[Image Description: Feature of an illustration within The Journey Trilogy, by Aaron Becker] The rest of the images in this post are book covers of titles referenced before the images.
Illustration-only picture books to foster independence in toddlers, preschoolers, and pre-readers
When you just need a few minutes to yourself
During those first years of motherhood, my most valuable resource was time.
Five minutes of quiet, alone time, with no one hanging on me, screaming in my ear, or demanding to be picked up.
Five minutes of peace and quiet in the car, without screams and demands.
Five minutes to lie down without diapers to change, spit-up to clean, or a toddler to entertain while he poops.
As a stay-at-home mom, time (specifically calm, quiet time) was precious and invaluable. That’s why I LOOOOOVE illustration-only picture books.
How to get the most out of illustration-only picture books
- Potty Training Bait:
Having a bin of books my kids could read independently next to the potty was a sanity-saver. We used elimination-communication (basically, potty-training from birth), which means lots of hours, for years, hanging out with a baby/toddler on the potty, entertaining him and convincing him not to wander off and pee on the rug.
- Anti-Screaming Travel Device:
My first kid was a car-screamer, meaning he screamed non-stop for the first year he was in the car. Before he could use his hands, I’d have to drive with one hand on the wheel and the other twisted into the backseat so he could hold my finger. Once he was old enough to hold a book open, these distracted him for short periods and bought me precious quiet miles on the road.
- Independence Trainer:
My spirited son needs full, non-stop attention during all waking hours, so he was constantly asking me to read books to him. Sometimes, I just needed a break. Or to cook, do laundry, or close my eyes and re-evaluate my life choices for five minutes. Armed with a book without words, I was able to argue “You don’t need me to read this one to you – you can read it yourself!”
- Sibling Facilitator:
My boys are two years apart, and they get along well. But envy and jealousy pops up occasionally, and when that happens, it’s easy to redirect them and help them work as a team. They can ‘read’ books with no words to each other, or alongside one another as a break from arguing.
If you’re going to raise kind and brilliant little humans, they need to learn how to operate independently.
Independent non-word ‘reading’ is a great start to independent learning. Below, you’ll find the most engaging illustration-only books that I used to keep my marbles when I was stuck at home alone with one (and then two) small children.
Illustration-Only Kids Books Featuring Kindness & Cooperation
Big Adventures, Zero Words
Busy Busy Details
Stay Curious, Stand Brave & Buy Yourself 5 Minutes of Peace And Quiet