A Stone for Sascha

Written & Illustrated by: Aaron Becker

For ages: 5 and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Family, POC-Centric Narratives, Loss, Grief, Historical Fiction, Love, Pets.

Summary: This book actually has no words, just pictures.  A family loses their dog, Sascha, just before going on vacation.  While on vacation at the beach, one of the children finds a shiny gold rock.  Suddenly, the reader is transported back throughout history and sees just exactly how the gold rock got into the water.  The gold rock takes many forms and uses throughout history, before finally ending up at the bottom of the sea and being found washed up near the shore.  The gold is then used to decorate the grave of Sascha.

This book is a beautiful reminder of how life cycles keep moving throughout the rise and fall of societies.  Inanimate objects have many lives before coming into ours, and remembering the past can be a beautiful memory.

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you think the main characters feel when they have to go on vacation without their beloved pet?
  • Is it easy to tell what’s happening in the story without words?
  • What’s your favorite moment in time that’s depicted in the book?
  • When is a time that you were grieving, and what made you feel better?
  • How could you help a friend that is feeling sad, or a sense of loss?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Write a letter to someone you miss.  It can be someone that is no longer with you, maybe they moved away or have passed on.  It’s important to release feelings, even if the person the letter is addressed to will never read it.
  • Think about an object you’ve found.  What do you think it’s story is? Draw a comic strip about how the object came to be, and how it got to you!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Aaron_Becker,_Author_and_Illustrator,_aaron_beckerYears ago, after working as a designer in San Francisco’s dot-com craze, Aaron Becker quit his job and headed to Monterey, California for a children’s book conference. At the time, Aaron had a vague idea of why he thought it’d be fun to write and illustrate books. After presenting some hazy ideas to a guest editor from Candlewick Press, he left the conference content to wander. Aaron traveled. He returned to art school and earned his chops. Aaron worked in the Bay Area with some of his heroes in film design for nearly a decade. But eventually, the children’s book bug returned. This time, Aaron had some real drawing skills and a much greater understanding of why these books might matter. After all, Aaron had his own child by this time, and it was becoming clear to him that there’s no purer form of story-telling for an illustrator than creating their own book full of pictures. Luckily, children seem to like this kind of stuff. And publishers will go along with it as well if the idea is up to snuff. When Aaron’s agent gave him the good news that his first book had a solid offer, the name of the editor sounded eerily familiar. It was none other than the same editor he had met in Monterey nearly fifteen years before.

Aaron now lives in Amherst, Massachusetts where every day, he returns to that place of being a kid again, ready to fly into outer space with a ship of his own design. He’s fortunate to have a job that lets me keep doing this, and would imagine that even in the darkest of his creative slumps, surely this must beat astronaut boot camp.

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