As a writer & occasional storyteller, discovering a beautifully~told tale without text is a very liberating experience. Presented as a “silent-read”, the sequence of illustrations allows the viewers to weave their own story with the artist.
As a parent & educator, wordless, picture books provide unlimited opportunities for engaging conversation to spark the imagination, as well as providing teachable moments for story elements, flow & vocabulary.
Whether illustrated with simplicity or great detail, these works of art can amaze and engage children & adults of all ages, especially when nestled in a loved one’s lap.
Wandering & wondering through some of these books is comparable to walking through a hand-held gallery. I absolutely LOVE a wonderful wordless picture book!
Here are a few of my favorite wordless picture books to share with very young children.
*Briggs, Raymond THE SNOWMAN
Raymond Briggs has written numerous award-winning books for children & adults. His soft, colorful illustrations in THE SNOWMAN tell the story of a young child’s handmade snowman who comes to life & takes him on a snow~sky journey. The entire story is available on UTube, accompanied by the beautiful music written for the film. This enchanting tale is part of my “watch & listen” every winter.
Colon, Raul DRAW
Raul Colon is an award-winning illustrator of many children’s books. His beautifully illustrated book with simplistic details tells the story of a young artist who uses his imagination to travel on safari in the African plains so he can DRAW its animals. This gem is a recent discovery of mine and will enthrall even an older child, especially an aspiring artist, wild animal lover, and/or will-be traveler.
*Crews, Donald TRUCK
Donald Crews has written & illustrated many children’s books. This Caldecott Honor Book is simply illustrated in bright, bold colors. It tells the story of a big, red semi-truck, loaded with bicycles, traveling through a city and along highways. “Readers” will enjoy the common journey of the TRUCK‘s sounds and sights .
Frazier, Craig BIRD AND BEE
Craig Frazier, an award-winning graphic designer, is the author & illustrator of 10 children’s books. The travels of BIRD AND BEE together is told with large, bright & bold illustrations, using primary colors in a simplistic yet emotional style. It’s a sweet & wonderful first “reader”! You can, also, hear it on UTube &/or visit his website @ craigfrazier.com for a detailed share of his work.
Hutchins, Pat CHANGES, CHANGES
Pat Hutchins has written & illustrated about 50 children’s books, which you will find in many elementary school libraries. This ALA Notable Book, illustrated with primary colors, tells a story of 2 wooden characters experiencing CHANGES, CHANGES when they build structures with wooden toy blocks. Young children will identify with the struggles that can come when building with blocks. You can view an animated version on UTube.
Idle, Molly FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO
Molly Idle has written & illustrated numerous books for young children & teens. Using simple , expressive drawings of black & flamingo-pink, FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO leads the reader on a dance between a determined young Flora & a flippant flamingo in this Caldecott Honor Book with interactive flaps. There are 3 other delightful Flora wordless, picture book stories with a Penguin, Peacock & Ostrich. You can view them on UTube &/or visit her “whimsical & wacky” website @ idleillustration.com. DELIGHTFUL!
Judge, Lita THE RED SLED
Lita Judge is an author & illustrator of many wonderfully informative books for children. Her simple, colorful drawings in THE RED SLED take a young child on a winter’s ride with woodland creatures. Her book, THE RED HAT spins a yarn during spring with woodland creatures as well. Children will enjoy the additional sound texts included to bring these pictures to life. UTube has a short intro to the book. Visit her website @ litajudge.com for lots of information on how this artist works as well as activities for some of her books.
Lee, Suzy WAVE
Suzy Lee is an globally-acclaimed author & illustrator, who has written numerous internationally-awarded, multi-lingual books for children. Using simple black & sea blue colors in WAVE, she illustrates a young child’s frolic during a day at the beach with a sea blue sea. She has, also, “written” several other wordless picture books. Her multi-lingual website @ suzyleebooks.com has a book list with her gallery as well as workshops & guest appearances. WHEW!
*Mayer, Mercer A BOY, A DOG & A FROG
Mercer Mayer is one of the first illustrators to use the wordless picture book format in a children’ s book and was acclaimed for doing so. Told in black & white drawings, A BOY, A DOG, AND A FROG is the beginning tale (it’s a story series) of a young boy wandering through nature with his dog and the frog who follows them. His numerous “Little Critter” & “Little Monster” stories are very popular with young readers.
Tafuri, Nancy HAVE YOU SEEN MY DUCKLING ?
Nancy Tafuri has written, illustrated & collaborated on more than 50 early childhood books. Classroom & libraries are filled with her largely illustrated, colorful & simply-told stories for the very young. A Caldecott Honor Book, HAVE YOU SEEN MY DUCKLING?, shares with its young “reader” the experience of a worried mama duck looking for her curious duckling, who has waddled away from the family group. Children LOVE this tale! Her signature drawings are available in the book library of her website @ nancytafuri.com.
MORE BOOKS, PLEASE!
These websites have wordless picture book lists for children (and grownups), ages 0~12:
- bookitprogram.com/redzone/readandd.asp – has activities for *books I’ve listed
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