Our favorite children’s books with no words

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A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes a wordless picture book is worth a big ol’ internet shout-out. These, our 10 favorite children’s books with no words, are just those.

Wordless picture books still have a lot of story in 'em. Here are our favorite children's books without words. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Wordless picture books can be intimidating to adults: You have to wing it, since there is no text to read. But making up a story as you go along—and letting your child have a go at storytelling, too—is fun and fosters pre-literacy skills in little readers.

Children’s books with no words encourage imagination and curiosity in kids; they lead little ones to begin to tell stories; they prompt kids to look for plot clues in illustrations; and they promote close listening, as the story may change each time you read the book.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out these children’s books with no words the next time you’re at the library and see for yourself. Read more

Our favorite children’s books: Books to say “no” to

Pretty much the day Peeper turned two, she rediscovered the word “no”—and all its power (to refuse, to state her opinion, to frustrate her parents…). Nowadays, one of her most used responses is the “no-yes,” an expression unique to toddlers who simultaneously refuse and demand things like popsicles and bunny crackers.

It makes sense, then, that Peeper delights in books that give voice to this milestone. Here, then, are some titles your little one can say “no” to again and again.

Favorite Children's Books to Say No To


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The 10 Best Unconventional Alphabet Books: What we’re reading

The 10 Best Unconventional ABC BooksI am so sick of “X is for xylophone.”

I get it. There aren’t many words that start with x. And “X is for xenopus” will likely garner blank stares from the preschool set.

But when you read books to kids nonstop, the tedium of alphabet books can become A is for aggravating.

So here is me being H is for helpful. Nab these unorthodox alphabet books the next time you’re at the library. You and your kids will love breaking free of the predictability of A to Z. Read more

Our favorite children’s books: Shapes

SHAPES!Some of my earliest memories feature my great-grandmother, whom we all called Pretty Grandma and after whom Peeper is named. I sometimes watched Hollywood Squares with her—for whatever reason, she loved the trivia and cheesy banter. It was all over my head, but that’s the first thing I think of when someone says “shapes.”

Peeper, and probably your preschooler, doesn’t automatically envision a celebrity tic-tac-toe gameshow, though.

To help little ones learn about squares, triangles, circles—and even quatrefoils, add these books about shapes to your reading rotation. Read more

Our favorite children’s books: Books about being afraid

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“Too noisy!”

Peeper’s complaints about noise, and the genuine fear loud sounds inspire in her, continue unabated in these parts, and we’ve learned to adapt. I make cookie dough when she’s asleep. I look ahead to avoid loud things like lawn mowers or steam trains in our path. And we are patient when her conversations repeatedly steer back to the fact that something—a seal, tractor, Jeep—is “too noisy.”

Alas, we haven’t yet found a book that deals with fear of loud sounds, but we like these other books about being afraid. At some point, she might become afraid of the dark, or of getting sucked down the bath drain, or of vampire zombie bats living under the crib. (Who knows? She has a vivid imagination already.)

If your little one is spooked, these books about being afraid might help. At the least, they will say he’s not alone in being afraid.

Read on for a little courage—or at least encouragement!

When your child is scared, books about being afraid can lend a little courage. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Our favorite kids’ books: Singable stories

We sat cross-legged in a circle on the classroom’s thin-carpeted floor. I leaned forward toward Mrs. Weineger, my kindergarten teacher, and her spot in front of us eager 5-year-olds. I could barely contain myself in the moments before she opened the book.

Instead of simply reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, she sang it. Later, she posted pictures of the colorful animals around the room, and we incorporated the song into our sing-alongs.

I think of Mrs. Weineger—her wide smile, the crinkly skin behind her large glasses, her fluffy orange hair (which, incidentally, made her look a lot like the teacher in Eric Carle’s book)—every time I sing this book to Peeper.

Our little bookworm loves it, and no surprise there: It combines two of her favorite things, books and song.

Here are a few of our other favorite singable stories. Clear your throat and make sure the windows are closed—you’ll want to sing these books over and over! Read more

Our favorite children’s books: Interactive edition

Ten Thousand Hour Mama Baby and BooksNow that Peeper has added “book” to her repertoire of signs, she asks for one almost as much as she requests milk. And that’s a lot.

We spend a huge portion of play time reading. She has very strong opinions about which story she wants, using her pointing finger to indicate one on the floor—or trying to squirm out of my arms and leap to one on the end table.

Lately, she loves books that do something. If it has flaps, windows, cut-outs, silky fur—or even better, all of the above—she will probably love it.

That means we end up reading some of the same titles a million times in a row. (I’m looking at you, Dog.) I don’t mind, though. Watching her delight in a story gives me all the patience I need. And now that she concentrates hard enough to tug a pull tab and make a piece on the page move, story time is even better.

Here are our favorite interactive children’s books.

CatCat, by Matthew Van Fleet. We just gave this to Peeper for her first birthday. As it was created by the same folks behind the runaway hit Dog, I knew it’d be a blast. Proof: Peeper has already torn several pieces, meaning she’s really into it. It includes humor adults will appreciate, too: When a feline tips over a vase, it’s a catastrophe, naturally!

The Robot BookThe Robot Book, by Heather Brown. In this charming book, kids get to play with all the parts and pieces of a robot: They can twist a bolt and swing the robot’s arm, for example. I was impressed by how intricate it is: You turn a gear to rotate the robot’s mouth. I like to play with it as least as much as Peeper does.



Count 123Count 123. Peeper loves the simple knockout photos, which we practice naming. She also likes lifting the flaps and tracing the numbers, which are recessed into the page. She’s still too little to count, but this would be a terrific book for children learning their numbers. It was a sad day when we had to return this to the library.



Chomp ZooChomp Zoo, by Heather Brown. Ingeniously designed, the same pull tab makes the teeth of a half-dozen animals chomp up and down. Peeper loves moving the teeth and sticking her fingers in the mouths of the creatures. I also love how friendly the animals look. They seem to be barely containing their laughter.



Where's Spot?Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill. I remember the many adventures of Spot from when I was little, and I’d go straight for these books whenever we visited the library. I’m so glad Peeper likes the tan doggy, too! She grins every time I say, “Peekaboo!” when she lifts a flap to find not a hiding Spot but another creature. (A snake in the clock and a lion under the stairs—it’s quite the menagerie in this house.)



On My LeafOn My Leaf, by Sara Gillingham. This book combines cut-out windows and a finger puppet in a sweet story about a ladybug and her family. Peeper grabs the soft felt ladybug and sticks her hands through the windows as she turns the page. There’s an entire series like it that features an owl in a tree, a dolphin in the ocean, a monkey in the jungle and more.



What are your favorite books for curious little ones?