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Tiny Owl recently launched a campaign to celebrate the importance and beauty of wordless picture books. We wanted to investigate some intriguing questions – why are wordless picture books important? Do they fill a gap that books with words can’t fill? Are their messages more universal? Do they aid literacy? Or is it just that they’re so beautiful to look at?

We contacted experts in all kinds of areas of the book industry, from authors and illustrators to booksellers and journalists, as well as teachers and parents, to ask them for their thoughts. They were given this question:

Wordless picture books are becoming more popular with people of all ages. Why do you think this is?

Here are three more responses, from Anne Booth, Hilary Hawkes and Jonathan Emmett.


Anne Booth*:

Cross-cultural storytelling

Obviously, as a writer, I think words are important (!) but I do understand the popularity of wordless books – I think they can look very beautiful and communicate cross cultures and tell a story using gestures and expressions and actions.

*Anne Booth is a children’s author.






Hilary Hawkes*:

You really notice the illustrations

I think wordless picture books encourage adult/child sharing and talking together. They are also a lovely way to really notice illustrations and use your imagination and creativity to compose the story yourself – together!

*Hilary Hawkes is a children’s author and also the creator of Strawberry Jam Books, a project promoting children’s books on themes of friendship, kindness and inclusion.



Jonathan Emmett*:

Younger readers can take the lead

Wordless picture books are a great way of encouraging readers to interpret a story for themselves and develop their own authorial voices. When a picture book with text is being shared, the more confident reader (typically an adult) tends to lead the way through the story. When the text is absent, younger readers can take the lead for themselves, choosing what to focus on and how to pace the story.

*Jonathan Emmett is a children’s author.





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