Telling Stories with No Words (or just a few words)

“I love big books and I cannot lie.” This quote can be found on t-shirts, mugs, bags, and bumper stickers, and it is so true for me. When I search for books at the library or bookstore, the ones that catch my eye are the thick ones.

I could also tweak the quote a bit and say, “I love big words and I cannot lie.” All the better if it is a big book with big words or about big words. Even books about dictionaries.

So I’m always surprised by how much I love wordless and almost wordless picture books. Skinny books that tell a story with wonderful pictures and almost no words at all. Some of my older favorites are Noah’s Ark (Peter Spier), Moo! (David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka), Ball (Mary Sullivan), and Flora and the Flamingo (Molly Idle). If you don’t know them, check them out—as well as these wonderful wordless books published in 2018.



Dog on a Digger by Kate Prendergast. 9781536200416. 2018. Gr PK-1.
A dog, riding along with his human at the construction site, realizes that his smaller doggie friend is missing. But how to find him?

Dude! by Aaron Reynolds (ill. by Dan Santat). 9781626726031. 2018. Gr PK-2.
Uses only the word “Dude” (or “Dude!” or “Dude!”) to tell the story of a shark who wants to be friends with a surfing platypus and beaver.

Found. by Jeff Newman & Larry Day. 9781534410060. November 2018. PK-3.
A young girl has lost her dog some time ago, and she has finally stopped looking for him. One day she finds another lost dog, takes him home, and cares for him. They become great friends—and then she sees his picture on a “Lost Dog” poster. Can she lose him, too?

The Great Chicken Escape by Nikki McClure. 9781944903220. 2018. Gr PK-2.
Four chickens escape an Alaskan monastery and enjoy a day in the forest.

I Got It! by David Wiesner. 9780544309029. 2018. Gr PK-3.
A young boy is in the outfield during a baseball game. As a fly ball comes towards him, he imagines all the disappointment and humiliation he might feel if he misses it, which makes him determined to succeed.



I Walk with Vanessa : A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet. 9781524769550. 2018. Gr PK-3.
After seeing the new girl, Vanessa, being bullied on her way home from school, a young girl comes up with a way to make Vanessa feel welcomed. Her actions eventually grow to involve the whole school.

Night Out by Daniel Miyares. 9781524765729. 2018. Gr PK-3.
A lonely young boy at a strict boarding school has an amazing adventure in his dreams, and equipped with his new stories, he finally has the courage to make new friends.

Pip & Pup by Eugene Yelchin. 9781627793940. 2018. Gr PK-2.
A cute chick and a puppy become best friends on the family farm.

Red by Jed Alexander. 9781944903114. 2018. Gr PK-2.
This variation on the “Little Red Riding Hood” features the tension without the violence, and a surprise ending.

A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker. 9780763665968. 2018. Gr 1-3.
A young girl mourns the death of her dog while learning truths about the cycle of life.


Wallpaper by Thao Lam. 9781771472838. 2018. Gr PK-2.
In her new house, a shy girl is afraid to play with the neighbors, so she starts picking at the wallpaper in her room. There she discovers an entryway to an imaginary world, where she learns to be brave and talk to the other children.

While You Are Sleeping by Mariana Ruiz Johnson. 9781452165998. 2018. Gr PK-1.
This wordless book starts with the view through a window of a mother putting her son to bed, then gradually widens the perspective to show what is happening in the city while he sleeps.

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