Picture Books about Communication and Listening

Picture Books about Communication and Listening

These picture books about communication emphasise effective communication techniques to avoid misunderstanding and build trust.

Picture Books about Communication and Listening

Why Use Picture Books about Communication in the Classroom?

The IB learner profile states good communicators “understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.”

These picture books about communication illustrate the benefits of being an effective communicator. This includes:

  • becoming an effective listener and collaborator
  • avoiding misunderstandings and conflicts
  • building trust and healthy relationships
  • providing clarity and understanding
  • increasing problem-solving skills
  • increasing self-esteem and reducing behavioural issues
  • increasing understanding of expression through non-verbal communication
  • getting things they need

Communication in the Classroom

Effective communication avoids misunderstandings, builds trust and healthy relationships. The two sides of effective communication in the classroom involve sharing opinions and listening to the ideas of others. Non-verbal communication, what you don’t say, is as important as what you say.

Communication is not only important for getting our thoughts across. It is about listening carefully to others and responding appropriately. In the classroom, we want to prevent gossiping, teasing, bragging, and an aggressive tone. Communication with kindness and sensitivity shows what you are saying is important.

Communicator Characteristics

These picture books about communication highlight different communication methods. You will find characters:

  • clearly expresses their ideas, opinions and emotions to others
  • being an effective listener, communicator, and collaborator
  • listening attentively and responding appropriately
  • asks questions and listens to the response
  • speaks honestly instead of teasing and boasting
  • works collaboratively and effectively with others
  • selects appropriate and different communication styles, including non-verbal communication 

You will also find characters who are ineffective communicators. They may use negative methods, which leads to:

  • misunderstanding and inaccurate messages
  • confused statements leading to hurt feelings
  • causes mistrust and conflict 
  • a lack of enthusiasm and conviction of what they are saying
  • interrupts and lacks clarity in how they communicate
  • narrow-minded and talks over others

Questions to Use With Picture Books about Communication

  • What does it mean to be an effective communicator?
  • What are different ways to communicate?
  • Describe how [character] was an effective communicator?
  • Why is being a good listener important to being a good communicator?
  • How did being an effective communicator make [character’s] situation better?
  • What were the consequences of [character’s] poor communication skills?
  • Why was it important for [character] to consider other perspectives?
  • In what ways could [character] be a more effective communicator?
  • What strategies could [character] try to better communicate?
  • What strategies does [character] use to be an effective communicator?

FREE Communicator Graphic Organizers

Would you like some FREE Learner Profile graphic organisers?

The resource includes a graphic organizer for each learner profile. Fill in the form below to get access to the FREE pack.

You can find the FULL COMMUNICATOR resource pack by clicking on the image.

If you already have access to the free resource library, you will find the freebie in the Learner Profile section.

Picture Books about Communication and Listening

The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan

A father is presented with his own (camping) bed by his daughter who moves into his place next to mum.

This book reinforces themes of persuasion, problem-solving and separation anxiety.

The Black Book of Colours by Menena Cottin

Black pages with black embossed drawings help readers understand how someone who is blind uses Braille and senses the world around them.

This book reinforces themes of open-mindedness, perspective and tolerance.

The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter

There are words that make a boy’s heart soar and laugh and also words that make him lonely and sad. He decides to spread words to whoever he thinks will appreciate them.

This book promotes appreciation, communication and inquiry.

Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems

Piggie and Gerald think creatively to include their new friend in a game of catch. Promotes problem-solving, fairness and relationships skills.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Farmer Brown’s cows type him a letter demanding electric blankets. They go on strike when he refuses their demands. Duck takes an ultimatum from Farmer Brown to the cows and they agree to exchange the typewriter for the blankets. But, the next day Farmer Brown gets a note from the ducks demanding a diving board for their pond!

Read to discuss communication, persuasion, activism, knowledge, problem & solution, fairness, and resourcefulness.

The Day Saida Arrived by Susana Gómez Redondo

A girl befriends a new girl, Saida, who she thinks has lost her words because of her silence. She learns Saida speaks Arabic and has moved from her home in Morocco. They share their languages and learn about each other’s culture which helps Saida feel welcome in her new home.

Use this translated book to discuss immigration, communication, open-mindedness, empathy, and respect.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Duncan’s crayons have quit. They leave letters expressing their grievances and requesting a change in their working conditions.

