Our top picks of girl-empowering wordless picture books that will send kids' imaginations soaring!
Storytime is a popular ritual for many children — but what if the story has no words? Wordless picture books provide a unique storytelling experience, one that’s more interactive than a regular picture book: instead of just listening to you read, you and your child get to explore the action on the page and tell the story yourselves! A good wordless book, full of evocative illustrations with vivid details, encourages creativity and fosters plenty of discussion, either one on one or in a class group.
If you’re interested in incorporating wordless picture books into your library, we've showcased our favorites girl-empowering titles in this post. These intriguing, funny, and touching books will intrigue readers young and old alike!
For many more picture books starring Mighty Girls — with and without words — visit our Picture Book Collection.
Wordless Mighty Girl Picture Books
Owl Bat Bat Owl
The meeting of two families of winged creatures teaches a message of acceptance and friendship in this wordless picture book! The owl family is living quite comfortably on top of their branch when a bat family moves in and hangs underneath it. At first, they're wary of one another — but the young ones can't help but be curious. When a little owl decides to try hanging upside down next to a little bat, both parents try to shoo the babies apart... but when a strong wind blows in and both families are threatened, their differences don't seem so important any more. Expressive animal faces and a clever design that allows you to flip the book to see the world from the bats' point of view will make this title a hit.
A little girl stumbles across a line but as anyone who knows the imagination of children will guess, it doesn’t stay a mere line for long! With a twist and a shake, it becomes a bubble, a slide, a jungle vine. But not all flights of fancy are fun, and soon she’s been spooked by a monstrous outline that appears on the page. Fortunately, whoever is on the other end of the line is ready to provide just the right reassurance. This fun book, with its free-form, scratchy illustrations, will have your kids imagining what they could make out of their own line on a page.
Flora and the Flamingo
In this Caldecott Honor-winning book, which features interactive flaps, a young girl named Flora explore the trials and tribulations of friendship through imitation and dance! Things don’t always go smoothly — the flamingo isn’t always sure imitation is flattery, while Flora struggles to perform maneuvers that the flamingo executes with grace — but in the end, the new friends get to finish their number with a splash! Fans of Flora will also want to check out her adventures in ice skating in Flora and the Penguin and her exploration of working in a trio in Flora and the Peacocks.
Little Fox in the Forest
A stolen stuffed animal leads two kids into a magical adventure in this story! When a young girl brings her beloved stuffed fox to the playground, she's shocked when a real fox grabs it and runs off into the woods! She and one of the boys set off after it, only to discover a tiny village full of woodland creatures of all sorts. But where is her fox... and what will she do when she finds it? This charming fantasy, with a sweet message of generosity at the end, provides wonderful fodder for exploring this story together.
A Ball For Daisy
Fuzzy pup Daisy has a much-beloved ball that she plays with every day from morning to night. But when she brings it along to the park, disaster occurs: while playing with another dog, the ball pops. A just-right happy ending helps reassure kids that, even after a tough day, joy is always waiting in the wings. Raschka’s Caldecott Medal-winning illustrations capture the heartbreak that comes with loss — whether it’s the loss of a favorite toy or one of the deeper losses children will encounter in their lives — making this story an excellent prompt for discussion about emotions.
A little girl takes a trip to the beach where she finds herself exploring the playful, unpredictable ocean. Lee makes effective use of only two colors, grey and blue, and cleverly uses the gutter of the book as the shoreline, with the girl on the left page and the waves on the right — until the little girl dares to cross. The surf takes on the character of a new friend and the girl and the water chase, duck, dodge, and splash; it even reveals some special treasures for the little girl to find. It’s sure to inspire dreams of special trips to the beach! Fans of this book will also want to check out Lee’s Shadow, which explores light, shadow, and the power of imagination.
Bee & Me
When a large bee flies into a little girl's open apartment window, it's the start of an unexpected friendship. Although her initial inclination is to grab the flyswatter, the girl recognizes the bee as a sympathetic figure and instead helps him by feeding him sugar water. Soon, the bee has grown big enough for the girl to take a remarkable ride, far across the countryside to harvest seeds that the pair can sprinkle across her urban landscape. Kids who have heard about the declining bee population will be intrigued by this wordless picture book, both for its fantasy-tinged pictorial story about the relationship between bees and growing things and for its page of facts about bees and how to plant a pollinator-friendly garden.
Waltz of the Snowflakes
It's a grey, dreary day when this little girl's grandmother arrives to take her on a special outing to see "The Nutcracker" — but her granddaughter isn't thrilled. She doesn't want to wear her scratchy, formal clothes, and she's sure the ballet will be boring... as is the equally fidgety, skeptical little boy sitting next to her. But when the curtains rise, the magic of the theater takes over, and by the time the show is done, she's made a new friends — and discovered a new passion. In this wordless picture book, author / illustrator Elly MacKay's cut-paper illustrations burst into vibrant color when the dance begins, capturing the amazing moment that a dance-lover is born.
