Florette + An Interview With Anna Walker

Florette_US

by Anna Walker (HMH Books for Young Readers)

I’ve been a fan of Anna’s for ages. Have you seen her Instagram feed? It’s a complete day-brightener.

I got to chat with Anna about her new book Florette, and I’m happy to have you meet her too. Here’s Anna!

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When, how, or why did you get into picture books?

When I was a child looking at a fairy tale book with friends and gazing at the beautiful world created by the illustrations, I remember thinking, ‘this is what I want to do when I grow up.’

How did Florette originate?

In 2016, I travelled to Paris with my family. We were on our way to The Louvre, when I noticed a shop on the other side of the street filled with plants from floor to ceiling. I stood for a brief moment, fascinated by the window of green, before running after the family who had gone ahead! Thinking about that forest window later amidst the busy Parisian streets, was the inspiration for the story.

The name actually came from a visit to Versaille where I wrote down some of the names of Louis IX’s dogs. Among them was Florisette, which became Florette!  Florette1 Florette2

Can you tell us about your process?

I spend time imagining what the story will look like. I like to call it day dreaming rather than procrastinating! Each story is a chance to explore different mediums and techniques. After I work on roughs, I enjoy playing with watercolour, pencils, block printing, and collage. It takes me a while to hit my stride with the look and colour palette of each book so I try to develop the pictures together in the hope they work as a family rather than completing one at a time. Now and then an illustration comes together just as I imagined it, most of the time though I will start a piece over and over again to try to come closer to the visualisation.

Every detail of the book is important to me, whether it be the spine, the endpapers or the imprint. Being a graphic designer in a past life, I love thinking about the layout and the whole look of the book. An extension of that is making tiny animations and window displays and even fabric using the endpapers.

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What do you hope readers take from this story?

I hope there are children who may connect with the feeling of wanting to create their own special place in the world. When I was writing the story I was focussing on the idea of being displaced and how that feeling can dissipate using imagination, friendship, and the power of nature.

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Who are some of your story heroes?

I have many story heroes but Piglet and Pooh have been with me since childhood and can be relied upon on any occasion to make me feel better.

What’s your favorite piece of art in your house?

Right now, my favourite piece in our house is a Wishbone chair. It’s Freddy’s favourite too.

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What’s next for you?

Next is Found You, Walter! A story about a small girl, Lottie, who is afraid of the water until she comes across an unlikely companion . . . Walter! Walter is a lumbering walrus, he makes me smile when I think of him!

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PS: THIS!

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4 Comments

  • Posted March 13, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I’ve been a fan of Anna’s for ages too and been a fan of “Design of the Picture Book for ages as well. Florette is one of my favorite recently and, among many posts, this one is really touching and informative. A wholehearted thank you <3

  • Posted March 13, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    This looks lovely. I’ll make sure to find this one.

  • Posted March 13, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Lovely!

  • Posted March 13, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this – “Florette” looks wonderful – can’t wait to read!