Reinforces themes of communication, creativity, self-awareness, relationship skills and perspectives.

Dear Juno by Soyung Pak

Juno communicates with his Korean grandmother through a series of drawings. She sends back letters along with photos and toys so Juno understands their meaning.

Reinforces themes of communication, letter writing and relationship skills.

Dear Primo by Duncan Tonatiuh

Two cousins, one in America and one in Mexico write to each other. We learn about the differences in their lives, but also how alike they are.

This book reinforces themes of letter writing, family and communication.

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin

A spider writes everything he learns about being a spider and his best friend, Fly, in his diary.

This book reinforces themes of self-awareness, writing, perspectives and communication.

Drawn Together by Minh Lê

A young boy and his grandfather lack a common language and struggle to communicate, leading to confusing, frustrating and silent meetings. When they discover their love of art they communicate with each other through art rather than words.

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

Insects surround a new, green shoot and ask “Du iz tak?” They use a ‘ribble’ to climb the stalk and build homes on its branches. The shoot grows into a beautiful flower, but as the seasons change it wilts and the insects say goodbye to their home.

Promotes communication, a sense of community, vocabulary and inference.

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

An exclamation mark lacks self-esteem because it doesn’t fit in. A question mark grilles the exclamation mark until he exclaims “STOP!” He finally understands his role in the punctuation family.

This book promotes a sense of belonging, identity, self-awareness and a growth mindset.

The Garden of Inside-Outside by Chiara Mezzalama

In 1981, Chiara moved to Tehran to be with her father, the Italian ambassador to Iran. She discovers a neglected, walled garden that seemed a world away from the war going on in the city. A boy, Massoud, climbs over the wall and drops into the garden. They make friends, despite their lack of a common language, and Chiara’s life changes.

This book, translated from French, supports discussions on conflict, asking questions, nature and communication.

Half a World Away by Libby Gleeson

Best friends, Amy and Louise, do everything together. When Amy moves far away, the best friends learn their relationship can last over any distance.

Read to reinforce themes of relationship skills, friendship and communication.

Hello, My Name Is Ruby by Philip C. Stead

Ruby introduces herself to other birds and curiously asks them questions. Her positive attitude helps her make making friends and find her place in the world.

hello! hello! by Matthew Cordell

Lucy and her family communicate through their electronic devices. When she ventures outside, Lucy finds a whole new world and shares her discoveries with her family. Soon they are saying goodbye to their gadgets and hello to the world.

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner

A young boy shares how he reads a book starting with finding an enjoyable story. He then finds a reading buddy before finding a comfortable reading spot.

Promotes word choice, perseverance, enthusiasm, open-mindedness and communication.

Kamishibai Man by Allen Say

The Kamishibai man is a storyteller who sells candy, but over the years fewer children came to listen. Many years later he makes one more batch of candy and decides to tell his own story. He is delighted to be surrounded by familiar faces, all grown up, who come to listen.

A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jacks Keats

Peter writes a letter to Amy inviting her to his party. He wonders what his friends will think of him inviting a girl.

Reinforces the themes of communication, relationship skills, friendship and letter writing.

Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

Sam lives in a hole in a library wall. The creative mouse creates his own book and adds it to the library shelves. When children visit the library they discover Sam’s books and all want to meet the mystery author.

Little Beauty by Anthony Browne

A lonely gorilla learns sign language to communicate with his zookeepers. They bring him a tiny cat called Beauty and the two become inseparable. When the gorilla gets angry, his keepers threaten to separate the pair, until the kitten steps into the keep them together.

Use to discuss communication, friendships, kindness, loneliness and self-management.

Mango Abuela and Me by Meg Medina

Mia’s Abuela comes to live with her family but she is sad about leaving her sunny, colourful home. Though they speak a different language they learn to communicate and develop a touching relationship.

Marianthe's Story: Painted Words by Aliki

Marianthe doesn’t understand any English after moving from Greece to America. As she struggles to communicate with her peers, her teacher suggests she paints her ideas.

Reinforce themes of immigration, storytelling, visualising, relationship skills and self-awareness.

Max's Words by Kate Banks

Max collects words. He collects big and small words, words that make him happy and words he likes to eat. He sorts the words to make a story with his huge collection.

