AUGUST 15, 2022

Building Literacy with Wordless Picture Books

Fewer words, but just as fun! These wordless picture books build confidence and curiosity in young readers. Children will strengthen their inference and comprehension skills while using their imaginations to understand the story unfolding in front of them. Both fun and stimulating, wordless picture books are a great way to help kids develop a love for reading. Beautifully illustrated and full of action, you can find everything you love about Orca picture books without the words.

Shop Wordless Picture Books

Kunoichi Bunny
By: Sara Cassidy
Illustrated by: Brayden Sato
Interest Level: Grades K-3

The sun is out and the birds are chirping. It’s a beautiful day for Saya, her dad, and her well-loved stuffed bunny, Kunoichi, to go to the park. On their way, Saya stealthily stops a fight by flinging her floppy, four-legged ninja-bunny between two snarling cats. Later, on the bus, Saya throws Kunoichi under the wheels of a child’s stroller, halting its dangerous roll toward the stairs. Dad doesn’t notice as Saya uses Kunoichi to save the day time and time again on their outing and on the bus home, proving small actions can have a great impact. 

This wordless picture book is in graphic novel format.

“Captivating…Sato does a brilliant job with point of view, perspective, and zoom, moving the plot along and giving it the feel of an everyday superhero story. This inviting book effectively encourages visual literacy for the youngest audience.” – School Library Journal

The Three Bears and Goldilocks 
By: Bee Waeland
Interest Level: Grades K-3

In this graphic retelling of the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears, author and illustrator Bee Waeland reimagines the story of a self-involved little girl who commits a crime and is arrested for breaking and entering. Having tracked deer poo into the Bear family’s house, broken several things, eaten all their porridge, and fallen asleep in Baby Bear’s bed, the family comes home and calls the authorities on her. Told without words, readers of all ages will delight in this hilarious and vibrant twist on the classic.

Download the Activity Sheet

Snow Doves
By: Nancy Hartry 
Illustrated by: Gabrielle Grimard
Interest Level: Grades K-3

A wordless story of overcoming our fears and finding friendship.

Sami has just arrived in a new country. The snow piled up outside his window is a mysterious and, frankly, chilly surprise! Joy, his new neighbor, does not speak his language, but that does not stop them from communicating as Joy helps Sami overcome his fears. The two new friends get bundled up against the cold, and Sami discovers the magic of playing outside on a snowy day.

Watch the Author Interview 

Marthe Jocelyn Collection

Celebrated paper artist Marthe Jocelyn has a collection of board books that are illustrated using her delightful paper collages.  These wordless search-and-find adventures invite children to follow along and discover that each spread is made up of one single piece! Young readers will be inspired to see their own expanding worlds as a collection of interconnected shapes and colors.

One Patch of Blue
By: Marthe Jocelyn
Interest Level: Grades K-3

One patch of denim escapes from a pair of pants and becomes a stained glass window, an ice cream truck, a Ferris wheel, a fish tank, and many other square surprises.

“Enchanting! Readers will enjoy composing their own stories as the blue patch travels from page to page.” – School Library Journal

One Yellow Ribbon
By: Marthe Jocelyn
Interest Level: Grades K-3

One yellow ribbon unties itself from a child’s hair and transforms into a winter scarf, a farmer’s field, and a lion’s mane, among many other magical things.

“A cleverly illustrated wordless outing that is a natural progression for readers of Jocelyn's previous board books.” – Kirkus Reviews

One Piece of String
By: Marthe Jocelyn
Interest Level: Grades K-3

One piece of string comes untied from a parcel and changes into a spider’s web, a ropy updo, a layer of snow on a birdhouse roof, and other surprises.

"Both animals and objects in Jocelyn’s delightful books will be familiar to most young children, and her illustrations, with their amusing details, lend themselves to repeated viewing. With these titles, some string, glue, and buckets of large buttons and crayons, educators and parents will have some ready-made art activities (supervised, of course) for mini-makers – and their older siblings. Quirky and fun, these books are natural lead-ins to art projects." – School Library Journal

One Red Button
By: Marthe Jocelyn
Interest Level: Grades K-3

One red button falls off a coat and becomes the cherry on an ice-cream cone, the wheel on a fire truck, the jewel in a necklace, and many other round surprises.

“Charmingly illustrated, Jocelyn's mixed-media collage illustrations pair gorgeous patterns with rich textures, creating delightful images that children will recognize from their daily lives. All in all, this is a clever, attractive book that parents and children will thoroughly enjoy.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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