Stories Without Words (the subject heading to use if you’re ever searching for them in a catalog) are great tools for emerging readers, reluctant readers, story times, and all kinds of programs. I love them because I’m a visual person, and sometimes the absence of words makes these books feel much more poignant to me. So this is the latest booklist I’ve made. The first couple of books are my absolute favorites, then I’ve added the complete booklist I compiled. The ones with an * link to whole posts I wrote about them.

The Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller (2006). This French book introduces us to Polo the dog, who steps out of his front door and embarks on a long journey where he flies, sails, climbs, and gets lots of help from new friends he meets along the way. It is whimsical and full of imagination, the kind of story kids will return to again and again. The illustrations are simple and gorgeous, and while I think it’s too long for a single lesson or program, it has a lot of potential for parent/child reading and maybe a unit on imagination and resourcefulness.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2006) is a work of art. This surreal and moving story of a man who immigrates to a foreign land to make a better life for his family is beautiful and strange. Shadows of dragon-tail like shapes haunt the home and family he leaves behind. Wondrous creatures, a language of symbols, and strange machines greet him in his new country, bringing the reader in to the feeling of isolation and frustration. He meets new friends and learns how to survive in this new place. This is not only a powerful story of immigration; it’s also a beautiful fantasy.

The Booklist

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