Wordless: Books For Kids

Wordless books are a special and beautiful genre within the children’s book world. They’re a wonderful tool for developing your (and your child’s!) imagination, requiring you to interact more with the book as you choose what story evolves from its pages… and it can be different every time! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s definitely true in this collection of wonderfully illustrated wordless books we’ve compiled for you!

Good Dog, Carl book
#1
Good Dog, Carl
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Day
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Grammy

It was really interesting for me, coming back to this book after so many years. It reminded me of both The Cat in the Hat and Nana from Peter Pan. A few of the events in the book reminded me of our neighbor’s old dog, Max, a German shepherd/great Dane mix who seemed competent enough to be left to mind the baby. Other scenes, though called for a little suspension of reality, like when the baby went down the laundry chute and landed perfectly fine in a pile of clothing at least one story down in the house. The illustrations, rich with color, are wonderful and the very limited text allows for plenty of opportunities to talk about what is happening on each page, including plausibility, if you are so inclined. Carl is the dog that every family needs and wants.

Available in paperback for the first time, the modern classic that introduced the beloved baby-sitting rottweiler to the world.

Once Upon a Banana book
#2
Once Upon a Banana
Written and illustrated by David Small and Jennifer Armstrong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Everyday signs serve as captions for this pictorial tale of what happens after a man tosses a banana peel into the garbage can and misses.

The Only Child book
#3
The Only Child
Written and illustrated by Guojing
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

Like Shaun Tan’s The Arrival and Raymond Briggs’s The Snowman, this gorgeous and imaginative 100-page graphic picture book is utterly transporting and original. 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? In this magnificently illustrated—and wordless—masterpiece, debut artist Guojing brilliantly captures the rich and deeply-felt emotional life of a child, filled with loneliness and longing as well as love and joy.

Flashlight book
#4
Flashlight
Written and illustrated by Lizi Boyd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

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. Both lyrical and humorous, this visual poem—like the flashlight beam itself—reveals that there is magic in the darkness. We just have to look for it.

Wonder Bear book
#5
Wonder Bear
Written and illustrated by Tao Nyeu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Making her debut with this publication of her M.F.A. thesis project, Nyeu tells the wordless story of two children who cultivate an enormous beanstalk-like plant, which in turn sprouts the titular bear, all in one night. With help from Wonder Bear’s magical blue hat, the children are treated to a series of fantastic spectacles and adventures, culminating in a ride through the sky on the back of a royal dolphin in the company of other sea creatures.

  1. Unspoken - In this wordless picture book, a young Southern farm girl discovers a runaway slave hiding behind the corn crib in the barn and decides to help him.

  2. Once Upon a Snowstorm - B is for Bookworm - This wordless picture book has gorgeous illustrations to tell its story of a boy who gets lost traveling in a snowstorm with his father. He ends up making friends with the animals in the woods who share a snack with him and help him find his way back to his dad. :) I loved the details in the the illustrations—the snowflakes and constellations were both made up of animals.

  3. Museum Trip - In this wordless picture book, a boy imagines himself inside some of the exhibits when he goes on a field trip to a museum.

  4. The Red Book - In detailed illustrations, a young girl crosses oceans and continents to meet a new friend, in a wordless book-within-a-book story.

Red Sled book
#10
Red Sled
Written and illustrated by Lita Judge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

At night, a host of woodland creatures plays with a child’s red sled.

Brick by Brick book
#11
Brick by Brick
Written and illustrated by Giuliano Ferri
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A little mouse innocently plucks a flower from an old wall when a brick comes loose, and he can see through it for the first time. He and the other animals gradually and resolutely remove more and more bricks, until at last they can see another group of animals. Together they use the bricks that once divided them to construct a bridge to join their islands. This clever and touching wordless board book shows that walls can become bridges when everyone works together. It’s a hopeful message that all children should see now.

Peter Spier's Rain book
#12
Peter Spier's Rain
Written and illustrated by Peter Spier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This wordless picture book captures the beauty and wonder of a brother and sister’s joyous experiences in the rain. Come along as they explore their neighborhood, splash through puddles, see where the animals hide, and make footprints in the mud. From the first small drops of rain to the clear blue sky of a bright new morning, Peter Spier’s Rain will delight parents and children again and again.

