Interview With Jackie Azúa Kramer, Author of The Green Umbrella and a Double Giveaway!

TheGreenUmbrella-cover-layout.inddToday we’re here to celebrate Jackie Azúa Kramer’s upcoming book, THE GREEN UMBRELLA, which will be on shelves January 31, 2017. That’s tomorrow 🙂
**Don’t miss the double giveaway. Details below.

Here’s the synopsis of THE GREEN UMBRELLAWhen Elephant takes a peaceful walk with his green umbrella, he’s interrupted by a hedgehog, cat, bear, and rabbit―each claiming that they’ve had exciting adventures with his umbrella. After all, it is an umbrella, and it certainly hasn’t been on any adventures more exciting than a walk in the rain. Or has it? Things aren’t always what they seem in this charming tale of imagination, sharing and friendship.

Prepare to be more than delighted with this book. It’s so full of imagination that I believe readers will be inspired to take imaginary adventures of their own.

Speaking of being inspired, it’s a fact that inspiration is a wonderful and necessary part of writing. Jackie wrote a great article for the Society of Children’s Book Writers (SCBWI) and Illustrators Summer 2015 Bulletin. Her article talks about inspiration. For today’s post, Jackie agreed to answer these questions about how she feeds her imagination with sources of inspiration.

PPK: In your article, Light My Fire, in the SCBWI bulletin, you discussed pictures as prompts or inspiration for your writing. Can you share about this source of inspiration?

JAK: I have very strong memories in my childhood, of what I’d call, visual inspiration. As a family we travelled all over the world. Exotic destinations like India, Israel, Venezuela, and Russia, to name a few. Between the people, architecture, clothes, art, food it was a feast for the eyes, not to mention all my other senses.

And the visual muses continued with my fascination in movies and theatre. I grew up close to New York City, and my parents would often take us to Broadway plays. The curtain rises and there are the incredible actors and sets, lighting, costumes and props. And movies…from the Golden Age of Hollywood to foreign and indie films, I can’t get enough.

So when I write, like scenes and acts in a play, I envision the page turns; the sets, costumes and props. As a matter of fact, every story I’ve ever written, I see as a moving image. Here’s one of my favorites—To Kill a

PPK: Pictures are inspiring to me, too, Jackie. I’ve come up with many ideas based on an expression or action conveyed by an image. You mentioned to me that music is another source of inspiration for your writing. I’m curious about this. Could you tell us more?

JAK: Music! I think of the oft-used quote, “If music save the savage beast…” My music, as we have this virtual conversation is a plane flying overhead, birds chirping, dogs barking, kids playing, wind over trees, and more. In my upcoming picture book, The Boy and the Eight Hundred Pound Gorilla (Candlewick Press), a story about loss, and the sensitive questions and emotions between a boy and his father. I listened to sweeping movie soundtracks, A River Runs Through It and Out Of Africa. Here’s a sample:

I call that my writing environment in which I create a mood or a virtual reality.

PPK: So music helps create a mood for writing, as well as your writing environment. Tell us about your writing environment. And do you only write in one environment or do you move around your home or even outside your home? Do different environments inspire different parts of your writing?

JAK: Yes! I often venture out of my home workspace to a bookstore or my lucky local library where I wrote The Green Umbrella. Each place has a unique ambiance. In a secluded corner of the library I look out onto a tree lined street and this beautiful, old church.


And six months out of the year, I love to write outdoors in my beautiful yard, surrounded by trees and flowers, I lovingly refer to it as ‘The Canopy’. My soundtrack becomes birds chirping, dogs barking, kids playing and the wind over trees. How can one help, but be inspired.


PPK: Many writers advise getting out and living life to spark inspiration. How important is this advice in your writing life? How do you employ this advice?

JAK: As Matthew McConaughey said, in Dazed and Confused, “Just keep livin’! L-I-V-I-N!” It’s super important to live the life that one’s given. I call it the three ‘R’s’—refuel, recharge, renew. As creators we tend to work in isolation. In order to give our best, we need to give back to ourselves. Museums are an endless source of inspiration. Both in their 80’s, Matisse’s ‘Cut-Outs’ and Picasso’s ‘Sculptures’, remind me that it’s never too late to learn, and for new possibilities in creative expression.


