Message in a Sock recalls WWI

Leura illustrator Narelda Joy
Leura illustrator Narelda Joy

Leura illustrator Narelda Joy is releasing her new picture book, Message in a Sock, on Anzac Day. The book highlights the efforts of volunteers who knitted socks for the soldiers.

Based on a true exchange between Lance Corporal A. McDougall and a young girl, Message in a Sock pays respect to the Anzacs and their families, a century after the end of World War I.

The letter, sent in 1916 from France, inspired the author Kaye Baille to write the story.

This picture book gently educates young children on a different aspect of World War 1; the families back at home waiting for their loved ones to return, and the dedication and pride of the women who knitted socks for the soldiers.

During World War 1, sock drives were a important part of the war effort, with over one million socks being knitted and sent overseas to help prevent “trench foot”. Most towns had a sock depot, where socks were taken to be packaged for sending overseas.

This book has lots of visual interest to keep a young child engaged in the way of textures and historical touches, in a unique three-dimensional collage style. 

Joy has a particular passion for children’s books, collage, model making, and a love of historical costuming.

She has recreated the WW1 era with detailed and historically accurate clothing, house interiors and subtle trench scenes. The miniature socks featured in the book measure about 6cm high and were lovingly knitted by the illustrator’s sister, Amanda, using five tiny 2mm knitting needles to make an actual three dimensional sock.

Joy will travel to the National Wool Museum in Geelong on Anzac Day for the official launch of this special book.

Message in a Sock, written by Kaye Baille and illustrated by Narelda Joy, is published in Australia by MidnightSun and available at or any good book shop.