Read to start discussions on communication, inquiry, thinkers, curiosity, word choice, and writing.

Mustafa by Marie-Louise Gay

Mustafa struggles to fit into his new home in a new country. Looking for things that are the same, like the moon, gives him comfort. When a girl with a cat, who speaks a language he doesn’t understand, becomes a friend he starts to feel more at home.

My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits

Yoon tries to settle into her new home in America after leaving South Korea. Her name means ‘Shining wisdom’ and she loves the way it looks written in Korean. She doesn’t like how it looks when written in English. She wonders if she should change her name to help her fit in.

Read to start discussions on immigration, identity, loneliness, and self-acceptance.

Nerdy Birdy Tweets by Aaron Reynolds

Nerdy Birdy neglects her friend Vulture when her use of technology and social media takes over.

Reinforces themes of technology use, relationship skills, being well-balanced and self-management.

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck

Sophia’s ‘One True Desire’ is a pet giraffe. With her birthday coming up she tries to persuade each member of her family to give her a giraffe. Will her wish come true?

Promotes adaptability, persuasion, self-management and communication.

Phileas's Fortune by Agnes de Lestrade

Large factories churn out beautiful, ugly and funny words. People purchase, then swallow the words to communicate. Not all words are equal and the cost of each word varies. Phileas catches three discarded, random words to express his love for Cybele.

Reinforces themes of communication, perseverance, problem-solving, risk-taking and creative thinking.

The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart

After moving to America, Isabel describes her new life in letters to her aunt. She writes about her new school, seeing snow for the first time and her difficulties learning English. She describes her “quiet place’, a space that comforts her as she gradually adjusts to her new life.

A book to discuss adaptability, a sense of belonging, perspectives and wellbeing.

Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young

Six blind mice feel different parts of an unknown object and discuss what they think it is. Their differing views cause an argument, each thinking their own opinion is correct. The seventh and final mouse explores the whole ‘Something’ and understood it was an elephant.

This Indian folktale promotes themes of perspectives, senses and inferring.

Sitti's Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye

A young girl visits Palestine to see her grandmother, Sitti, for the first time. She learns about Sitti’s culture and traditions. The visit is shown through the girl’s point of view and shows how they communicate without speaking each other’s language.

The Story Machine by Tom McLaughlin

Elliott finds a strange machine that makes letters and words… a story machine! He gets the letters all jumbled up but realises he can create pictures of giraffes, bees, rockets and robots and tell a story.

Telephone by Mac Barnett

A message is miscommunicated when a mother bird passes it down a line of birds to her son and each bird passes on their own version of the original message.

That Fruit is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz

Five elephants discover a very tall fruit tree deep in the jungle. They compete with each other to see who can reach the exotic fruit first. Their focus on being the first means they don’t notice a team of mice working together to reach the fruit first. But they soon realise that teamwork and communication is a better way to reach their prize.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas

A lonely man delivers messages found in bottles in the sea. His loneliness grows as his wish of receiving a message are never realised. When he finds a message with no name he wonders how to deliver it he starts an amazing chain of events.

Up The Learning Tree by Marcia Vaughan

In pre-Civil War America, an enslaved boy wants to learn to read and write after his father tells him books are the only help to escape slavery, With the help of a white teacher while hiding in a tree outside the schoolhouse he succeeds in his dream.

We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems

Gerald and Piggie discover they are in a book. Piggie realises she can make the reader say things like “Banana!” which has Piggie and Gerald doubled over with laughter. As the book concludes, the pair start to panic as the end of the book gets nearer.

Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt

Who would you be if you were someone else? This is the question posed by a young boy and girl. They ponder if they weren’t who they are would they be taller, faster, smaller, smarter or lighter, older, darker, bolder.

This book represents the diversity of our world and an open-minded and respectful attitude.

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What Next?

I hope these picture books about communicators will start discussions on how your students can become effective listeners and collaborators and avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. You may also find this UN document on children and communication interesting.

What books do you use to promote communication in the classroom? Add them to the comments!

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Picture Books about Communication and Listening

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  1. Hi Kirsten! I’m Cristina, a social media strategist for an amazing parent coach and I am just letting you know I linked your wonderful link to a post I am writing about that will be scheduled on November 10.

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