Wordless Books

There aren’t enough words to describe these wonderful titles. Wordless books can be a huge asset for emerging readers and a great resource for parents and educators. Here are some we love:

Antonia: A Journey to a New Home
By Dipacho
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781662650451 | MineditionUS
Like so many people around the world facing difficult times, the little girl and her family in this eye-catching and emotionally satisfying picture book have had to leave their home. The girl has brought along her belongings and her friendly, curious dog, Antonia. While waiting for a boat to take them across a river, she plays with other children who’ve also brought pets – a duck and a bird. But on the other side of the river, Antonia goes missing in the brush. The girl is distraught, until a new friend releases his own pet bird from its cage in an extraordinary gesture of solidarity and freedom. With colorful, whimsical illustrations and an uplifting message of resilience, this US debut from a talented Colombian creator will leave readers with a full heart.

Dandelion’s Dream
By Yoko Tanaka
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204537 | Candlewick
In a meadow filled with dandelion buds just about to flower, one dandelion blooms into a real lion. Roots and leaves unfurl into four tiny paws and a long tail with a fluffy yellow tuft. What a great, wide world there is to explore when you have paws instead of roots: there are fast trains to ride, regal ships to sail, and cities with lights as bright as Dandelion’s field in full bloom. But will a real lion ever be content to go back to being a rooted dandelion? Yoko Tanaka’s exquisite illustrations take us on an adventure where even the smallest seeds contain cosmic dreams.

Field Trip to the Ocean Deep
By John Hare
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446308 | Margaret Ferguson Books
Students dressed in deep sea helmets travel to the ocean deep in a yellow school-bus submarine. When they get there, they frolic with fish, chase luminescent squid, and discover an old shipwreck. But when it’s time to return to the submarine bus, one student lingers to take a photo of a treasure chest and falls into a deep ravine. Luckily, the child makes an unexpected friend – a maybe-not-so-extinct sea creature called a Pleiosaur – that’s happy to entertain the young explorer until the teacher returns.

Hike
By Pete Oswald
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201574 | Candlewick
In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they’re going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive – and closer than ever – as they document their hike and take their place in family history. In detail-rich panels and textured panoramas, Pete Oswald perfectly paces this nearly wordless adventure, allowing readers to pause for subtle wonders and marvel at the views. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child, with resonant themes for Earth Day, Hike is a breath of fresh air.

How to Talk Monster
By Lynn Plourde
Illustrated by Mike Lowery
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525515807 | Putnam BFYR
A Little Boy is just trying to go to sleep when a Little Monster creeps up to his window and . . . says goop-zee-googy! Or, peek-a-boo!, in case you don’t speak Monster. Hilarity ensues as the Little Monster tries to play with the Little Boy despite the language barrier. While at first scared, the Little Boy comes to Little Monster’s rescue when he gets hurt and the two new friends are able to play together all night long. Complete with a glossary translating the monster language used throughout, this classic nighttime adventure story will have little readers wishing for a Little Monster to knock on their window at night.

I Walk with Vanessa: A Picture Book Story About a Simple Act of Kindness
By Kerascoët
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524769550 | Schwartz & Wade
Inspired by real events, I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. By choosing only pictures to tell their story, the creators underscore the idea that someone can be an ally without having to say a word. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old.

Journey
By Aaron Becker
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763660536 | Candlewick
A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

La La La
By Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Jaime Kim
72 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763658335 | Candlewick
“La la la . . . la.” A little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Gathering her courage and her curiosity, she skips farther out into the world, singing away to the trees and the pond and the reeds – but no song comes back to her. Day passes into night, and the girl dares to venture into the darkness toward the light of the moon, becoming more insistent in her singing, climbing as high as she can, but still there is silence in return. Dejected, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be awakened by an amazing sound. . . . She has been heard. At last. With the simplest of narratives and the near absence of words, Kate DiCamillo conveys a lonely child’s yearning for someone who understands. With a subtle palette and captivating expressiveness, Jaime Kim brings to life an endearing character and a transcendent landscape that invite readers along on an emotionally satisfying journey.

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

Stormy: A Story About Finding a Forever Home
By Guojing
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524771768 | Schwartz & Wade
In this heartwarming, wordless picture book that’s perfect for dog lovers, a woman visits a park and discovers a pup hiding under a bench – scruffy, scared, and alone. With gentle coaxing, the woman tries to befriend the animal, but the dog is too scared to let her near. Day after day, the woman tries – and day after day, the dog runs away. With perseverance and patience – and help from an enticing tennis ball – a tentative friendship begins. But it’s not until a raging storm forces the two together that a joyous and satisfying friendship takes hold. Guojing poignantly explores how trust doesn’t always come easily, but how, over time, and with kindness and determination, forever love can grow.

