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20 Picture Books Without Words We Love

Written by Sara Langer

Yes, books with words are super important in teaching youngsters how to read. But the benefits of picture books without words are also numerous, and can allow kids’ and parents’ imaginations to run wild. According to Common Sense Media, wordless books can help youngsters develop the following skills:

Literacy. Toddlers and preschoolers can learn how a book works—front to back, left to right, top to bottom. They practice listening, comprehension, and interpreting visual images. Following a story helps kids understand the structure of storytelling—cause and effect, conflict and resolution, character development, and a narrative arc with a beginning, middle, and end.
Vocabulary and Verbal Skills. By reading a wordless book with an adult or a more knowledgeable peer, kids can learn to identify objects, people, places, animals, and actions and narrate a story based on visual cues. This helps kids understand stories once they start reading and can inspire them to write their own stories—an expression of literacy.
Confidence. A toddler or preschooler is proud to have finished a favorite book and to have understood the whole story from start to finish without adult help.
A Love of Books and Art. Wordless books can be enjoyed by readers of all ages and can develop a taste for reading for pleasure and delight in illustration.
Easy Access. Books without text are great for kids who speak different languages, are learning English, or have developmental or learning difficulties that make reading words challenging.

To prove the many joys of these wordless wonders, we’ve rounded up our own Top 20 favorites below. Read about ’em, tell us about your faves in the comments below, and make sure to queue a few of them up in your next library stack.

For more roundups on great kids books, check out our pieces on 15 Children’s Books That Help Build Self-Esteem, 25 Children’s Books That Inspire Empathy, 16 Great Sex Ed Books For Kids, Tweens, and Teens, 18 Great Kids Books About Gender, 20+ Feminist Books For Kids, Kids Books That Encourage Healthy Eating, and The Most Beautiful Childrens Books To Give (Or Receive) As Gifts.

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