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Great picture books for sensory storytelling

Language: English
Age group: Children, Families
Child reading picture book with adult, pointing to pictures

To learn more about how to turn picture books into sensory stories, visit our dedicated learning resource.

Best books for sensory storytelling

Morag Hood Dig, Dig, Digger

Morag Hood's delightful picture book Dig Dig Digger takes young readers on a whimsical journey with a toy digger that transcends the ordinary. Grab your favourite toy digger and join the adventure as it explores the boundless possibilities of going up into the sky to gaze at the (shiny foil) stars or down into the earth for some messy mud play with squiggly rubber worms. With charming prepositional language and vibrant illustrations, this imaginative tale is a perfect blend of creativity and fun, making it an engaging adventure story with sensory elements.

Mike Inkpen Nick Butterworth Jasper's Beanstalk

This classic book is a wonderful tool for developing children's curiosity and understanding of the environment and the natural world. Encourage hands-on learning by placing beans in a jar of water and watching them grow alongside Jasper, fostering a sense of wonder and connection to nature. Additionally, Butterworth's charming narrative provides an opportunity to practice fine motor skill development through the exploration of dry beans (or the noise they can make in a sealed tin), and the story's themes seamlessly align with messy mud play, making it a delightful book for young minds.

Michael Rosen Polly Dunbar Ready for Spaghetti

Michael Rosen's Ready for Spaghetti: Funny Poems for Funny Kids is a delightful collection that invites young readers to tap into the joy of language and rhythm. With the option to tap out the lively rhythms with fingers or any available objects, the book offers an interactive experience that adds an extra layer of fun to the poems. Whether playing and rhyming with a ball, teddy, or even spaghetti, Rosen's whimsical verses make language exploration an entertaining adventure for children, making 'Ready for Spaghetti' a must-have.

Mike Abel Renita Boyle Strange Visitor

Renita Boyle's Strange Visitor is a captivating comic book that not only weaves a tale of mystery but also engages readers with its funny and replicable noises, the creaking rocking chair, the sipping of tea and the rhythmic thudding of feet on the floor. The author's perfect use of rhyme skilfully builds tension, creating an immersive experience for children as they eagerly anticipate the discovery of the strange visitor. This delightful blend of humour, interactive elements, and poetic storytelling makes Strange Visito' a must-read and a charming addition to any bookshelf.

Lucy Cousins Let's Play Monsters

This delightful picture book sparks the imagination with playful language, building anticipation for the readers. With the whimsical question of "What kind of monster will you be?", you are encouraged to explore creativity: will you make a monster made out of jelly or one with long, sharp claws? Cousins's engaging storytelling and vibrant illustrations make this book a joyous experience for readers, fostering both imaginative play and language development.

Emily Gravett Monkey and Me

The jaunty rhyming and repetitive text make this book perfect for all ages. Children will love guessing which animal comes next and joining in with the actions and noises, making this story a wonderfully sensory and interactive experience. Soon everyone will be waddling like a penguin, jumping like a kangaroo and waving their arm like an elephant's trunk! Emily Gravett’s illustrations are as stunning as ever. A modern classic!

Elīna Brasliņa Lawrence Schimel Matthew Mackie Guid Mornin!/Guid Nicht!

Guid Mornin!/Guid Nicht! stands out as an excellent choice for a sensory story, immersing readers in a world of playful Scots rhymes that make the narrative engaging and delightful. The book serves as a valuable tool to help young readers connect with and understand daily routines, providing a sensory-rich experience. You could use AAC to enhance the storytelling by offering opportunities for readers to hear familiar day-to-day sounds, such as the satisfying spread of butter on toast or the gentle morning yawn, making it an inclusive and interactive literary experience.

Ailie Busby Claire Potter Which Food Will You Choose?

Which Food Will You Choose is a fantastic exploration of diverse foods, providing an engaging and sensory-rich experience for all readers. The story skilfully encourages children to use their senses to explore various foods in a fun and non-judgmental way, steering clear of labelling them as 'good' or 'bad'. This book serves as an excellent foundation for sensory storytelling, offering the flexibility for readers to choose from suggested foods or add their own, making it a delightful and inclusive journey into the world of taste, texture, smell and touch.

Pintachan I Want to Be a Duck

I Want to Be a Duck is an engaging children's book that goes beyond traditional storytelling by encouraging active participation and role-play. With the inclusion of a cut-out duck mask, readers are invited to immerse themselves in the narrative by physically embodying the character. The interactive elements extend further as the story prompts children to copy movements, and the added bonus of a QR code allows them to enhance the experience by listening to a corresponding song. Additionally, the narrative cleverly suggests opportunities for water play, making it a versatile and enjoyable choice that can even be incorporated into bathtime routines.