Posted in Book Reviews, Picture Books

Visual Storytelling: The Joy of Wordless Picture Books

Reposted from http://www.atxenglish.com

We are big fans of wordless picture books in our house! When you no longer rely on written language to tell stories, a whole new world of storytelling opens up – especially for young readers.

Reading is about so much more than simply decoding the words on the page; it’s about making meaning, constructing a narrative, adding details, drawing inferences, and more. These skills are highlighted when we leave words behind and use images to tell complex stories with young children.

As an added bonus, children can often “read” these stories themselves, or to parents or younger siblings, which is a great way to add variety and independence to storytime. Here are a few of our favorite titles:

Rain (Spier) – I remember this title from my own childhood! Two siblings are playing outside on a summer day when they’re interrupted by rain. They dash inside, but quickly reemerge with umbrellas and wellies to splash the day away. With charming illustrations, this classic tale captures the simple joys of childhood.

Tuesday (Weisner) – Science fiction for young readers! An invasion of (peaceful) flying frogs disrupts a suburban neighborhood; when dawn comes, things return to normal…for now. Beautiful watercolor illustrations tell this quirky story that will delight imaginations of all ages.

Flora and the Flamingo (Idle) – Vibrant pink permeates the gorgeous illustrations in this sweet story about a little girl who emulates a graceful flamingo’s dance – much to the bird’s annoyance! Idle’s story of an unlikely friendship is funny and as an added bonus, includes lift-the-flap interaction.

Journey and Quest (Becker) – I’ve already reviewed Journey, but it deserves another mention here: these two stories are my son’s constant favorites. He loves the tale of “naughty knights” thwarted by adventurous children in a magical land; I love the magical escape from the dreary real world through imagination and play. The sequel is every bit as good as the original.

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The Girl and the Bicycle (Pett) – With (almost) monochromatic illustrations, this story is chock full of great values, humor, and a twist ending. A girl (always accompanied by her younger brother) spots a green bicycle in a shop window and is determined to earn enough money to buy it. Forging a relationship with an older neighbor, she rakes leaves, shovels snow, and carries out other chores until she’s saved enough. When she finally returns to buy the bike, it’s gone! You’ll have to read it to find out what she buys with her money instead…

Fox’s Garden (Camcam) – This one is for all the artists out there. Princess Camcam’s story explores the connection between humans and animals, as well as the importance of kindness, with cut-paper illustrations that are as magical as they are unusual. I wish I could frame the images in this book – they’re that stunning! And the story will charm you, too.

More titles to explore:

Zoom (Banyai)

The Red Book (Lehman)

Pancakes for Breakfast (dePaola)

Wave (Lee)

The Boy and the Airplane (Pett)

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Author:

Texan, teacher, writer, reader: that’s me in a nutshell. Originally from Texas, I now live in London with my husband (he’s a Brit) and our two boys. I spend my time devouring books (especially young adult/middle grade fiction), baking cookies and generally going in ten directions at once. More than a decade ago, I moved to London for a teaching job, met my husband, stayed, and started a family. The last few years have been a whirlwind: in 2013, we moved to Austin, TX and I decided to stay at home with our son; in 2014, we bought and renovated a house in South Austin; in 2015, we welcomed our second son at a local birth center...and in 2016, we packed up and moved back to London! 2017 is set to see more changes as our eldest little starts school and I head back to the classroom. Read on for renovation info, book reviews, creative writing posts, and the general flotsam and jetsam of my life.

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