14 Wordless Picture Books to Inspire Imagination

Wordless Picture Books to Inspire Imagination
14 Wordless Picture Books to Inspire Imagination 16

As a mother and a Speech Pathologist, one of my favorite types of books to “read” with my children are wordless picture books.

I love looking through the pictures and listening to my children interpret/ “read” the story.  It is such an amazing way to develop language skills, vocabulary, and imagination. I love them so much, that I selected my favorites for our reading readiness post for 3 year-olds.

The best part of wordless picture books is that the stories are never the same twice and grow with your child. What may begin as a simple story, can turn into something completely different as your child develops new skills and gets older. 

Some of the books we included below are funny while others are simple with brilliant illustrations. A few examine complex issues all without words (or very minimal words).

I hope you love this list of 14 books with no words as much as I loved putting it together.

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Wordless Picture Books

Journey

Journey  by Aaron Becker (A Wordless Trilogy)

A 2014 Caldecott Honor Book

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.

lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free.

Museum Trip and other wordless picture books

Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman

Museums: filled with mysterious, magical art, and curiosities? Or secrets? And what might happen if a boy suddenly became part of one of the mind-bending exhibits?

sector 7

Sector 7 by David Weisner

Only the person who gave us Tuesday could have devised this fantastic Caldecott Honor-winning tale, which begins with a school trip to the Empire State Building.

There a boy makes friends with a mischievous little cloud, who whisks him away to the Cloud Dispatch Center for Sector 7 (the region that includes New York City). The clouds are bored with their everyday shapes, so the boy obligingly starts to sketch some new ones.

The Snowman

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

A gorgeous wordless story for winter. The pictures depict a tale of a little boy who goes to check on his snowman one night.

When he sees his snowman outside in the cold, he decides to invite him in. What happens next is a magical adventure you and your child will adore.

flashlight

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Inside a tent it’s cozy. But what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight! Told solely through images and using a spare yet dramatic palette, artist Lizi Boyd has crafted a masterful exploration of night, nature, and art.

Chalk

Chalk by Bill Thompson

Three children discover a magical bag of chalk on a rainy day.

unspoken

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad

A young girl’s courage is tested in this haunting, wordless story.

When a farm girl discovers a runaway slave hiding in the barn, she is at once startled and frightened.  But the stranger’s fearful eyes weigh upon her conscience, and she must make a difficult choice.

Will she have the courage to help him? Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl and the runaway as they each face a journey: one following the North Star, the other following her heart.

I walk with vanessa

I Walk with Vanessa by Karascoët

This simple yet powerful wordless picture book tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. Inspired by real events,  I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help.

Wordless Picture Books Featuring Animals

Frog goes to dinner

Frog Goes to Dinner by Mercer Meyer

A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog, the first book in this series, launched Mercer Mayer’s distinguished career over twenty-five years ago, and also helped to create the wordless picture book genre.

Full of warmhearted mischief and play, the books express the humorous trials and tribulations of friendship and the joy of summertime discovery. Readers will want to collect the entire set.

Goodnight Gorilla

Goodnight Gorilla

It’s bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who’s that short, furry guy with the keys in his hand and the mischievous grin?

Sneak along behind the zookeeper’s back and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous good-night romp.

Flotsam and other wordless picture books

Flotsam by David Wiesner

A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam–anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep.

Ball and other wordless picture books

Ball by Mary Sullivan

A dog with a ball is one of the most relentlessly hopeful creatures on Earth. After his best little-girl pal leaves for school, this dog hits up yoga mom, baby, and even the angry cat for a quick throw.

No luck. Forced to go solo, the dog begins a hilarious one-sided game of fetch until naptime’s wild, ball-centric dream sequence. The pictures speak a thousand words in this comic book-style ode to canine monomania. Ball? Ball.

the lion and the mouse

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

The Caldecott Award-winning and New York Times bestselling fable of compassion and kindness retold by acclaimed artist Jerry Pinkney.

In award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney’s wordless adaptation of one of Aesop’s most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted.

The Only child and other wordless picture books

The Only Child by Guojing

A little girl—lost and alone—follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange and wondrous world. But… home and family are very far away. How will she get back there?

Are we missing your favorite wordless picture book? Let us know!