Picture Books for Writing

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At times children can find it difficult to think of a coherent story line and then to develop that story in a systematic and interesting way. Children’s picture books that have no words are an excellent resource for these children because the illustrations provide the plot.

Look at the pictures together and use your imagination and observation skills to develop the narrative orally. Identify the beginning, middle and end of the story. Model the different characters talking using different voices. Discuss the key traits of the different characters – appearance, attitude, values, beliefs, emotions and actions. Discuss the setting – remember this can include the physical setting as well as the time of day and the era. Ask questions that will help your children find the details in the pictures that they might have missed. Use interesting vocabulary when you are making your contributions to increase your children’s vocabulary and together make predictions to stretch your children’s thinking further.

Picture Book Suggestions

Chalk by Bill Thomson is about three children who find a bag of chalk on the playground. When they start to draw, their pictures come to life. When one child draws a dinosaur, some creative thinking must be used to save the day.

The Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller is the first in a series of wordless books about Polo, an adventure-loving dog who travels by boat, cloud, bubble and spaceship. The pictures are large and clear, so even younger readers can follow easily follow the story.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is about a little boy who builds a snowman which magically comes to life. The snowman is fascinated by the boy’s cozy warm home and then  the snowman introduces the boy to his wintry world.

Flotsam by David Wiesner is about a young boy who finds a magical camera washed up on a beach. He quickly develops the film he finds inside the camera and views the amazingly bizarre pictures the film contains. The last photo is of a girl holding a photo of a boy, holding a photo of a girl and so on. The boy photographs himself holding the print and then tosses the camera back into the sea, setting it on its journey towards the next recipient.

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola is about a little old lady who attempts to make pancakes for her breakfast.  However, there are several obstacles to be overcome before she can achieve her goal.  A great book for encouraging children to make predictions.

The Umbrella by Ingrid and David Schuber is about a little dog who finds an umbrella in the garden on a windy day.  The moment the dog picks up the umbrella, it catches the wind and pulls the dog skywards.  This is the start to fantastic journey around the world from the desert, to the sea, the jungle and the North Pole.

Where is the Cake by T.T. Khing and the sequel Where’s the Cake Now is about two possums who steal a pink frosted cake from a dog family and an epic chase ensues through bamboo forests, and boulder outcrops. Every page includes a variety of creatures, each on their own private adventure – like stories within stories.

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