753

Wonderful Wordless Picture Books

A child reading a wordless picture book

Have you and your children discovered the treasures to be found in wordless picture books?

Wordless books are exactly what the term implies—books that tell a story, but without printed story text.

Instead, wordless books rely on the illustrations to draw readers into the tales they tell. The illustrators of wordless books communicate emotion, humor, and engaging detail without writing a single word.

Because there are no words to “read,” wordless books can be enjoyed independently by children of all ages—whether they are readers or not. When given the opportunity, a child will often discover a story in the book’s illustrations that is far more imaginative than anything that you—or even the author himself—could have conceived. Though an author of a wordless book may have had his own story to tell, each book is a blank slate when it is read by your child.

Reading Wordless Books with Preschoolers

Wordless picture books are so much more than simply books with great pictures! These wonderful books can benefit your preschooler’s emerging literacy in three important ways.

Reading Aloud to Kids Who Can't Sit Still - All About Reading
  1. Wordless books help develop vocabulary and language skills in young children. As you talk to your children about the pictures in the books, they’ll learn to label objects in the pictures, assign appropriate sounds and gestures to objects, and invent a simple story plot to accompany the illustrations.
  2. Wordless books help develop creativity and storytelling skills. Wordless picture books naturally help pre-readers progress from listening to a story to telling a story. As they progress, children learn to devise storylines, understand sequencing, and develop oral, and eventually written, storytelling skills. Because they encourage imagination and creativity, wordless picture books are the ideal genre to develop these skills.
  3. Wordless books encourage book usage skills. Wordless picture books encourage appropriate book handling skills in very small children. In addition to learning to handle books with respect and appreciation, children also learn essential book-reading skills like reading from front to back, top to bottom, and left to right, and turning pages one by one.
Button to go to prechooler books

Reading Wordless Books with Older Children

But wordless picture books aren’t just for preschoolers! These versatile books can be especially enjoyable and useful for older kids. Because of their depth and complexity, wordless books can stimulate an older child’s thinking and imagination in ways that a chapter book may not.

Child reading a wordless picture book in a tree
  1. Wordless picture books have amazing illustrations. Because they rely entirely on illustrations to tell a story, wordless picture books are usually illustrated in amazing detail. The artwork itself can provide hours of entertainment for an older child.
  2. Wordless books make great “story starters.” Older children can use a wordless book as a springboard for a creative writing assignment. Because the illustrations suggest a storyline without using words, this genre provides the ideal story starter for a struggling writer. Using wordless books as story starters helps develop basic writing skills like sentence structure, vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics. But beyond the basics, this story starter activity encourages story-writing skills such as plot and character development and story structure.
  3. Wordless books are often “mind-benders.” Many wordless books tell fantastic stories that take the mind to places it doesn’t expect to go. These books stimulate the imagination and require more mature “readers” to think deeply about the story the author is telling.
  4. Wordless books bring history to life. Wordless books tell historical stories in a particularly poignant way. Rich illustrations evoke an emotional response that might not be experienced if the story were told with words alone. An older child may find himself enjoying history without even realizing it!
Button to go to older kids books

I’ve chosen a few of my favorite wordless picture books to get you started, but don’t stop there. There are hundreds to choose from! Click on a book cover below to read reviews of my favorites for preschoolers and big kids!

My Favorite Wordless Picture Books for Little Kids:

Anno's Journey book cover

Anno’s Journey
by Mitsumasa Anno

The Flower Man book cover

The Flower Man
by Mark Ludy

frog, where are you? book cover

frog, where are you?
by Mercer Mayer

The Lion and the Mouse book cover

The Lion and the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney

Mirror book cover

Mirror
by Jeannie Baker

Noah's Ark book cover

Noah’s Ark
by Peter Spier

Pancakes for Breakfast book cover

Pancakes for Breakfast
by Tomie dePaola

Red Sled book cover

Red Sled
by Lita Judge

Sidewalk Circus book cover

Sidewalk Circus
by Paul Fleischman

Truck book cover

Truck
by Donald Crews

Hank Finds an Egg book cover

Hank Finds an Egg
by Rebecca Dudley

My Favorite Wordless Books for Big Kids:

Chalk book cover

Chalk
by Bill Thomson

Rainstorm book cover

Rainstorm
by Barbara Lehman

Sector 7 book cover

Sector 7
by David Weisner

The Adventures of Polo book cover

The Adventures of Polo
by Régis Faller

The Red Book book cover

The Red Book
by Barbara Lehman

Tuesday book cover

Tuesday
by David Weisner

Lights Out book cover

Lights Out
by Arthur Geisert

FREE Wordless Picture Books Library List

Wordless Picture Books Library List download

Would you like to read some of my favorite wordless picture books with your children? Click to download our list to take to your local library.

