Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's In A Word? Books Without 'Em

Thinking back to The Fantastic Flying Books... by William Joyce, I realized how this animated short could spark a child's imagination.  As I've mentioned, the short itself has no verbal exchange of words, only music that sets the tone for the scene.  Just think of including this in a unit about wordless books to "jump start" the way students should approach that type of book.  The reader or viewer can tell what is happening without the spoken word, but they still get this deep sense of understanding.  

I am going to challenge myself to provide a unit like this to my students this coming year.  This will be just as exciting a unit for me since I love to go back and review what I've learned about illustrations.  I'm not asking students to make predictions based off the pictures or retell a formulated story.  I want them to look at a wordless book and tell me what emotions it evokes in them, what is happening, do the illustrations tell a story or poem or song, what is happening in their mind as they look at the picture (is the brain trying to make sense of the elements of the picture, is it using the picture to create a movie, is emotion welling up, etc).

So far, the books I would include are Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang, Wave by Suzy Lee, The Arrival by Shaun Tan, Journey by Aaron Becker, Flotsam by David Wiesner, Rainstorm by Barbara Lehman, Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola, Robot Dreams by Sara Varon (almost wordless), A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka, and The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.  Yes, the age groups for these books seem to jump all over, but I would use these books with 2nd grade and up.

Just imagine moving on to graphic novels after this... the two part analysis of illustrations and text/speech bubbles!!

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /

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