Wolf in the Snow
In this story, a little girl becomes a hero to a vulnerable wolf cub — and the wolf family returns the favor. When a blizzard whips up on her way home from school, the girl is concentrating on getting home... until she spots the cub, who is far too little to survive alone. So, fearlessly, the girl takes the cub over streams and past other dangers to return it to its mother. And when it turns out that the long walk has left the girl in her own predicament, the wolf pack comes together to return the favor. Fascinating details in the expressive illustrations provide enticement to reread this touching story about friendship and trust over and over.
The Girl and the Bicycle
In a shop window, a girl spots the bike of her dreams, but it costs far more than she has saved. Her quest to find ways to earn money leads to a friendly neighbor, who offers her work in the garden. Together, the woman and the girl work side by side until she finally has saved enough — but when she returns to the shop, the bike is gone. Fortunately, after she uses her savings to do a good deed for her brother, the girl discovers that she’s not the only generous person on her street! This sweet story is a celebration of hard work, cross-generational friendships, and the joy that come from generosity.
As a father and daughter walk home together, he is distracted by errands while her eyes spot something special: flowers, peeking up through the cracks in the sidewalks. Slowly, she gathers a bouquet of weeds and wildflowers and then begins to give them away to the people and animals she spots on her way home. And with each gift, the world seems a bit more colorful and joyous. This beautiful picture book celebrates the beauty to be found in both seemingly stark environments — and in the simple kindnesses that everyone, even a child, can perform.
A lonely girl wants to escape the solitude of her bedroom, but when she draws a magic door on her wall with a red crayon, she gets more than she bargained for! Soon, she’s drawn a boat, a balloon, and a magic carpet which lead to an incredible new world. After she bravely rescues a beautiful purple bird from captivity, she herself is captured. But the grateful bird helps her to escape and together they fly to safety and to what she wants most of all: friendship. This Caldecott Honor book is sure to inspire remarkable flights of fancy; fans of this book will want to continue the adventure in its sequels, Quest and Return. You can also get the complete story in the newly released The Journey Trilogy box set.
A young family brings home a newborn baby to an apartment overlooking a bleak, run-down, grey neighborhood. But as Tracy grows, the neighbors band together, determined to make a change. Slowly, as she becomes a toddler, a child, a teen, and then a grown woman, they plant grass and trees and bushes; they paint vibrant murals over graffiti; and they turn their street into a green, vibrant home — just in time for Tracy’s new baby to come home. Baker’s collage illustrations all take place in the “frame” of a bedroom window, making this remarkable transformation feel personal and real.
The Red Book
While walking in the snow, a little girl spots a red book, half buried in a drift. It’s not until she peeks inside it later that she finds images of a mysterious island — one where a boy is just discovering a similar red book peeking out of the sand. But will the book only let the pair glimpse one another or can their journeys lead them together? And if they do find each other, what will the red book show? This unique book won a Caldecott Honor for its thought-provoking and imaginative illustrations.
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad
A wordless picture book can be surprisingly effective when teaching history. When a farm girl discovers a runaway slave hiding in the barn, she has a difficult choice: if she helps this person in desperate need, she risks being arrested for helping him escape. Without a word, she chooses to help by providing food and in return, the runaway leaves her something special as a thanks for her kindness. The soft pencil drawings in this book create a gentle portrait of the courage displayed by many ordinary people as slaves made their way to freedom. An end note from the author provides more information about the history of the Underground Railroad.
Little Maia and the Coral City
Maia’s courage and daring get tested to the limit when a scary thunderstorm floods the world and her house ends up swallowed by a sea monster! Inside the monster, she discovers the beautiful and strange Coral City, home to a race of fish people and their thriving community. One of the residents, Walter, befriends Maia, and together they plan a way back to her world. Geronimo funded this book on Kickstarter to provide girls with a brave, independent heroine, but it’s now available to anyone who wants to share Maia’s adventure.
The Only Child
In this wordless picture book, a little girl, lost and alone, follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, where she finds a strange and beautiful world. But after she enjoys the wonders and companionship that the animals of this new world have to offer her, she realizes that home and family are far away. How can she find her way back? This debut book, which is laid out in a hybrid of picture book and graphic novel, features elegant and expressive black and white pencil illustrations that will have kids returning to this story over and over.
La La La: A Story of Hope
One day, a lonely little girl dares to raise her voice. "La la la," she sings, and waits to hear a response... but there is only silence. So she decides to brave the wider world and skips out, pausing every so often to sing again: "la la la." As night falls, she even climbs as high as she can, singing out to the moon; still, nothing. Heartbroken, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be woken later by the most wonderful sound and the moon singing back at her. Wordless except for "la", this picture book's exquisite art gently explores loneliness, connection, and hope; adults will find its message inspiring too.
Additional Recommended Resources
- For our full selection of Mighty Girl picture books, visit our Picture Book section.
- If your Mighty Girl imagines herself as an illustrator someday, you can find a selection of art supplies in our Drawing and Painting section.
- To encourage your Mighty Girl to create and share her own stories, check out our blog post Fantastic Adventures and Amazing Tales: Encouraging Creative Writing and Storytelling.