Becky Pashia has been creating things for about as long as she can remember.
There are the stories (she says she banged out her first novel-length piece at age 12). And then the pictures, powerful atmospheric landscapes that line the walls of the studio in her Leawood home.
Now, Pashia’s taken steps to combine her creative impulses into a new venture geared toward kids. Her company, Rain Boot Media, just published its second interactive storybook, LadyBug Band.
In addition to her private work, Pashia has been teaching painting to kids and adults for the past 25 year, most recently though her company ARTichokes. She said that in her work with children, she saw great learning opportunities in combining painting and storytelling. She’d built up a library of story outlines that she could use in her classes, but saw potential for them in other formats as well.
“These stories were something that I always wanted to do something cool with, but not just printed books,” she said. “They needed to be more than that.”
When she heard a friend say she was giving her young child a tablet for the holidays, Pashia got to thinking that perhaps iPads and smartphones could be the medium to properly bring her ideas to life. So last year, she teamed up with local illustrator Noelle Stoffel to turn one of her ideas into an interactive story book. That project, called “One Present, Please?” tells the story of a boy who wants to open his Christmas presents early, but along the way lets kids interact with the illustrations, play games, and think about the value of receiving versus giving gifts.
Earlier this summer, Pashia and Stoffel released their second interactive story, “LadyBug Band,” which lets kids record part of a song themselves once they’ve reached the end of the book.
“It’s supposed to trigger them to be creative later,” she said. “We want kids to get the idea that if they see a dandelion in the yard later, they could pick it up and pretend it’s a microphone and write a song. We want to poke them in a direction where they’ll be creative on their own.”