles a library book, while the other books try to rescue their friend.” – CIP.
*Tan, Shaun. The Arrival. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007.
“In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his homeland and sets off for a new country, where he must build a new life for himself and his family.” – CIP.
Walsh, Liam Francis. Fish. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2016.
Wiesner, David. Flotsam. New York: Clarion Books, 2006.
Wiesner, David. Free Fall. New York: HarperCollins, 1988.
A wordless picture book and Caldecott Honor book about a boy who dreams of great adventures. Recommended for lovers of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.
Yelchin, Eugene. Spring Hare. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017.
Learn how to use wordless books during storytime:
Lambert, Megan Dowd. Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2015.