Skunk on a String book
#13
Skunk on a String
Written and illustrated by Thao Lam
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a skunk gets his foot caught in the string of a helium balloon, he finds himself blown through unfamiliar landscapes. What’s a skunk to do?

Flora and the Flamingo book
#14
Flora and the Flamingo
Written and illustrated by Molly Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

In this wordless book with interactive flaps, a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.

  1. (Mostly) Wordless - As its title suggests, (Mostly) Wordless is a mostly wordless all-ages book filled with stories, short vignettes and character sketches told with either no, or few words.The book begins with the wordless mini-epic, “Ella and The Pirates,” an enchanting tale about a little girl and her imaginary adventures as a pirate as she sails through perilous waters, has sword fights and discovers buried treasure. This continually surprising and engaging book rewards repeat readings, with something new to discover on every page. For young readers and non-readers alike!

  2. Bee & Me - A beautiful wordless picture book brings a personal note to the plight of the honeybee and offers a message of hope. A little girl befriends a bee that takes her on a journey of discovery, revealing an action that every child can take to aid in conservation. In a wordless story told through enchanting illustrations, Bee & Me tells a tale of friendship and offers an introduction to the ecology of the natural world. Alison Jay’s original artwork brings the story gently to life, pointing out the sadness of a world without bees. An afterword makes clear to readers the important role these endangered insects play.

  3. Found - A wordless picture book about what we lose, what we find, and what we give back. Jenn’s beloved dog was lost sometime ago. Long enough that she has given up the search. But she still misses her friend. One day she finds a lost dog. She takes him in and despite a rocky start, she grows to love him. Until she spots his picture on a missing poster. His name is Roscoe, and he’s someone else’s best friend. Jenn knows she should return Roscoe, but she really doesn’t want to. Will Jenn do the right thing? Or will she keep this new dog she’s grown to love so much?

  4. Rainstorm - It can be lonely sometimes on a rainy day in a big house with no one else around and there’s only the quiet to keep you company. But if you find a key, a mysterious key, that leads you to an unexpected place . . . chances are your afternoon is about to get a lot more interesting.

Breakfast for Jack book
#19
Breakfast for Jack
Written and illustrated by Pat Schories
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

In this wordless picture book, there’s a lot going on at Jack’s house, and someone forgot to feed him.

The Boys book
#20
The Boys
Written and illustrated by Jeff Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A shy boy, seeking the courage to play baseball with the other children in a park, is coaxed out of his shell by some “old timers” sitting nearby who, in turn, discover they are still in the game.

Where's Walrus? book
#21
Where's Walrus?
Written and illustrated by Stephen Savage
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Follows Walrus on a journey through the city, as he tries on different hats to disguise himself from the chasing zookeeper.

The Brain Storm book
#22
The Brain Storm
Written by Linda Ragsdale and illustrated by Claudio Molina
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“A sturdy addition to the bad-mood shelf.” -Kirkus

This wordless picture book is a thought-provoking exploration of disruptive feelings. Readers may interpret these as anger, anxiety, or even a creative brain storm.

Follow along as a mood pesters a young boy and ends up rubbing off on all those around him. After a frustrating day under his version of a little dark cloud, he discovers that ultimately working through your feelings and emotions begins with you. The wordless pages inspire readers to “read” the story as they apply their own interpretations to the young boy’s plight.

Sign Off book
#23
Sign Off
Written and illustrated by Stephen Savage
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

From award-winning author-illustrator Stephen Savage comes a playful wordless picture book about what the figures on road signs do when no one is around! What do the figures on signs do when no one is watching? Under cover of night, they leave their signs to play and collaborate in this imaginative story by celebrated author-illustrator Stephen Savage.

  1. Free Fall - When he falls asleep with a book in his arms, a young boy dreams an amazing dream-about dragons, about castles, and about an unchartered, faraway land. And you can come along.

  2. Spot, the Cat - In this wordless picture book, a cat named Spot ventures out an open window and through a city on a journey, while his owner tries to find him.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!