Book list: Silent children’s books

In this month of noise, we’ve made a list of silent books.

We were very pleased to have three Gecko Press books selected for the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) 2021 silent book collection, with Aleph by Janik Coat chosen as an Honour Book. You can read more about their project here.

We’ve posted before about wordless books, including from children’s reading researcher Elaine Reese about studies into children’s reading and different styles for reading silent books and a book list of lecturer Nicola Daly’s favourites.

For those who enjoy the possibilities of wordless books, here is the Gecko Press silent book collection, in order of reading age. We love these four verbs for enjoying reading these books with children: interpret, imagine, engage, react…


AlephAleph cover by Janik Coat

“This is gold and will have that baby in your lap making those wide-eyed ‘ooh’ faces, as synapses fire happily in their brain.”   Kirkus Reviews

“A book for the very young, it contains page after page of stark, bold images of common shapes, objects, and animals, presented wordlessly. If you have a hip friend with a new baby, this is the book to gift.”   The Most Astonishingly Unconventional Children’s Books of 2019,  Travis Jonker



Monkey on the Run Monkey on the Run coverby Leo Timmers

“The silly antics of the little monkey provide forward momentum, but the details in each illustration kept calling us back for a more thorough examination.”  A New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book 

“Through it all, the curious little monkey remains admirably cool and mischievously confident—and as delighted by the surroundings as readers will be.”   Publishers Weekly


The Pencil coverThe Pencil by Paula Bossio

“It’s the perfect example of how books can help children diffuse or learn to diffuse their fears.”   Kate De Goldi, Radio New Zealand National







The Chicken Thief Chicken Thief coverby Béatrice Rodriguez

“An unusual love story unfolds across visually captivating spreads, with the pictures perfectly capturing every detail of the high drama at the heart of this stunning, wordless story.”  The Guardian

“It’s like watching a very good short film, full of drama, jokes and unexpected twists.”   50 Best Children’s Books, New Zealand Listener


The lazy friend book, Ronan Badel, wordless picture book, book about a slothThe Lazy Friend by Ronan Badel

“At first, [my son] asked where the words were, but as we looked through the beautiful, comically illustrated pages, he started to talk about what was happening, and the story unfolded as only a four-year-old could imagine. At breakfast this morning, instead of eating his cornflakes, he told me the story again and again.”   Tall, Short, Tiny and Pickle

Oink coverOink by David Elliot

Not exactly wordless, but told only in animal sounds . . . Moo, Baa, Oink!

“The delicacy and subtlety of the art only adds to the frisky humor. ”  New York Times

“Told only in animal dialect and sound effects but with brilliant visual details, this story will become a bathtime favorite.”   Starred review, Kirkus Reviews


MigrantsMigrants by Issa Watanabe

“We bring our own experiences to this book, and some readers may find this image challenging. But many children welcome opportunities to talk about things that matter, and do so with unexpected insight… They do not tell us what to think, or promote a political viewpoint — but they do urge us to feel, imagine and respond. “  5 stars, Books for Keeps

“It’s a rare feat: a wordless picture book in which the absence of text intensifies the stories it tells . . . A raw, startling portrait of migration.”   Starred review, Kirkus Reviews


The Holidays coverThe Holidays by Blexbolex

“An entirely new, wholly different form of bewitching visual storytelling.”  Brainpickings

“A surreal, challenging, engaging beauty of a book.”   Children’s Books Ireland





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