Episode 273: Words, Pictures, and How Story Brings Them Together — Interview with Aaron Becker

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Aaron Becker.

Born in Baltimore, Aaron moved to California to attend Pomona College where he scored his first illustration job designing t-shirts for his water polo team. Since then, he’s traveled around the world, from Kenya to Japan, Sweden to Tahiti, looking for good things to eat and feeding his imagination. He now lives with his family in Amherst, MA where he’s busy at work on his next book project. You can find out more about what he’s been up to lately at storybreathing.com.

Aaron and I will be talking about his wordless picture book trilogy, Journey, Quest, and Return, as well as his picture book A Stone for Sascha and his newest picture book, You Are Light.

In this episode Aaron and I discuss:

  • The story behind the Journey, Quest, Return trilogy
  • Navigating second book syndrome
  • How different age groups approach wordless picture books
  • Changing tones for a second story arc
  • Crafting a picture book inspired by stained glass
  • Using different mediums to craft picture books

Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

About Aaron Becker

Born in Baltimore, Aaron Becker moved to California to attend Pomona College where he scored his first illustration job designing t-shirts for his water polo team. Since then, he’s traveled to Kenya, Japan, Sweden, and Tahiti backpacking around while looking for good things to eat and feeding his imagination. He now lives with his family in Amherst, MA where he’s busy at work on his next book project. You can find out more about what he’s been up to lately at storybreathing.com.

If you decide to check out his books, we hope you’ll do so via the below Amazon affiliate links, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

You Are Light

Open this beautiful book to find a graphic yellow sun surrounded by a halo of bright die-cut circles. Now hold the page up to the light and enjoy the transformation as the colors in those circles glow. In an elegant, sparely narrated ode to the phenomenon of light, Aaron Becker follows as light reflects off the earth to warm our faces, draws up the sea to make the rain, feeds all the things that grow, and helps to create all the brilliant wonders of the world, including ourselves.


A Stone For Sascha

This year’s summer vacation will be very different for a young girl and her family without Sascha, the beloved family dog, along for the ride. But a wistful walk along the beach to gather cool, polished stones becomes a brilliant turning point in the girl’s grief. There, at the edge of a vast ocean beneath an infinite sky, she uncovers, alongside the reader, a profound and joyous truth. In his first picture book following the conclusion of his best-selling Journey trilogy, Aaron Becker achieves a tremendous feat, connecting the private, personal loss of one child to a cycle spanning millennia — and delivering a stunningly layered tale that demands to be pored over again and again.


Journey

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire?

Quest

A king emerges from a hidden door in a city park, startling two children sheltering from the rain. No sooner does he push a map and some strange objects into their hands than he is captured by hostile forces that whisk him back through the enchanted door. Just like that, the children are caught up in a quest to rescue the king and his kingdom from darkness, while illuminating the farthest reaches of their imagination. Colored markers in hand, they make their own way through the portal, under the sea, through a tropical paradise, over a perilous bridge, and high in the air with the help of a winged friend.

Return

Failing to get the attention of her busy father, a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure. It’s her third journey into the enticing realm of kings and emperors, castles and canals, exotic creatures and enchanting landscapes. This time, it will take something truly powerful to persuade her to return home, as a gripping backstory is revealed that will hold readers in its thrall.

Link to Episode #273

(Right-click to download.)

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