Journey by Aaron Becker is a wonderfully drawn wordless picture book. Without a word, it tells the story of a lonely girl who draws a a magical world for herself using a red crayon. The red crayon takes her to castles, onto giant ships, atop a magic carpet ride through the desert, and back into her world where she meets a friend with his own purple crayon.
The story's illustrations have clean lines, crisp colors, and beautiful color contrasts that leave the reader floating through each scene alongside the main character. The book clearly values art, imagination, and animals. When the little girl stands up to adult soldiers who have captured her special, purple bird, the author clearly makes a statement that children, their creativity, and animals are to be valued and treated with kindness.
The story does not make much reference to the outside world, but rather takes place in a fantasy world where skies are blue, buildings are coated in gold, and trees are lined with floating lamps. Therefore, this story does not make much of a statement regarding equality, race, or family dynamics. However, it does show that being yourself can lead to finding friends with similar passions and perspectives, just like the character meets her friend who also prefers to draw the world around him.
This book would probably engage all students, but would be especially wonderful for elementary grades. I would also probably use this book with ELLs to practice writing a story in their second language, since the story itself is already created, but just needs words.
Journey by Aaron Becker is just that-- a beautiful journey through a awe-striking land that makes the reader want pull out crayon and draw the world around them, too.