It may seem counter-intuitive to give new readers, students with disabilities, or ELL students books without words to help build vocabulary, but that is exactly what I’m going to suggest. They can help all readers develop a more descriptive vocabulary, help teach visual decoding, assist readers in understand multiple viewpoints, and teach readers to interpret meaning from visual objects. According to a 2011 Utah State University study, parents use more complex language when discussing wordless picture books than they do with books with text and pictures. Not to mention the fact that they can be less intimidating than traditional books and they can be exceptionally entertaining. The last few years some fantastic wordless books have been added to the collection at the Davenport Public Library, so pick these books up for an emerging reader or for yourself!
Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Schaar Idle
The newest wordless addition to the library collection, Flora and the Flamingo tells the story of a girl named Flora and a flamingo as they learn to dance together. The beautiful illustrations are full of humor and call back to the mimicking game many played as children.
A Ball for Daisy by Christopher Raschka
Daisy, a dog, has a great time with her ball, until it is lost. Her story is told through bright, primary colored illustrations. The story is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, but would delight all children (and adults!) that love dogs.
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
The detailed pencil drawings set the scene in this story of a southern girl helping a runaway slave. The format is perfect in setting the quiet, but intense mood of this story.
Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage
After escaping from the zoo, a clever Walrus disguises himself to outsmart the zookeeper that is pursuing him. With vintage style illustrations, this humorous picture book will appeal to kids and adults.
Waterloo and Trafalgar by Oliver Tallec
This anti-war tale, with tri-colored die-cut illustrations is a perfect example of using a wordless book to facilitate conversation. While the subject matter is somber, the book has expertly used humor throughout.
Bear Despair by Gaëtan Dorémus
Never, ever, under any circumstance steal a bear’s teddy bear. This humorous story follows the plight of a bear after his closest pal is snatched by a mischievous wolf.
The Boys by Jeff Newman
A book about being the shy new kid, Newman’s The Boys employs subtle humor and a sense of nostalgia that shapes this water colored wonder into an instant classic.