Stories Without Words

We often tell people that actions speak louder than words or that a picture is worth a thousand words. Wordless books are a clear example of how stories can be told without words. These books can be used with children and youth to encourage them to think critically about what is happening in the story and make their own observations.

Some authors who have created multiple wordless picture books include: Lena Anderson, Mitsumasa Anno, Peter Collington, Alexandra Day, Tomie DePaola, John S. Goodall, Tana Hoban, Fernando Krahn, Barbara Lehman, Leo Lionni, Mercer Mayer, Helen Oxenbury, Peter Spier, Nancy Tafuri, and David Wiesner.

Additional lists of wordless books can be found in the School Collection guide for wordless books or the online catalog can be searched for the subject “stories without words.”

Below are a few wordless books that might just spark a conversation, or some giggles, with a child.

Wordless books

Colon, Raul.
Draw! 2014.
In this wordless picture book, a boy who is confined to his room fills his sketch pad with lions and elephants, then imagines himself on a safari.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. C718d]

The Only Child. 2015.
A little girl, lost and alone, follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange and wondrous world. But… home and family are very far away. How will she get back there? Guojing’s story shows one aspect of growing up under China’s one-child policy.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. G9592o]

Hegbrook, Thomas.
Nature. 2016.
Explore the beauty and wonder of nature in this wordless picture book — and let your imagination bring everything to life! Stunning artwork captures the lives of a variety of animals and bugs in their natural surroundings and the changes that occur as they endure the passage of time, from birth to adulthood, winter to autumn, and more.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S.578 H3617n]

Newgarden, Mark and Megan Montague Cash.
Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors. 2014.
As Bow-Wow naps, his neighbors creep in and steal his cozy green bed. When the expressive pup tries to get it back, colorful chaos ensues as the house next door might not be exactly what he thought.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB SE. N45bn]

Nolan, Dennis.
Hunters of the Great Forest. 2014.
On a warm night, a band of hunters sets out on a journey. As they travel over hills, through thickets of trees, and around mountains, nothing will keep them from their ultimate goal. What that goal is may surprise you.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB Q. SE. N71h]

Nordling, Lee and Meritxell Bosch.
BirdCatDog: a graphic novel. 2014.
Tells the story of a bird, a cat, and a dog through wordless comics. Everyone is a hero in his own story and every story is connected.
[SSHEL S Collection S.741.5973 N758bi]

Slater, David Michael
The Boy & the Book: a Wordless Story. 2015.
In this wordless story, a library book tries desperately to evade the destructive clutches of a little boy. What drives the Boy, however, is enthusiasm and love — not malice — and the Book eventually responds in kind, accepting his rough but worthy fate.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. Sl151bo]

Thomson, Bill.
Chalk. 2010.
A wordless picture book about three children who go to a park on a rainy day, find some magical chalk, and draw pictures that come to life.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. T3824c]

Zagarenski, Pamela.
The Whisper. 2015.
Step inside the pages of a little girl’s magical book as she discovers the profound and inspiring notion that we each bring something different to the same story.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. Z133w]