Author & Illustrator:  Aaron Becker

review-of-the-day-journey-by-aaron-beckerThis is a beautiful book; a beautiful wordless book. Perhaps you have enjoyed other picture books without words including Flotsam by David Weisner, Chalk by Bill Thomson or The Red Book by Barbara Lehman.   If you were a fan of Harold and the Purple Crayon, I’m pretty sure you will delight in Journey – a story of a young girl and a red marker.

Before I go any further, I must confess… I am late coming to the wordless picture book party.   I’ve been known to shake my head in disgust once I realize that the book in my hand contains no words , and quickly return the “unfinished” book to its home on the bookstore shelf.

I’ve felt paralyzed when I’ve found myself in a read aloud position in a rocking chair with a grandchild on my lap only to find that I have mistakenly grabbed a wordless book out of the book bin.   How does one “read” a wordless book????   Impossible!

Then my CCS Explorations friend, Ruth Brown conducted a reading intervention and introduced me to Journey by Aaron Becker.   (I’m happy to report that the intervention was successful and I have also purchased and am enjoying Quest by Becker.)

The illustrations in Journey are magical and drive the story – no words needed.  Journey is about a girl who can’t get anyone in her family to play with her.  She goes to her room feeling sad but discovers a bright red crayon and decides to make her own adventure.   She draws a door in the wall that takes her to a beautiful forest with a winding river. She draws a boat and sails to a city made of castles where men are trying to capture…

Time for you to check this literary treasure out of your local library or purchase it for your home, so that your family might also have the opportunity to enjoy this delightful, visual “journey”.


Aaron Becker offers these tips for sharing books without words:

  • As you and your kids look at the first page, start with this basic question.  What do you see?  Get the obvious out of the way.  Then ask, “What else do you see?”  Encourage children to hunt for clues.
  • Encourage them to become active participants.  Ask questions such as, “How do you think (a character) is feeling?”  At moments of tension, ask “What would you do?”
  • Take your time.  Without a script to follow, it’s easy to rush, but don’t!  You’ll miss out on the most rewarding part of sharing a wordless book, allowing your child to discover a story of her very own!

Here’s another print resource from Reading Rockets:  Sharing Wordless Picture Books

Deni Corbett

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