Create · Read

What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About Wordless Picture Books


Wordless picture books are a creative addition to any library. These are books which have only a few or no words. Here is why they are important for you and your child:

  • They help with oral language development.
  • They teach, through the use of illustration, how having one image after another can generate and change meaning.
  • They encourage children who struggle with reading.
  • You can be creative with the story by changing it every time you read it.
  • Wordless picture books promote critical thinking and questioning.
  • These books can be read in any language which is perfect for multicultural families. Being so inclusive, they can even be used in the classroom.
  • A University of Waterloo study suggests that wordless picture books can increase a toddler’s vocabulary more than traditional ones because, when reading them, parents use more complex language.
  • They encourages the reader to use different voices and facial expressions.
  • They spark the imagination.
  • Wordless picture books bring out creativity in adults!


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Wordless Picture Books Hug by Jezz Alborough  Mon lion (My lion) Mandana Sadat  Tuesday David Wiesner Flotsam Dov’è l’elefante Bareaux Flashlight by Lizi Boyd  Time Flies by Eric Rohmann Wave by Suzy Lee  Journey by Aaron Becker  Chalk by Bill Thomson

  1. Hug by Jezz Alborough – Only using 3 words, this endearing book focuses on various emotions. Perfect for preschoolers as they learn about their feelings. We found ours at a library and Adèle loved the character so much that we ended up buying this book for her collection. It’s the first book she read on her own. The 3 words are written in larger font and repeated many times, making the book easy to read for a beginner reader.
  2. Mon lion (My lion) – Completely word-free, this is a graphic masterpiece. This beautiful story takes place in Africa and illustrates a friendship between a boy and a lion. The story can be read in a multitude of ways and promotes curiosity and imagination.
  3. Tuesday – Another book with only a few words, this one is by the renown David Wiesner whom I was lucky to meet at a SCBWI conference many years ago. He signed Tuesday for me and now Adèle is the one who enjoys reading it. This highly original story with beautiful illustrations deserved the Caldecott Medal. Other award-winning wordless picture books by David Wiesner include Flotsam, and Mr. Wuffles!
  4. Dov’è l’elefante (Where is the elephant?) – A simple question encourages the child to find the elephant and his two friends and also serves to raise awareness for the respect for the environment. Inspired by deforestation of the Brazilian rain forest, this simple yet powerful story is not to miss.
  5. Flashlight by Lizi Boyd – ideal for pre-bed-time bonding (with or without a flashlight).
  6. Time Flies by Eric Rohmann – Another Caldecott Medal winner, this book is about dinosaurs and birds.
  7. Wave by Suzy Lee – A cute book about the beach.
  8. Journey by Aaron Becker – A Caldecott Honor Medal winner about a girl who draws a magic door and escapes into a wondrous world. This one is for older kids as some of the subject matter might not suit little one’s mental development.
  9. Chalk by Bill Thomson – This one is what my blog is all about – magical chalk making drawings come to life on a rainy day!


  • Describing each image.
  • Describe what happens between each page.
  • Point out details.
  • While looking at the images, change the words you use.
  • Create a new story based on the same illustrations.
  • Use different facial expressions and voices.


  • After reading a wordless picture book, have your child make an artwork and then ask them to tell you about it. Ask them who they drew or what the story is. Ask them what is happening. For example, older children can make 3 or more images with the same character in each.
  • Have your child read wordless picture books to their toys or pets.
  • Act out the story or scenes from the book.
  • Make a simple, mini, wordless picture book from a sheet of paper.

Do YOU have any favorite wordless picture books? I am always looking for new ones, so please let me know if there are any we need to add to the library.


5 thoughts on “What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About Wordless Picture Books

  1. This was a very informative blog post. I learned a lot. It makes sense that wordless books would be really educational for children and a great way to improve their vocabulary. I will get some wordless books for my kids. Thanks!


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