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Wonderful Wordless Picture Books

Posted by Ann on February 1, 2010 at 9:41 AM in AwardsPicture BooksRecommendations
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In my posting on January 2, I suggested that we put together a list of the 10 best picture books from the decade that just passed. I said that list would be my posting this month. Since I have already changed my mind about my New Year's resolutions, I have also changed my plan for this posting. BUT I promise to get back to that list very soon.

Given this year's Caldecott Award recipient, The Lion and the Mouse, is an almost-wordless picture book, I want to talk about ways to use such books with children. Parents and teachers may be at a bit of a loss on ways to share these books with children. With the great assortment of wordless picture books available, it would be a shame if children just looked at the pictures with adults telling the story.

Let me first include some of my favorite wordless picture books. David Wiesner's books may well be the leaders of the group. Three of his books have been awarded the Caldecott Award: 2007 for Flotsam, 2002 for The Three Pigs, and 1992 for Tuesday.0618194576_l.gif0618007016_l.gif0395870828_l.gif

Raymond Briggs's The Snowman gave us the first "modern day" wordless picture book. 0375810676_l.gifMitsumasa Anno followed with many beautiful wordless (or almost wordless) picture books, my favorite being All in a Day.0613145135_l.gif

So how might we "read" these books with children? The youngest child will enjoy looking at the illustrations and will likely discuss what he sees. Jerry Pinkney would want us to spend a good bit of time on the end pages! Those endpages caught my eye when I shared them with you last November. pinkney endpages.jpg

Kindergarteners will begin to see how the pictures are connected to tell a story. Many are able to tell that story aloud. Second graders can start to write the story that goes along with the illustrations. Fourth graders are able to include a plot and describe the characters with greater elaboration. Wordless picture books should also be used with middle schoolers, who are able to expand the story being told in creative ways.

Enjoy The Lion and the Mouse with children of all ages.Take a look at the wordless picture books mentioned above. And let us know what other wordless picture books you have read and enjoyed.

Happy reading, Ann

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