Jessica’s Box (New Frontier) is a picture book about a small girl who attempts to make friends as she begins school. She takes something different in her cardboard box every day until she discovers that all she needs to present is herself.
This story began as a little book which I made for my wife one Christmas, called The Man Who Carried a Basket. It told the story of a man looking for a friend by offering things in a basket, until he decided to sit in the basket himself…with success.
After deciding to convert it into a picture book for children, I wrote many drafts, mainly as part of a course with Dr Virginia Lowe from Create a Kids’ Book. I cut words out, reshuffled ideas for illustrations and finally came up with the finished book.
I think it’s a great little book for children to understand that material possessions are not nearly as important as being yourself. I’m particularly proud of the way Jessica works this out in the book, with her parents supporting but not preaching the path she should take.
My favourite page in the book is the one in which Jessica sits on her father’s shoulders, when all seems lost. That picture just seemed to come together exactly as I wanted.
The illustrations were done with watercolour and a black pencil outline.