Aaron Renier has just made a big splash with his new pirate-themed graphic novel for all ages, The Unsinkable Walker Bean from First Second Publishing. In it, young Walker Bean must honor his beloved grandfather by facing his fears and returning a pearl skull to its proper place…but finds himself caught up with a band of pirates and pursued by the terrifying Merwich sisters.

You can read an excerpt from the book here or get in the spirit with your very own Walker Bean pirate kit here. Filled with detailed drawings, tons of action and vivid colors by Alec Longstreth, Walker Bean has already earned acclaim from the likes of Caldecott-winner Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret) and Maurice Sendak, whom Renier is currently working with under a special fellowship.

Renier took time out from his busy schedule to talk with us in a special two-part interview about Walker Bean, what led to him creating the book and more. Strap on your eye patch, hoist high the Jolly Roger, and set sail for high adventure! Arrrr!

 Read part on of our in-depth interview here!