The Midnight Fair
By Gideon Sterer
Illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536211153 | Candlewick
Far from the city, but not quite the countryside, lies a fairground. When night comes and the fair is empty, something unexpected happens. Wild animals emerge from the forest, a brave raccoon pulls a lever, and the roller coasters and rides explode back into bright, neon life. It’s time for the woodland creatures to head to the fair! In a gorgeous wordless picture book, author Gideon Sterer and illustrator Mariachiara Di Giorgio offer an exuberant take on what animals are up to when humans are asleep. Suffused with color and light, the panel illustrations celebrate the inherent humor and joy in deer flying by on chair-swings, a bear winning a stuffed bear, three weasels carrying a soft pretzel, and a badger driving a bumper car. With thrills both spectacular and subtle, Midnight Fair will have readers punching their tickets again and again to revel in this fantastic nocturnal world.

For ideas on how to use some of these titles, check out this activity kit.

Grandparents Day 2021

Every year, National Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day – that means this year it falls on Sunday, September 12! Cuddle up to your grandparents today with one of these books.

Ada and the Galaxies
By Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv
Illustrated by Susanna Chapman
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215618 | MIT Kids Press
New York Times best-selling author Alan Lightman, in collaboration with Olga Pastuchiv, brings galaxies close in a stunning picture-book tribute to the interconnectedness of the natural world. Layering photographs taken from the Hubble telescope into charming and expressive art, illustrator Susanna Chapman zooms in on one child’s experiences: Ada knows that the best place for star-gazing is on the island in Maine where she vacations with her grandparents. By day, she tracks osprey in the trees, paddles a kayak, and hunts for shells. But she’s most in her element when the sun goes down and the stars blink to life. Will the fog this year foil her plans, or will her grandfather find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast puzzle of the universe . . . until the weather turns?

Free
By Sam Usher
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217049 | Templar
When a boy and his grandad take care of a little bird, the boy wants to keep it, but Grandad knows it must return to its natural habitat in the wild, where it can spread its wings and be free. And so begins an exhilarating journey into the mountains to return the bird to where it belongs. The first in a new quartet of enchanting picture books where a boy and his beloved grandad discover the wonder of the natural world.

Goodnight Ganesha
By Nadia Salomon
Illustrated by Poonam Mistry
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593203613 | Philomel BFYR
As nighttime falls over the city, two children visiting their grandparents in India find there’s so much fun to be had! Whether it’s listening to epic stories or observing rituals in the puja room, there are many moments that make this time together special. In this beautiful, rhyming ode to bedtime, the only thing more universal than getting ready for bed and saying goodnight is the love between children and their grandparents.

Grandude’s Green Submarine
By Paul McCartney
Illustrated by Kathryn Durst
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593372432 | Random House BFYR
Grandude’s inventions are the stuff of legend, and his new green submarine doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it flies as well as submerges! Grandude whisks the grandkids off on another adventure, but he and the Chillers soon find themselves in a pickle. Suddenly, it’s Nandude to the rescue! Nandude is an explorer as courageous as Grandude, with an amazing accordion-ship to boot! Between Grandude’s magic compass and Nandude’s magical music, everyone arrives home safely. But not before enjoying a parade, dancing rainforest animals, and a narrow escape from a grabby octopus. This tale is perfect for little explorers and Paul McCartney fans alike! Artist Kathryn Durst returns with glorious, humor-filled illustrations that are as beautiful as ever.

Maud and Grand-Maud
By Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Kenard Pak
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918692 | Tundra Books
Maud loves the weekends that she stays over at her grandma’s house. There’s always breakfast-for-supper, matching nightgowns, black-and-white movies and best of all – having someone to listen to her dreams for when she grows up. But what makes the visit extra-special is what Grand-Maud has hidden in an old chest under her bed. Sometimes there are paint sets, toys, homemade cookies, handknit mittens or sweaters. But Maud finds a wonderful surprise when she finds a belonging from Grand-Maud’s childhood. When she grows up, Maud wants to be just like Grand-Maud.

My Nana’s Garden
By Dawn Casey
Illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217117 | Templar
A lyrical, stunningly illustrated book about love, loss, and the healing power of nature.  A little girl visits her grandmother in summer and winter, and together they explore the wonders of her garden. Until, one day, Nana isn’t there anymore. But as winter gives way to spring, the girl learns that life goes on, and so does the memory of those we love.

