The Journey Trilogy, by Aaron Becker, starts with the book, Journey, and takes us on a magical odyssey with a lonely girl who finds adventure, whimsy, and redemption through kindness and loyalty. Her magical red writing instrument allows her to draw a door to a new world where she saves a beautiful bird from captivity, only to be caged herself. Her feathered friend repays her kindness and becomes a companion on her future adventures…In the next book, Quest, the girl, the bird and a new friend have an adventure when they meet a king who is captured and taken away through a magical door. They begin the adventure by drawing keys to that door and entering enemy territory to help save the king. Their new adventure requires them to solve a colorful puzzle. How will they save the king from the enemy? In the third book of the trilogy, Return, the girl is followed into the magical world by her father. He joins her in an attempt to save the king and her friend, both of whom have been captured by enemy soldiers. Will they be able to help their friends and collect all the colors of magical writing instruments?
As you read the descriptions of the three books in this marvelous trilogy, you may not realize that these books do not have written words in them. I repeat, there are no words to read in these books.
So why did we choose the Journey Trilogy for a theme of a reading lounge if none of the books have words to read in them? Here are a few of our reasons:
- Travel to another world. The three books in the trilogy: Journey, Quest, and Return remind us what good books can do for us. Good books can take us to a different world. Whether it is a magical kingdom behind a red door or a certain place and time in history, good books take us on adventures in worlds that we may never have a chance to visit. These three books do just that, even without a single word.
- Exercise imagination. Reading requires us to use our imagination. A picture book without words requires us to use imagination, also. It requires us to make connections with our thoughts and language. This is a literacy skill. We don’t know exactly what the girl is using to draw with- is it a crayon, a marker, a pen? We are required to imagine what it is and fill in the details. Throughout the stories, we are allowed to imagine what other things are possible. Where did the purple bird come from? What is it like in the box of trapped colors?
- Develop literacy skills. Using pictures to connect to the story (in this case, make the story) is a critical skill in reading. Students learn from early on that they need to use pictures as context clues. We “read” the pictures with kids first before they read the words themselves in order to connect them with the written story. In addition, pictures help emerging readers develop important literacy skills as they work on comprehension and predicting. As adults, we use the same skills when reading a newspaper, reading an online story or reading instructions to put together a piece of Ikea furniture. Using pictures as context clues is a lifelong skill.
- Art appreciation. Picture books help develop an appreciation for art. Do you remember some of your favorite childhood books? What images do they conjure up for you? Most of us can still appreciate the whimsy of a Dr. Seuss illustration or the sweet pictures of Charlotte, Wilbur, and Fern by Garth Williams. Picture books are often times the first exposure children have to the world of art. And we believe that reading and art go hand in hand in enriching the lives of children and adults!
Introducing the Journey Trilogy Reading Lounge…
This reading lounge could not have been completed without the dedication of 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Kendra Barrett. In collaboration with the Reading Lounge Committee and funding from our PTA and the Winn Foundation, Ms. Barrett and her family spent countless hours planning, designing, building, painting, and creating a magical space for kids to read. If you’ve read the Journey Trilogy, you may feel like you were thrown into one of the pages upon your visit to this reading lounge.
Below is a photo of the man who made this possible! Jack (Ms. Barrett’s dad) spent days and days recreating the magical forest of Journey. Thanks Jack- you’re a Brilliant Bronco!!!!
More about the author/illustrator Aaron Becker
Aaron Becker has created a magical world in which we are all lucky to be able to visit. Check out his website: http://www.storybreathing.com/
Want him to visit your school? He can’t visit everyone but he’s made himself available to all schools (virtually)! Here’s a free author’s visit on http://www.storybreathing.com/free-virtual-school-visit/