Nonverbal books for children
Nonverbal books for children usually refer to picture books that, as their name implies, have no text; the story progresses solely with the help of the pictures in the book. These books are not targeted at small children, but at slightly older ones whose vocabulary is sufficient for them to tell in their own words what they see in the pictures. Cardboard-page first books for small children are not exactly nonverbal books, since they seldom have a progressing story. These first books consist of loosely connected pictures.
The purpose of nonverbal children's books—sometimes also called wordless or silent books—is to make the child translate into words the story presented by the pictures. An adult can assume the role of a listener and, when required, discreetly pose questions to lead the story on, while the child remains the teller of the story. Many children find this changing of the traditional roles of storyteller and listener fascinating.
Nonverbal children's books are definitely not “one-off books,” since children can find a totally different story in the book every time they read the book. This is certainly food for the imagination. Naturally, each child sees the story in their own way. Consequently, the same pictures tell myriad different stories. Books without text are also nonlinguistic and, thus, suitable for all families, regardless of their mother tongue. You can read nonverbal books, for example, at a daycare group where the children speak different languages among themselves. These books do not require literacy; only imagination. Nonverbal books can be an ideal first touch with the fascinating world of books for those not used to books, both children and adults. Furthermore, it is easy for children to read nonverbal books by themselves. Nonverbal books highlight the importance of illustration; even adults get to enjoy the fine pictures and relax in the middle of a unique story.
Click here to view Helmet libraries’ nonverbal children’s books. You can also reserve them through the above link to be sent to your own local library.
Let your imagination fly and read the pictures!
Text: Sanna Kostiainen
Photos: Tuuli Rauvala
Vantaa City Library