Looking for MORE books? You can find more great library lists here!

Wordless Picture Books Recommended by Our Readers

  • Journey by Aaron Becker (Recommended by Andy P., AALP Graphic Designer)
  • Early Bird Gets the Worm by Bruce Lansky (Recommended by Steph J. via blog comment)
  • The Chicken’s Child by Margaret A. Hartelius (Recommended by Rachel O. via blog comment)
  • A Small Miracle by Peter Collington (Recommended by Kim via blog comment)
  • South by Patrick McDonnell (Recommended by Alicia via blog comment)
  • Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (Recommended by Kelsey via blog comment)
  • Chicken and Cat by Sara Varon (Recommended by Marietta via blog comment)
  • The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang (Recommended by Jamie via blog comment)
  • My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann (Recommended by Brooke W. via blog comment)
  • Sea of Dreams by Dennis Nolan (Recommended by Christy via blog comment)
  • Time Flies by Eric Rohmann (Recommended by Ginny via blog comment)
  • Flotsam by David Wiesner(Recommended by Jennifer H. and Heather via blog comment)
  • Wave by Suzy Lee (Recommended by Amy via blog comment)
  • Zoom by Istvan Banyai (Recommended by Amy via blog comment)
  • Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage (Recommended by Bubble Ink via blog comment)
  • A Ball for Daisy by Chris Racshka (Recommended by Bubble Ink via blog comment)
  • Brave Molly by Brooke Boynton-Hughes (Recommended by Jennifer)

Do you have a favorite wordless picture book? Please share it in the comments and I’ll add it to our Readers’ Picks list!

FREE Picture Book LIbrary Lists

All About Learning Press, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. All proceeds from our partnership with Amazon.com will be donated to local libraries.
wordless picture books pinterest graphic
< Previous Post  Next Post >

Leave a Comment

Susan Marold

says:

Thankyou for these lists theyll be useful when Im purchasing for my school Library when we get back to normal school after COVID
Would you know of any Indigenous wordless picture books
i love Brownyn Bancroft

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this will be useful for you, Susan.

No, I’m not aware of any wordless picture books that specifically deal with indigenous peoples. I have seen at least one book illustrated by Brownyn Bancroft, but it wasn’t wordless. Interesting.

Sue Miller

says:

Fantastic lists, really helpful. Thank you

Julie Jensen

says:

I’m looking for a wordless picture book I came across but can’t find it again. It’s about a little black girl at grade school who stands alone in the crowd until a white girl befriends her.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Julie,
I am not familiar with the book you described and while I sometimes have success with using a search engine to find books like this, today I couldn’t find it. I’m sorry I’m not any help. If you find the title, please let me know. It sounds like an interesting book.

Linda Ream

says:

Finding the book featured in the article mesmerizing, I was wondering what the name of the book is.
The photo was of a boy focused on butterflies. Would you be able to forward the name and author of that book?
Thanks! Linda Ream.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Linda,
Is the book you are thinking of possibly Butterfly Boy by Virginia Kroll?

Do you have suggestions that are multicultural? I am looking for wordless books that reflect First Nation Peoples.

Lisa Norris

says:

Have you seen “The Arrival” by Australian author/illustrator Shaun Tan? It is a beautiful and surreal account about immigration. Suitable for older children to young adults and beyond.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ms. Baardseth,
I am not personally aware of any wordless picture books that are about First Nation People or Native Americas. I tried searching, but have come up with nothing. There are many picture books covering the topic, but I can’t find any that are wordless.

Ms Baardseth

says:

Thank you. With all the talk and purpose of building equitable sets of reading materials – this is an area that would benefit greatly from intentional sourcing. Hopefully, in the near future someone will take this task and align reading materials – including wordless book titles – to support equitable practices.

