What Do You Wish For?

What Do You Wish For? is the fifth book that Anna Walker and I have made together.  I love working with Anna, and I feel very lucky to have such a talented and creative collaborator. 

The idea for What Do You Wish For? came from a real wishing tree.  There’s a track beside the Merri Creek that runs through parts of Melbourne, and once when I was walking along there I came across a tree not far from the path.  Hanging from its branches were paper wishes, written by children and adults.  Some were funny, some were heartfelt, some were sad, some just made me smile.  There was no sign at the tree, no instructions on what to do.  It felt as if it had just happened naturally, and I found it very beautiful.

I’ve often thought about wishing and the idea of gratitude.  And I remember as a child being quite overwhelmed by many emotions at Christmas time.  To me, Christmas means love, family, ritual and connection, and these were the things I was exploring when I wrote the story.

I still feel overwhelmed at Christmas time!  I love doing all the things that Ruby does in the book – baking, going to Carols by Candlelight in the park with my family, making and buying presents, decorating the tree.

Anna used a special technique to create the beautiful images in the book.  The buildings are etched into acetate and then printed on an old printing press that Anna has in her studio.  Other elements are collage and block printing, and the rest is watercolour.  I love the way Anna has brought Christmas to life in the illustrations.

I hope you enjoy What Do You Wish For?