Noah’s Seal
By Layn Marlow
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536218510 | Candlewick
Waiting is hard. In a gentle multigenerational story that blurs the boundaries of real and imagined, Noah waits on shore while Nana fixes their sailboat. The boat will take them out to sea where the seals live, and Noah can hardly contain himself. In the meantime, he sculpts his own seal out of sand. Noah collects shells for the seal’s speckled back, spiky dune grass for whiskers, two shiny pebbles for eyes, and a smiling line of seaweed for a mouth. He lies beside his new friend to watch the rolling sea until a storm blows in and Noah must take cover. Later, he wonders: did his seal swim away? Readers will delight in pondering the mystery too in this sun-splashed book for young adventurers – an essential summer-vacation read.

On the Trapline
By David A. Robertson
Illustrated by Julie Flett
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266681 | Tundra Books
A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago – a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination, and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.

Out into the Big Wide Lake
By Paul Harbridge
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265592 | Tundra Books
It’s Kate’s first time visiting her grandparents on her own at their lakeside home. She’s nervous but excited at the adventure ahead. She helps her grandfather with his grocery deliveries by boat, where she meets all the neighbors, including a very grumpy old man named Walter. And she makes best friends with her grandparents’ dog, Parbuckle. Her grandmother even teaches her to pilot the boat all by herself! When her grandfather takes ill suddenly, it’s up to Kate – but can she really make all those deliveries, even to grumpy old Walter? She has to try! Based on the author’s sister, Kate is a lovable, brave, smart, and feisty character who will capture your heart in this gorgeous and moving story about facing fears and gaining independence.

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

Sweet Pea Summer
By Hazel Mitchell
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536210347 | Candlewick
A young girl must stay with her grandparents while her mother is in the hospital. At first, it’s hard at first to focus on anything but missing and worrying about her mom. But then Grandpa suggests that she help out in his garden. And what a garden it is! There are rows and rows of vegetables and all kinds of flowers, but the most beautiful of all are Grandpa’s sweet peas. Maybe, Grandpa suggests, she can take care of them over the summer and enter them into the flower show when the season ends. The problem is, nothing seems to go right with the sweet peas. No matter what she does, the flowers keep dying. Until finally, the mystery is solved – but will the sweet peas bloom in time for the show? If only her mother were there . . . With warm, child-friendly illustrations and a simple narration, author-illustrator Hazel Mitchell tells a timeless story about holding on to hope in hard times and finding the strength and determination to see it through. A brief author’s note at the end offers a bit of history and a few details about sweet peas for aspiring gardeners.

Tea Time
By Beth Ferry
Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524741082 | Putnam BFYR
Frannie and Grandy both have an idea about what the perfect day should look like, but when that day arrives, there is a migh-TEA mix-up. Tea gets splashed, sandwiches smashed, and expectations, crushed. Luckily, Frannie and Grandy discover that a perfect day is just one they spend together. New York Times bestselling author Beth Ferry partners with award-winning illustrator Dana Wulfekotte to bring us a funny and tender ode to the relationship between children and grandparents.

The Dreamweavers
By G. Z. Schmidt
272 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823444236 | Holiday House
Since their parents’ strange disappearance several years ago, 12-year-old twins Mei and Yun have been raised by their grandfather, who makes the best mooncakes around using a secret ingredient. On the day of the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival, the emperor sends his son to sample Grandpa’s renowned mooncakes – but instead of tasting wonderful, they are horrible and bitter, strangely mirroring the odd, gloomy atmosphere and attitudes that have been washing over the village in the last few days. Grandpa is arrested for insulting and harming the prince, and Mei and Yun realize they are the only two people who will come to Grandpa’s aid. The twins set out on foot for the long journey to the emperor’s palace where Grandpa’s being taken, but a surprising stop in the eerie City of Ashes, a visit with the legendary, mystical Jade Rabbit, and an encounter with a powerful poet whose enchanted words spread curses, influence just how Mei and Yun will manage to clear their grandfather’s name.

The War with Grandma
By Robert Kimmel Smith and Ann Dee Ellis
336 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593127469 | Delacorte Press
In this sequel to The War with Grandpa, Meg is excited when she hears the Centennial Strawberry Days Celebration is holding a competition for kids. The winner will be crowned the official Strawberry Days Ambassador and get a pair of electric bikes! Meg knows with Dad as her partner, there’s no way she can lose. But Meg’s strawberry dreams turn sour when Dad can’t participate and, worse, he’s already invited Grandma Sally to replace him. Without even asking Meg! Grandma likes to play by her own rules and Meg realizes her chances at winning are at an all-time low. For Meg this means war! Only, Grandma is tougher than she looks and willing to give as good as she gets. As the competition begins, it becomes clear that Meg’s summer will have the most epic showdown ever.

