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W.J. Walton working on illustrations for Polly.
W.J. Walton working on illustrations for Polly.

Local artist, W.J. Walton, found out last week that his new self-published children’s book, Polly, has gone live on one of nation’s largest online shopping websites, Amazon.com. Three years in the making, Walton published the book in mid-March and was excited to see the response from large companies including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

“I cannot think of words to describe it,” commented Walton. “There were so many times that I did not think it was going to happen but it did. The support of my family, friends and the community helped me to do this.”

Taking a familiar creature from the Eastern shores of Delaware, Walton’s main character is a horseshoe crab named Polly. Polly, also the name of Walton’s book, is the story of a horseshoe crab who discovers a sky full of stars on the night that she hatches, and wants to know more about what she sees. Not satisfied with the answers she gets from the other creatures of the sea, she sets out on her own to discover as much as she can.

“The story explains the wonder of discovering by looking at [humans] from another perspective,” comments Walton. “Polly is a story about self-discovery, the love of learning and exploration, and the quest for knowledge and wisdom.”

Walton chose the horseshoe crab as the main character because he believes that this ancient creature is possibly one of the most misunderstood species on earth. Wrongly, many think that these gentle creatures are poisonous or sting human beings. To the contrary the horseshoe crab is helpful to humans in several ways including the medical benefits discovered by using their blood.

Author, illustrator and publisher of the book, Walton has overcome many challenges to finishing this publication including the loss of his family’s house last summer due to a fire. On the afternoon of June 26, the Walton’s home caught fire as most of the house was burned out. Away from the property at the time, William, his wife Paula and his two daughters Aylisha and Nolah were all safe but their possessions along with a pet were lost to the blaze. Without insurance the Walton’s had no way to pay for their losses or the damages to their house. Luckily, most the information and materials that William needed for his book was with him at the time of the fire.

“Almost everything went up in the fire. At the time I had thought that that included the cover illustration for my book,” stated Walton. “I was able to salvage it and publish the book. As I held the first completed, published copy of Polly in my hand I thought I was dreaming.”

After the fire, the community rallied together to supply the Walton’s with household items and clothing. William is especially grateful for the Baker family that opened up their home to the Walton family so they could retain some state of normalcy.

Since last summer, Walton and his daughters have pushed forward and kept their minds in a positive direction by continuing their work with the Second Street Players at the Riverfront Theater. Walton is a committed advocate of local arts whether he is painting sets, assisting with the production of the children’s theatre or playing with the Downtown Dixieland Band.

Beginning with 103 local backers of the children’s book, for a total of $4,667, Walton was able to begin and finishing the process of illustrating and publishing Polly, which he did over a ten moth period. Most of those backers will receive a copy of the book along with other Polly memorabilia. Now selling hard copies of his creation worldwide over the web, Walton’s ultimate objective is to simply “help children to learn to never loss their sense of wonder in the world.” In the opening page, Walton dedicates Polly to “All family and friends who told me that this was possible. You were right.” For more information on W.J. Walton and Polly, individuals can visit www.awkwardlabs.com/polly.

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