Recommendations by Laura M

I can still remember a sleepover I had at my grandparents’ house growing up, when I gave my grandmother a wordless picture book to read to me at bedtime. She was a bit of a no-nonsense grandma and wasn’t so sure it “counted” as a book, let alone how she was going to read it. But I knew exactly how to read this book, in fact this was the easiest book I knew how to read and for that reason I loved it. So, I read it to her and tried not to let my grandmother’s obvious disapproval erode how much I loved it.

Wordless books are some of the most powerful picture books in their unique ability to develop early literacy skills. They promote comprehension, expand vocabulary, increase listening skills, and enhance an understanding of story structure and character development.

For me, wordless picture books gave me so much confidence and independence as a young reader – reading them I didn’t have to worry about decoding the text, I could focus instead on the story, the illustrations, and the characters (which had great appeal). I still had to figure out what was happening in the story, but I could use my imagination rather than stress about my ability to recognize each word! Also, wordless picture books invited me right into the story and encouraged me to come up with new ways to retell the story! This helped me to develop storytelling skills and made me excited to write my own.

Here are a few wordless picture books I adore.

Journey Book JacketJourney by Aaron Becker

If you drew a magical door on your bedroom wall, where would it lead you? In Becker’s Journey, the main character escapes into an exquisitely illustrated world where wonder, adventure and danger abound. Red maker pen in hand, she crates many things that carry her on a spectacular journey!

The Lion and the Mouse Book JacketThe Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

The Lion and the Mouse is my favourite Aesop fable, and Pinkney’s wordless adaptation is stunning! Enter the landscape of the African Serengeti in this truly magical retelling.

Pancakes for Breakfast Book JacketPancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola

This one is a classic in my books (first published in 1978). I mean, pancakes for breakfast – yes, please! Add to that some missing ingredients and mischievous pets and you’ve got yourself a deliciously funny story book!

Flashlight Book JacketFlashlight by Lizi Boyd

In Flashlight, readers are invited to explore the night, nature and the nocturnal world with the main character who is camping out and goes out in the evening with their flashlight. Pages are primarily black and white, but then brilliantly illuminated in the beam of the flashlight (where the scene is illustrated in colour). Not only is this a great nature book, it’s also one that can help kids who might feel afraid of dark and the noises that come with it.

Professional Crocodile Book JacketProfessional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli

A witty book with a surprise ending, Professional Crocodile is a story that allows readers to find new details and tell fresh stories with subsequent readings.

Another Book JacketAnother by Christian Robinson

Another is a story about exploration – through portals (like mirrors and windows) – into another world with another perspective and another you. It is vibrant and multilayered, puzzling and amusing – a real celebration of childhood!