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 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 children’s books, illustration edition

It is National Library Week, and what better time to write another roundup of our favorite children’s books?

Especially at Peeper’s age, words are not the only important factor in a great book: Illustration is at least as equally compelling. So when I head to the board books section at my local library, I flip through the pages to see if I like the visuals as much as the topic.

If I don’t like the illustrations, I put the book down and search for another.

Here, then, are a few of our most-loved, beautifully illustrated baby books (along with a few bonus stories!).

i can do it myselfI Can Do It Myself! by Steven Krensky, illustrated by Sara Gillingham. Toddlers love the empowerment that comes from picking out their own clothes and feeding themselves, and this bright book celebrates that independence. Pop art-like illustrations (think Roy Lichtenstein) are fun, visually arresting and unlike anything else you’ll see in the children’s section. I can’t get over Gillingham’s use of contrasting patterns that are, on the one hand, potentially seizure-inducing but are whimsical and exciting on the other.

how loud is a lionHow Loud Is A Lion? illustrated and written by Clare Beaton. Readers tramp through jungle and savannah, wandering past antelopes and zorillas (what’s a zorilla? Read to find out!), and all the while a lion is hiding in the background. Beaton’s hand-stitched work is inspired by folk art, and she uses felt, ribbon, beads and vintage fabrics to create the gorgeous tableaus. Beaton has dozens of other books; we’re reading Who Are You, Baby Kangaroo? right now.

baby bearBaby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Marlin, illustrated by Eric Carle. I couldn’t get away with a list of gorgeously illustrated kids’ books without mentioning Carle, could I? The rich, saturated colors against a white backdrop are his signature, and I love that I can see how he assembles the figures in this book. It introduces us to a menagerie of animals, and I can’t help but sing the text. This book transports me back to sitting on the floor in kindergarten, singing along and staring raptly at the pages my teacher, Mrs. Weineger, turned.

I already wrote about When I Was Born in my other children’s books post, but I have to include it again because I. Love. The. Illustrations.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Peeper’s other two favorite books of the moment, even if they’re not illustrated.

dogDog, by Matthew Van Fleet. Peeper has already begun to destroy it (the latest casualty: a wagging tail), but all the interaction is well worth a few rips here and there. She knows that the poodle has a fluffy coat she can touch and that the bull dog lifts its leg to pee. When she plays by herself, she lifts the pages and opens and closes the book over and over and over and over again. She could do it for an hour!

reachReach, by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisosvkis. Peeper laughs the minute I pick this one up. I know the rhymes by heart and could recite it any time, but she continues to be captivated by the babies who reach for their toes, milk, toys and daddy.

As a side note, I appreciate that baby faces books, including Reach, feature children of a wide range of races and ethnicities. Baby faces books are perhaps the only ones dedicated to diversity, when shelves are filled with white characters. (Of the 3,200 children’s books printed last year, fewer than 100 were about black main characters, according to this important op-ed challenging the whitewashed children’s book industry.)


What are your favorite books of the moment? What are your favorite illustrations?