Thursday, April 27, 2017

THE GREEN UMBRELLA by Author Jackie Azua Kramer + Giveaway

Dear friends,

Please welcome the talented, Jackie Azua Kramer, who shares about the writing of her debut picture book, The Green Umbrella. Jackie is generously donating an autographed copy for one lucky winner who stops by to leave a comment for her about the post. (Winner will be announced on May 9th!) Jackie recently learned that The Green Umbrella was named a Bank Street College 2017 Best Children's Books of the Year. Congratulations on that great honor, Jackie! And now, The Green Umbrella!

REVIEWS for The Green Umbrella:
"Imagination can turn even simple objects into marvelous things...imagining is better together. Debut author Kramer’s imagination-fueled encounter makes good use of fellow newcomer Sassouni’s gift for conjuring up fairy-tale landscapes: old houses hunched up against each other, impossibly lumpy hills, and silly contraptions...And Kramer’s storytelling passages sustain their lofty tone with no off notes—no easy task." Publisher's Weekly
Inside Illustration from: THE GREEN UMBRELLA

"A sweet story of a blossoming friendship between five lovable and imaginative characters, united by one special green umbrella. I want to jump right in to the lush paintings and join in their fun!"- Lauren Castillo, Author/ Illustrator of Caldecott Honor Book "Nana in the City"

Illustration from Inside The Green Umbrella

"Here is a story for those who love an object, be it a blanket, a toy, or in this case a green umbrella, so much so that it's very being is imbued with memories that make it unmistakably yours. And a story for those who have lost one such object and wish more than anything to have it back. Azúa Kramer reminds us all that many memories can be shared over a single prized possession. And as Sassouni's art plays in the worlds of joy and longing over a green umbrella, we see a group of characters come together to discover what they can offer another in need. There's no mistaking how easy it is to share this book." - Matthew Winner, All the Wonders Podcast

Writing from the Inside Out. . . Jackie Azúa Kramer shares an inside look at the writing of The Green Umbrella

Author Jackie Azua Kramer in her Writing Space
Q. In The Green Umbrella, did you have a reason for choosing the animals in your story?
JAK: I get to play in the most fun, raucous and fantastical playground…a child’s imagination. The idea of characters who are unlikely to be seen together remind me of why I love my work as a storyteller. I’m not the first one to do this. Not to compare myself, but perhaps I was channeling AA Milne, in the classic, The House at Pooh Corner.  Alongside Pooh, there’s Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger and Roo. Both, the Elephant in my story, and Pooh, remain at the center of the story and the action. There’s a scene in The Green Umbrella, when they’re all sitting together having tea, and part of the text reads: “…shared their stories.” I love the idea of all of us sharing our journeys with each other. The world is becoming flatter, and the unlikeliness of this bunch becoming friends, to my thinking, makes it a universal story. 

Q. Who or what inspires you?

JAK: Anyone who is passionate. Passion is a beautiful and contagious thing. It makes me work harder and think about my place in this big world. And creators, like Matisse, who reflect in their work--truth, beauty and wonder. Wonder is the secret sauce. Wonder allows you to feel something without dictating what that should be. 

Q. What advice would you give to your younger self? Is this the same advice you’d give to aspiring authors?

JAK: Yes, absolutely. Like a child, ALWAYS stay curious. Be brave, be fearless and believe in yourself. And when you trip up, dust yourself off and start again, until it’s not fun anymore. And I remind myself often--Inspiration + motivation + passion = Endless possibilities. 

Q. What are the 3 most important things you keep in mind when developing a marketing plan for your picture books?

JAK: A lot is expected from an author these days. For example, what I’m doing right now by visiting your blog. I feel it’s important to share with others one’s writing journey and creative process. In addition, to choose some form of social media. I enjoy Twitter and Instagram because it’s fast, fun and informative. Most importantly, to connect in whatever way, with kidlit’s greatest advocates--educators and librarians. Whether it’s via school or library visits and/or attending conferences, the shelf life of a book will live on forever in the dedicated and passionate hands of librarians and teachers.

Q. What projects are you working on now? 

JAK: I’ve just begun the publishing journey of my two upcoming picture books, The Boy and the Eight Hundred Pound Gorilla (Candlewick Press, TBD) a story about the loss of a boy’s mother and If You Want to Fall Asleep, a bedtime story (Clavis Books, 2018) illustrated by Lisa Brandenburg. I’ve also begun research on a nonfiction picture book. I can’t say whom, but I’m amazed no one has written a children’s book about this person. History and people fascinate me. The key in writing nonfiction is to find that magical moment to enter their life.

Q. What is one thing most people don’t know about you? 

JAK: I can talk to animals with my eyes. I’m a member of the Wildlife Conservation Society and each time I visit the Bronx Zoo, I lock eyes with one of the lovely residents and stuff happens. I’m not sure what we’re saying, but at my last visit, sparks flew between Sanjay, the rhinoceros and me. At least, I thought so!

A bit about the author: Jackie Azúa Kramer
Author Jackie Azúa Kramer
Jackie Azúa Kramer was born in Manhattan, NY. Jackie has had a few lives as an actor, singer, and school counselor. Her work with children presented her with an opportunity to address their concerns, secrets and hopes through storytelling. She is the author of How Lilly Ate the Rainbow and The Green Umbrella, which has been translated into German, Chinese and Slovenian. Publishers Weekly wrote-- “Kramer’s storytelling passages sustain their lofty tone with no off notes—no easy task.”
In 2014, Jackie was invited to be a member of the Bank Street Writers Lab, Bank Street College. She studied acting and voice at NYU and has her MA, Queens College, Counseling in Education. She is thrilled to share her upcoming books, The Boy and the Eight Hundred Pound Gorilla (Candlewick Press) and If You Want to Fall Asleep (Clavis Books) Jackie has travelled to 10% of the world and hopes to close in on 100% one day. 

Learn more about Jackie and her book and follow her on Social Media:
Visit her: 

Thanks so much, dear readers, for stopping by to celebrate authors and great books for children, here at Writing from the Inside Out. Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment for Jackie! You're the best! ~Clara 


  1. This looks like a beautiful book! Thanks for the interview and the chance to win.

    1. Hi Janet, Thanks so much for joining the Green Umbrella celebration! Your name is entered for a chance to win.

  2. I'd love to win this for one of my grandkids. I'll post on twitter too. Thanks--it looks lovely!

    1. Thanks for the leaving a comment and sharing on twitter, Carol! Your name is entered twice for a chance to win!

  3. As an actress, I'm sure your portrayal of the characters in your books have an extra edge. Thanks for sharing your journey. 😉

    1. What a thoughtful comment! Thank you, Gayle. Your name is entered for a chance to win the autographed copy of THE GREEN UMBRELLA.

  4. Thanks for the interview of Jackie, Clara.

    Jackie's book looks lovely, and I agree with her advice to stay curious! No need to enter my name in the drawing. My grandkids are young adults now so please let someone with younger children or grandchildren the opportunity to win.

    1. Thank you for stopping by to celebrate The Green Umbrella with us, Donna, and for leaving such a thoughtful comment for Jackie.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks for joining us, Rosemary! Your name is entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of THE GREEN UMBRELLA.

  6. I read this article! So Wonderful article, thank for posting..