Ellen Ramirez

says:

Are there information wordless picture books? I am thinking for like ELL students, learning U.S. history or specific events.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ellen,
I don’t know of any non-fiction wordless picture books. However, there are more and more of them available for older students. Look in the graphic novel section of your library. My 11-year-old very much enjoyed The Arrival by Shaun Tan, which is a 60+ page wordless picture book showing how life was like for immigrants by comparing it to arriving on a new planet.

Teri

says:

Well, Talk with Me! has information on each illustration and depicts a day in the life of toddlers. The illustrations are diverse, digital, and show families in their daily routines. It is designed to build language that revolves around a family/daily routine (waking up, eating, leaving the house, going to the park, bath time and bedtime).

Alfred

says:

Its really a great information and i am really enjoyed it

Menke

says:

My son loves wordless picture books. The first one we ran into was Journey by Aaron Becker. I never knew there were so many though! Grateful for the suggestions and library list.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Menke,
Wordless picture books are wonderful! When I went looking for them at our library last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find some that are obviously for older children too, with 60+ pages and complex story lines. Wordless picture books are something children can enjoy for many years.

Awesome insights and ideas for Multilingual Learners using Wordless Picture Books!!!

Donald Knight

says:

Clown by Quentin Blake is also fun.

Cindy

says:

Does anyone remember the name of a wordless book about a crow or a raven and an artist that is drawing it? I used to use this for story times but I can’t locate it. It was a wonderful children’s book with gorgeous illustrations.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry, Cindy, I don’t recall one like that at all. Maybe someone else will see this and be able to help.

Melissa

says:

This is the first time I have seen these books, I am interested to see how my daughter would do with this type of creative ability.

I have GOT to get some wordless books for my kiddos! In high school my 10th grade English teacher had a book with drawings & the titles for a story to go with each. Sadly the author never had the stories printed, but she used those pictures and titles to inspire us to get creative in our writing. That class & that book really ignited my own passion to be a writer! Thanks for the titles of wordless books for my kiddos!

Angela VanHoose

says:

Try the Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris VanAllsburg. It’s a very clever book. I suspect that’s the book to which you are referring. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Angela,
This book looks wonderful! Thank you for the recommendation!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ashley,
Too bad the author didn’t get them published; I’d a love such a book as story starters for writing.

Jessica

says:

I’m bookmarking this post! I used to LOVE wordless picture books when I was little. I would like to get some from my son. Chalk is fun. We have borrowed that one from the library before. :)

Deirdre

says:

These are interesting. I think my youngest child might like these, but my two readers I am not sure they would.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Deirdre,
If you approach it as a writing assignment they might. At least it would be more fun than a book report or essay.

Heather Castillo

says:

My boys love wordless books. They really use their creativity and imagination.

brandy

says:

My boys love making up stories to go along with the pictures in wordless books!

Diana McBride

says:

We absolutely LOVED the “Carl” books by Alexandra Day, the wordless stories both captured and captivated everyone from Grandma right through mom dad down to our youngest baby!!! We can’t pass up any of these books and sure showed me the benefits of wordless books too ! Highly recommend !

Jodi

says:

We have enjoyed wordless books, really brings out the creativity in us all. Great list!

Hope

says:

Nice thing about wordless books, is children can use their imagination to create their own stories!

Heather C.

says:

I’ve always loved wordless books

Wendy Thelen

says:

I have wondered what to do with these books. Thanks for the ideas.

Jessica Rasmussen

says:

What a great idea. My daughter would love these.

Adriane

says:

I have never tried these books. Looking forward to sitting down with my daughter and seeing where her imagination takes us.

Annie

says:

I had never heard of these until a couple of days ago reading Jim Trelease’s “The Read Aloud Handbook” (amazing, btw) and now after reading this post I can’t wait to pick up a stack at the library. =D

Elizabeth Wallace

says:

This is a beautiful way to connect with children

Navine

says:

Best spelling program ever. My 6 year spells like a pro.

Sarah Lukitsch

says:

I forgot all about these! I’ll have to get some soon as my 5 year old son has been all about story telling and making his own books lately. I’m sure he would love them!

Jena

says:

These are such great resources for developing creative thoughts and stoties!

Jennifer

says:

I love wordless picture books. They are such a great way to fuel imagination and reading.

Leave a Comment