I just love wordless books. And usually, when I tell people about them, and show them how much fun they are, they begin to love them, too. But I do have to “sell ” these books, as many parents or teachers will pick them up and think, “Well, there are no words in this book. How am I going to read that to my child?” Here’s how!
An easy exercise in a parent group is to get people into pairs, and hand out one wordless book to each pair. Tell them that they are going to read to each other– one starts, and halfway through, the other will take over and read. Then say, “GO!” and see what happens. Often you will hear silence at the beginning, and then, as they start to realize that they are now the storytellers, they get into the spirit. Children have no problem with this, being born storytellers. Wordless books are a great way to get children practising those early literacy concepts of talking and telling stories. They are using their imaginations and having an art experience as well. There are many uses for these books, so I am singing their praises today!
Here are a few of my favourites:
A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka. Not only did it win the Caldecott Medal in 2012, it is a fun story featuring a playful little dog. Open it up and start telling the story of what happens when your favourite toy is lost.
Another Caldecott winner is Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse. This familiar story is beautifully created in watercolor and sunshine. The Weston Woods film of the book is brilliant, too, with music that sets the tone of the story.
David Wiesner’s Flotsam was also noticed by the Caldecott committee, and for good reason. This amazing book tells the story of a camera found on a beach in gorgeous paintings that you can look at over and over. Robot Dreams by Sara Varon will enchant older readers with this story of a rusty robot.
For even more wordless books, try this link to our Wordless Books booklist. Enjoy the art and the story that you and your child tell together. Pick out a few of these and have your child “read” to you!