Chelsea Lin Wallace: Ever since I was teeny tiny, I could feel a spirit in most everything around me. It used to drive my parents bananas because I’d never ever dare throw anything out. I’d feel so sorry for that thing sitting in the trash. I soon became a rescuer of discarded toys and abandoned stuffed animals. I once brought home a 5-foot yellow bear stuffed with beans and covered in filth that I found at a yard sale. Needless to say, my parents, for as many years as they could stomach, had dozens of boxes of my things in the garage.
Then there was Woolly. Woolly was my lovey, a stuffed wombat. He was most certainly alive and I don’t say that with a wink-wink – I honestly believe to this day my love loved him alive. Unfortunately when I was 12yo, I lost Woolly on an airplane. I still grieve that loss. The first few picture book stories I wrote had so much to do with that ache, but I wrote them from his point of view. Like – if I felt these feelings, what must he have felt? And what came of him?
On top of all of this, I moved around a ton as a kid. Gosh, a dozen houses and 4 states before the age of 10. Can you imagine how I felt about each house we left and each home we made?
All of this is to say, Walter likely has been living with me for a while and decided it was time I tell his story. I’m not sure I named him at all; he clearly was Walter when I met him in my mind. I will say that I do have a strong affinity for old-fashioned names. I think they carry character with them everywhere they go.
Ginnie, what materials did you use to create the illustrations?
Jennie Hsu: I used acrylic gouache and colored pencil on paper. Then, I scanned the drawings into photoshop and edited/pieced the images together! I want to express the emotions I had when I first read the book and want to bring what Chelsea has envisioned to the table. This book has changed how I work on a picture book in so many ways. I am thrilled about how it turns out, and I hope people love it, too!
Chelsea, please finish the following sentence starters:
A Home Named Walter is an ode to empathy for the spirit of all things that we love alive.
Ginnie Hsu’s illustrations are what truly helped make Walter a home. Ginnie’s choices are thoughtful and sincere. Her style is completely unique. Her colors make you want to move right into the book. The warmth and character in her art is so reflective of Ginnie’s own spirit. She is kind, full of warmth and love, and I feel like the luckiest author alive to be a part of Walter with her.
Ginnie, please finish the following sentence starters:
Picture books are pure magic! It presents all the ideas and stories from the past to the future. It brings out all our emotions, memories and takes us on adventures and places I couldn’t even imagine. It helps us grow and become better humans. I am so honored to be part of the picture book community; what a dream comes true!
Did you know I moved into my first house when I was illustrating Walter? It made the whole illustrating experience so special as I always wanted a home!