Share this Page

wordless picture books 1

I have a confession. I am not always the most thorough reader—I’m a bit of a skimmer. I’ve actually found myself on so many occasions having to go back in books because I missed a crucial detail that I had decided wasn’t worth paying attention to at the time. It’s a horrible habit, and I don’t recommend it.

However, if I am reading a book out loud to someone, it’s then that I am able to take in the full extent of the story. This is especially poignant in picture books. There are fantastic illustrations that narrate far more than you might realize that I have a habit of skipping over. For a long time, wordless picture books were particularly difficult for me because I wanted to skim them like I do everything else. And then I discovered why I love wordless picture books:

  1. It forces me to slow down and look at each illustration, to really focus on how it tells the story.

  2. Depending on the reader, there could be a different narration or interpretation.

  3. The illustrations can evoke a significant emotional response.Here are some of my favorite wordless picture books: 

3.15 BluebirdBLUEBIRD
By Bob Stakke
(2013)

This book is about a lonely boy wandering in New York City. A bluebird follows him and becomes his friend. When the boy is bullied by some kids in the park, the bluebird goes to protect him but is struck with a stick and dies. Saddened by the loss of his new friend, the boy is soon joined by a flock of birds that lift him to the sky while he lets the bluebird float away. I love this book. It handles many issues beautifully: loneliness, friendship, bullying, and loss. 

 

3.15 The SnowmanTHE SNOWMAN
By Raymond Briggs
(1978)

This is a beautifully illustrated book about a boy that builds a snowman who comes to life. The snowman comes into the house, tries on the father’s clothes, creates some disaster in the kitchen, and then goes flying off into the night with his creator on an adventure around the world. They return home, and the next morning the boy runs outside to find the snowman melted on the ground. Another great book about friendship, imagination, adventure, and loss.

 

3.15 JourneyJOURNEY
By Aaron Becker
(2013)

This story is the first of a trilogy about a lonely girl that draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and escapes into a world of wonder, adventure, and danger. With her red marker, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carries her on her journey. It’s a wonderfully illustrated story full of imagination and adventure. I accidentally read the third one first and was so impressed with the expanse of story without text that I immediately found the rest. It has such a strong visual narrative that it can appeal to a wider age range. 

 

Cookbooks

I love to flip through cookbooks! I like to read through the ingredients and see a picture of the delicious end result. I love it even more if the cookbook is more than just recipes, if it has a narrative to go along with the recipes; I get sucked in and often read the entire book. 

A few months ago, we were evaluating the cookbook area of the library and I savored spending time looking at these books. Over the few months we were working on this project I began making a list of the cookbooks that I felt were extremely well done. They had gorgeous pictures and intriguing stories behind the recipes. I even encouraged a few of my co-workers to tell me about the cookbooks they saw as standouts. Today I’m sharing just a few of the most beautiful cookbooks in our collection. 

3.20 The Farmette CookbookTHE FARMETTE COOKBOOK: RECIPES AND ADVENTURES FROM MY LIFE ON AN IRISH FARM
By Imen McDonnell
(2016)

From gorgeous pictures of the rolling hills of Ireland to recipes for Farmhouse Milk Bread, Maple Roasted Parsnips, and Irish wedding cake, this book has it all. Interspersed between the recipes are snippets from Imen’s life and the story of how this American city girl found her way to a working Irish farm. I love that the recipes give the ingredients in both the US and metric measurements. Scullery notes found at the end of many recipes give additional information for the home cook.

 

3.20 Breakfast for DinnerBREAKFAST FOR DINNER
By Lindsay Landis
(2013)

I love breakfast for dinner so this book was an instant hit for me! It includes many traditional breakfast recipes like Eggs Benedict but adds a twist to make the recipe a bit more filling for dinner time. Now you can have Steak and Eggs Benedict at the end of a long day. In addition to main dishes, this cookbook includes sides, starters, desserts and drinks. Using breakfast ingredients to make your dinner has never tasted better. 

