More Than Words: So Many Ways to Say What We Mean

by Roz MacLean (Author) Roz MacLean (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

In the tradition of All Are Welcome and The Day You Begin comes a touching picture book about the many unique ways we communicate, and how we can better listen to and respect these different modes of expression.

Nathan doesn't say much.

He sure has a lot on his mind, though.

At school, Nathan quietly observes the ways his peers communicate. Even when they're not talking, they're expressing themselves in all sorts of ways!

By witnessing the beauty of communication diversity, Nathan learns and shows his classmates the essential lesson: Not only does everyone have something to say, but seeking to understand one another can be the greatest bridge to friendship and belonging.

This tender, stunningly illustrated picture book explores and celebrates the many forms of expression--signing, speaking, singing, smiling, among others-- and culminates in a poignant story about connection and understanding.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
A warmly inclusive look at the many ways we communicate with one another.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3--Celebrating communication in its many forms, this charmingly illustrated title will find a useful place in all collections informing children about myriad ways humans "talk" to one another. Readers meet Nathan, a dark-skinned boy who doesn't say much but who is thinking about a great deal. Then the text names many other children and the ways they express themselves. Braille, sign language, tablets, singing, pointing, building, movement, and more are named and shown in bright spreads. The affirming illustrations feature a diverse cast of children connecting with one another in ways that work best for each child. The illustrations capture energy, inclusion, and joy as children express themselves and are listened to and understood by others. Detailed back matter expands on the text and could be especially useful when introducing the concept of communication. The "Ways to Help Everyone Have Communication Access" could be a great conversation starter for a classroom developing strategies to embrace a wide range of learners. VERDICT With affirming and informative language, this book has a place in every collection supporting and celebrating the many methods of communication children and adults are using today. Highly recommended.--John Scott

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

MacLean's gouache, pencil crayon, acrylic ink, and digital illustrations depict a class diverse in skin tone, ethnicity, religion, and ability. We see children who use wheelchairs, a child with a hearing impairment, a service dog, and a student who uses oxygen tubing . . . A warmly inclusive look at the many ways we communicate with one another. —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Roz MacLean

Roz MacLean is an award-winning Canadian illustrator and children's writer. She especially loves making art about themes that are important to her, like exploring emotions and diverse ways of being in the world. She is passionate about education, inclusion, and the arts.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Henry Holt & Company
Publication date
September 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV039150 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Special Needs
JUV009080 - Juvenile Fiction | Concepts | Words
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Nonverbal communication
Body language
Expression (Philosophy)

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