Time for Bed, Old House
By Janet Costa Bates
Illustrated by A. G. Ford
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536209983 | Candlewick
Isaac is excited about having a sleepover at Grandpop’s house, but he’s a little nervous about being away from home for the first time. Luckily, his knowing Grandpop tells him it’s not quite time to go to bed yet – first, he needs Isaac’s help in putting the house to bed. Quietly and slowly, they move from room to room, turning out lights and pulling down shades, as Grandpop gently explains the nighttime sounds that Isaac finds unfamiliar. Now it’s time to read the house a bedtime story (Isaac is good at reading the pictures). By the time the house is settled in for the night, Isaac and Grandpop are ready for bed, too. Janet Costa Bates’ tender story and A. G. Ford’s cozy illustrations will have families – and extended families or friends – eager to take a wise Grandpop’s cue and embrace a new nighttime tradition.

When Grandfather Flew
By Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrated by Chris Sheban
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823444892 | Neal Porter Books
Milo’s grandfather is fascinated with birds. He admires their freedom and never loses an opportunity to point out the things that make them special. He can’t see like he used to, so Milo helps him spot and take care of some of his favorites: hovering Kestrels, fragile Chickadees, and the soaring Bald Eagle. One day when Milo comes home, Grandpa isn’t there, but when he sees a Bald Eagle swoop through the sky above, he knows Grandpa got his wish of being reborn in the skies. With When Grandfather Flew, acclaimed author Patricia MacLachlan brings readers an honest, reflective, and deeply moving portrait of grief and memory.

When I Was a Fairy
By Tom Silson
Illustrated by Ewa Poklewska-Koziello
32 Pages | Ages 5-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781838740207 | Flying Eye Books
When I Was a Fairy is a heart-warming tale about love, loss, and growing old. Touching on themes of dementia, old age, and relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren, this is not only a story about fairies, but also on the magic of life and what we can share with one another from generation to generation.

Wild
By Sam Usher
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536220001 | Templar
A boy and his granddad are taking care of someone’s cat for the day. The boy does lots of reading up about what cats like, but this cat doesn’t seem to like anything! And then it runs off into the wild, leading them to a jungle adventure of their own. The second title in a quartet of imaginative picture books in which a boy and his beloved granddad discover the wonder of the natural world.

CTV Your Morning Kids’ Book Segment on I Read Canadian Day

Our Marketing and Publicity Director, Vikki VanSickle, was on CTV’s Your Morning today to talk about some of her top kids book picks for I Read Canadian Day. Check out our titles from her recommendations below and don’t forget to watch her segment for the full list!

AGES 3-7

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story
By Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Mark Fearing
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524714512 | Knopf BFYR
After centuries alone in his old castle, Vlad is ready to try something new. When he hears the local hockey team gushing about how they’ll crush and destroy their opponents in the next game, he knows he’s found the activity for him! Vlad immediately gives the game his all, but he soon realizes that super-human powers don’t mean much in hockey without a mastery of the basics. After weeks of practice, he’s finally ready for the big game . . . but can a hundreds-of-years-old vampire really learn new tricks? This hilarious, energetic picture book encourages teamwork, perseverance, and a love of hockey that will last a lifetime, even for an immortal being.

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

AGES 4-8

Maya’s Big Scene
By Isabelle Arsenault
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267602 | Tundra Books
Maya is an imposing, burgeoning playwright and loves to have the kids in her Mile End neighborhood bring her scenes to life. Her latest work, about a feminist revolution, is almost ready for public performance. But as her actors begin to express their costume preferences, Maya quickly learns that their visions may not match hers . . . and as both Director and Queen, Maya demands obedience and loyalty in her queendom of equality! But she soon realizes – with the help of her friends and subjects – that absolute bossiness corrupts absolutely!

AGES 6-10

Super Detectives: Simon and Chester #1
By Cale Atkinson
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267428 | Tundra Books
Welcome to the world of Simon and Chester, ghost and boy duo extraordinaire.
They like to kick butt and take names.
They don’t like chores.
They are best friends.
And they are about to solve the mystery of a lifetime.
(Oh, and eat some snacks probably.)
Join Simon and Chester in their first adventure, and fall in love with this hilarious odd couple by fan favorite author and illustrator Cale Atkinson.