 

3.20 MamushkaMAMUSHKA 
By Olia Hercules
(2015)

This book features recipes from Ukraine and Eastern Europe with stunning photographs. I loved the first paragraph from the introduction, “Mamushka…is not actually real word. My brother Sasha and I watched The Addams Family film for the first time in 1996 (everything came about five years late in post-Soviet Ukraine.) And at some point during the movie, a bunch of American actors suddenly spoke a made-up Eastern European language and danced the mamushka—“the dance of brotherly love” taught to the family by their Cossack cousins. Our whole family found this part of the film irresistibly hilarious and since then my brother and I renamed our mum Mamushka.” With this friendly beginning, I was hooked on taking a closer look at this cookbook. 

 

3.20 Cooking with Mary BerryCOOKING WITH MARY BERRY
By Mary Berry
(2016)

As a fan of The Great British Baking Show and DK books this book caught my attention. Mary Berry shares “simple recipes—great for families and friends” and in classic DK style this cookbook shows cooking techniques step by step. I particularly like that there are variations and notes to the cook throughout the book with tips and tricks. 

 

3.20 My Two SouthsMY TWO SOUTHS: BLENDING THE FLAVORS OF INDIA INTO A SOUTHERN KITCHEN
By Asha Gomez
(2016)

This cover is stunning, as are the end papers! Asha calls her style of cuisine “two souths cooking” with the flavors and dishes being rooted in her home country of India and her current home in Atlanta, Georgia. Each recipe has a story explaining the importance of the featured recipe to. There are many drool-worthy pictures and recipes featured, including the Banana Beignets. Yum! 

 

3.20 Cooking LightCOOKING LIGHT GLOBAL KITCHEN: THE WORLD’S MOST DELICIOUS FOOD MADE EASY
By David Joachim
(2014)

Get ready to explore the culinary world! From East Asia to Europe to North and Central America there are delicious foods in each and every country and region. The author challenges home cooks to taste the world in their own kitchen. I like how each chapter starts with a taste of the region being presented sharing the prominent spices and flavors, followed by photo heavy recipes. Each recipe clearly states the hands-on time and total time needed which can be helpful when planning to make the dish. 

 

3.20 Food AnatomyFOOD ANATOMY: THE CURIOUS PARTS AND PIECES OF OUR EDIBLE WORLD
By Julia Rothman
(2016)

While this book isn’t a cookbook (it doesn’t have any recipes in the traditional sense at least), I thought it still deserved a place on this list. The books above all have photographs highlighting the food mentioned. This book on the other hand, is filled with hand drawn and colored illustrations. Rothman gives a brief history of food before illustrating fruits, vegetable, meats, spices, street foods, and desserts that can be found the world over. I found this book to be completely captivating!

 

fashionable

Working at a library as a grown-up, I’m often really jealous of kids who get to read books I would have loved when I was their age but which didn’t exist yet. These days, kids interested in fashion have a bevy of books to choose from—something I will always be jealous of. Here are my favorite books for fashionable kids. 

3.16 For Audrey with LoveFOR AUDREY WITH LOVE: AUDREY HEPBURN AND GIVENCHY
By Philip Hopman
(2018)

This dual biography of Hubert de Givenchy (who passed away just last week) and his most famous client, Audrey Hepburn, is a beautiful, fashionable, and colorful story of two best friends. Young readers may not appreciate the depictions of a fish-out-of-water Audrey in famous movie costumes yet, but will still enjoy the water colors of beautiful dresses. 

 

3.16 BloomBLOOM: A STORY OF FAHION DESIGNER ELSA SCHIAPARELLI
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
(2018)

This new picture book biography is about Elsa Schiaparelli, a fashion designer known for creating innovative dresses that were works of art. This book is inspiring—reminding young readers that they can accomplish great things and “bloom” into something beautiful—and filled with illustrations of flowers and dresses in Elsa’s signature shade of hot pink. 

