Worth a Thousand Words: Wordless Picture Books

Worth a Thousand Words: Wordless Picture Books

Lauren Hufnagl
Nov 7, 2013

My little girl was recently gifted a lovely pile of books, and as soon as we had a spare minute we sat down to read them together. But when I cracked open one of the covers and turned to the first page I was honestly at a loss - there were no words, only beautiful illustrations. I froze for a moment, wondering how I would read this story to her? And then the most amazing thing happened...

She began reading to me. She told me the most wonderful tale full of adventure and emotion and make-believe. The words poured out of her mouth like the story had been alive inside of her just waiting to come out, and these inspiring pictures had unlocked it. And the next time we read the book? A different tale full of some of the old story, but with new details and twists as well.

Although most of her books have pictures (she's three), the difference is that ones with text have a story already imagined for her. The details filled in, the plot determined. But each time we read these wordless picture books it's like being able to see her imagination unfold in front of me, and it's a truly beautiful and unique experience.

In today's world of rigorous testing and No Child Left Behind many parents feel that books without words are not worth buying, but I will argue that the opposite is true. As a teacher I've seen too many children for whom books and reading have become a chore - the learning aspect pushed upon them by well-meaning parents, rather than allowed to grow in a fun and natural way. Rather than pushing phonics at an early age, shouldn't we be cultivating a love of books and stories in our children? Especially for younger readers, that passion often begins with pictures. So while I'm not saying to lose the chapter books, please don't skip past the illustrated ones in the name of learning, because sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Here are some lovely wordless picture books that will hopefully spark the imagination of your little reader (or should I say storyteller) as much as they have mine:

(Image credit: Amazon)

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