Friday, 17 January 2014

Woolly Wonders!

To celebrate the paperback release of Extra Yarn, some intrepid Walker-ites decided to put their knitting skills to the test with a knitting party at Walker HQ. Some might say we were even taking our lives into our own hands, given some rather unwieldy handling of knitting needles!

Extra Yarn is the enchanting collaboration between Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, and tells the story of young Annabelle and her dog Mars, whose lives are altered forever by the appearance of a mysterious, and limitless, box of yarn. Annabelle succeeds in transforming her grey, dreary town into a haven of warmth, as she cocoons both the residents and the architecture in woolly creations. However, the yarn’s magical properties attract the attention of the dastardly Archduke, who discovers there’s more to the box than he originally thought…

Joined by the adorable Rigsby (who acted as our Mars), rookies and seasoned knitters alike set to work on their ‘creations’. Buoyed by enthusiasm, tea, and a seemingly endless supply of cake, efforts ranged from an impressive stripy scarf to a snow white jumper, whilst we spied what looked like the making of a familiar red hat (I Want My Hat Back anyone?) from a knitting novice. 

The gathering, however, had to come to a close – audible sighs resounded as knitting needles were put down – and begrudgingly we returned to our desks. Despite it being over too soon, there can be no doubt the party was an undeniable success, as there was even talk of Timmy Failure scarfs in the pipeline!

Get your hands on a copy of Extra Yarn at your local bookshop. Send us your knitting snaps ( and our favourites will receive a free copy!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

My Blue Is Happy by Jessica Young and Catia Chien

Follow one girl’s journey through her neighborhood as she explores what colours mean to different people. ls red angry, like a dragon’s burning breath? Or brave like a fire truck and a superhero cape? ls pink pretty or annoying? What about black and orange and green? 

In her picture-book debut, author and art teacher Jessica Young challenges common assumptions about colours and celebrates individual perspective. Brazilian-born artist Catia Chien provides her own interpretation in this ode to colours—and the unique ways we experience them.

Jessica talks about the evolution of My Blue is Happy:

"My ideas are like wild animals. They come around when they want to – usually when I least expect it. Since my mind tends to wander, I try to write thoughts down before I forget them, even if it’s on a napkin, envelope, or whatever scrap I can find. My Blue is Happy started as one of those thoughts.

I’ve always been fascinated with individual differences and how people see the world through their own lenses, and since I was young, I’ve responded to colour in a visceral way. Looking at paintings from Picasso’s Blue Period and listening to the blues, I realized that to me, blue is a happy colour. It made me wonder how a child would feel about discovering other people’s associations to her favorite colour. 

When the title came to me, it was clear and bright in my head. But the rest of the story wasn’t. In the beginning, it was set in a classroom, with a more traditional narrative structure and a poem embedded in it. After many incarnations (over a period of several years), and a lot of feedback from critique partners, other authors, and my wonderful agent and editor, it slowly evolved into its current form.

As an art teacher, I’ve seen kids who are always looking for the “right” answer. They want someone to tell them the solution to drawing a given subject. It’s understandable – kids are often expected to act and think and feel a certain way. It’s sometimes hard to recognize that in art, as in life, there are as many different perspectives as there are people, and countless ways of doing things. I hope the book sparks some good discussions about diversity and perspective, and makes readers think about colours in a different way."

What's your child's favourite colour and how does it make them feel? Create your own colour similies with this free downloadable activity.

Check out the teacher resources and printable activity pages on Jessica's website:

Find My Blue is Happy at your local bookshop.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Year's giveaway - win a Picture Book Party goody bag!

To kick off the party this year, we’ve got some exciting new additions to the Picture Book Party list, perfect for refreshing tired bookshelves and feeding hungry imaginations. Over the next few months we’ll be bringing you curious woodpeckers, baby dinosaurs, hiding dragons and mischievous fish, as well as the latest from Chris Haughton,  Petr Horacek and John Burningham – and much, much more!
And if you didn't get enough books in your stocking this Christmas, we have three Picture Book Party goody bags to give away, each including a copy of our January top pick, Extra Yarn by Jon Klassen, plus a signed, limited edition Herve Tullet print,  a Walker 2014 calendar, and a selection of posters, stickers, balloons, and activity sheets! 

To enter, just email by 31 January with your name, address and 'New Year's Giveaway' in the subject line. Good luck!

By entering this competition, you are agreeing to our terms and conditions. Your details will not be shared with third parties.