 

3.16 CinderellaCINDERELLA: A FASHIONABLE TALE
By Steven Guarnaccia
(2013)

In this fashionable and “mod” retelling of Cinderella, the titular character is transformed into haute couture by a fairy godfather who looks suspiciously like Karl Lagerfeld. Fashion aficionados will love the references to some recognizable styles of the 20th century (the end pages will help you identify them) and little fashionistas will love the bright and unique illustrations. 

 

3.16 When Royals Wore RufflesWHEN ROYALS WORE RUFFLES: A FUNNY & FASHIONABLE ALPHABET
By Chesley McLaren and Pamela Jaber
(2009)

This ABC book takes kids on a simple tour through the history of fashion mentioning ruffs, chopines, flappers, and more. The swirly, often silly, illustrations enhance the goofy (and true) stories about high fashion through time. This book is a must for fashionable readers and the pink cover definitely adds to the kid appeal. 

 

3.16 Bad Girls of FashionBAD GIRLS OF FASHION: STYLE REBELS FROM CLEOPATRA TO LADY GAGA
By Jennifer Croll
Illustrated by Ada Buchholc
2016 

This is the only book on my list that isn’t a picture book, but it is still filled with illustrations of fashionable ladies and the clothes that made them famous. This book tells the story of famous women who made history because they were well-dressed and not in spite of it. Slightly older readers with an interest in celebrity and fashion will love this in-depth look at the power of clothes.

 

st patricks

Erin go Bragh!

It’s time to celebrate Irish immigration to the United States with St. Patrick’s Day! This holiday is held on March 17th of every year, and honors the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. Irish immigrants to the US first celebrated this holiday as a way to remember their homeland. Only later did it become a hit back in Ireland. Today, it is a national Irish holiday celebrated by parades, going to Catholic mass, drinking, and eating. Sound like fun? Here are some ways you can celebrate this holiday with a traditional Irish flair.

What to Eat

3.14 My Irish TableMY IRISH TABLE
By Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorm
(2014)

You cannot party without food, and this book is just what you need in order to get an authentically Irish taste of St. Patrick’s Day. This volume is a treasure trove of beautiful color photos and authentic Irish recipes. Each recipe has a little anecdote to go with it so you can feel like you are learning about Irish culture along the way. I suggest trying some traditional potato dishes, or even the Irish Stew if you are feeling ambitious. Don’t forget brown bread or soda bread to round out the meal! 

 

What to Drink

3.14 BeerBEER
By DK Eyewitness Companions
(2007)

The Irish are famous for their beer, and the internationally popular Guinness craft has even become an icon of Irish culture. There are many other Irish beers to choose from. If you want to learn more about Irish beers, as well as many other varieties from across the globe, this Eyewitness book is a great little resource.   

 

3.14 Homemade Root BeerHOMEMADE ROOT BEER, SODA, & POP
By Stephen Edward Cresswell
(1998)

While beer is traditional, it is not for everyone. If you do not drink alcohol, you could a pint of the next best thing—root beer! Of course there are lots of commercial options out there for this delectable soda pop, but why not impress your St. Patrick’s Day party guests with some homemade stuff?  

 

Irish Jams

We love Irish music so much that we have a dedicated section of CDs for it (INTL IRELAND). Head over to the music CDs and look in the section labeled “International – Ireland.” You’ll find lots to choose from, including The High Kings, Celtic Woman, and the Young Dubliners. If Celtic music isn’t quite your jam, check out The Dropkick Murphys or even U2.   

Irish History

Why not read up on the Emerald Isle and learn a little bit about Irish culture or history? THE STORY OF IRELAND is a fantastic history of Ireland and the Irish people. On the other hand, since St. Patrick’s Day became popular due to Irish immigration to the US, how about reading THE IRISH AMERICANS?

Whatever you choose, we here at the library hope you have a wonderful holiday celebration!

 

Provo Library Blog

Your daily stop for recommendations, reviews, and random facts about the Provo City Library. Look for new content every week day. 

Blog Contributors

Other Blogs

Library Staff Reviews 

Children's Book Reviews 

Archive