The three R’s are available to all of us in the smallest of ways. Light a candle, listen to music, take a walk, talk to people. I don’t need to go far. I’m lucky to have a beautiful park in my town.


But every now and then, I have a bout of wanderlust and I’m gone, gone, gone. My partner in crime, and I, get on a plane, rent a car, stay in one town for a couple of days and move on…it’s so freeing. Last year, I had the opportunity to visit my ancestral roots in Spain.


Jackie, thanks so much for sharing about inspiration. I know it will be helpful to writers, both young and young at heart.

Double the Giving, Double the Fun! Giveaway for You and a Little Free Library!

Readers, today is your lucky day because Jackie is giving away two signed copies of THE GREEN UMBRELLA to one lucky winner! One copy is for the winner to keep. And the other copy is to donate to a Little Free Library near you. Little Free Library is near and dear to Jackie and I love that she’s donating a copy to be placed in one of them. If you’re not sure if you have a Little Free Library close by, you can follow this link and perform a quick search to find out—Little Free Library Map. If you want to know more about Little Free Library, head over to their website: Little Free Library. If you win, we need ‘proof of’ with an official charter sign and charter number. All registered LFL’s have them. For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post no later than midnight (CST), Monday, February 6, 2017. I will use to choose a winner. The winner will be announced on Friday, February 10 in my A GREAT NEPHEW AND AND A GREAT AUNT post.

Watch the adorable trailer!

Be sure and check out Jackie’s other blog tour stops. You will learn about this wonderful book and learn more about Jackie. Click HERE to see the schedule and find links to other stops.


Meet Jackie: Jackie earned her Masters of Education from Queens College. She is a member of SCBWI and has written for the SCBWI Bulletin. In 2014, she was invited to be a member of the Bank Street Writers Lab, Bank Street College. In 2015 Jackie was a presenter at the 1st nErDCamp Long Island.  Her picture book, The Green Umbrella (North South Books) debuts February 2017. The Boy and the Eight Hundred Pound Gorilla (Candlewick Press, TBD) and If You Want to Fall Asleep (Clavis Books, Spring 2018). Visit Jackie at:

Other Places to Find Jackie
Twitter @jackiekramer422
Facebook Jackie Azúa Kramer


68 thoughts on “Interview With Jackie Azúa Kramer, Author of The Green Umbrella and a Double Giveaway!

  1. What a delightful post! Next stop? My library to pick up the book!
    Thanks so much!

    Gabrielle Schoeffield

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun interview. Thanks for that. The book looks like a lot of fun. I didn’t know I had any Little Free Libraries near me, but I checked the map and there are a ton of them. Very cool.


  3. I really enjoyed this post and look forward to reading The Green Umbrella. It’s always been important to me to engage with art, dance, music, theater, and nature, so I appreciated Jackie’s insight into how those things help her re-charge. There’s a Little Free Library 2-1/2 blocks from my house – I can’t wait to investigate! And best of luck with the book, Jackie!


  4. Can’t wait to read it. I use music to get the mood right too. I’ll admit, I thought I was alone in that. Congratulations on the book birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting interview! I love the idea for this book and the many ways you get inspired! The artwork is lovely and quite romantic. And I think the music in the trailer represents your broad world view. Very cool! Would love to share both of these books with little libraries in San Francisco! Thanks for your generosity!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a delightful interview full of art and music! One of my dear friends built a Little Free Library for our City Park. It looks like a Cajun home. (I live in South Louisiana.) Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the idea of helping the Little Free Library. My homeowner’s won’t allow us to have one. Boo. But there is one not to far away! Here’s to a little livin’ tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A beautiful (and seemingly funny) picture book and the ability to share it with your community–how awesome is that? Our family is lucky to have a book exchange close to home. We support it wholeheartedly.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the quote: refuel, recharge, renew. I also like your suggestion of writing in different environments. Congratulations on your new book.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for the great interview, Penny!! And congrats, Jackie!! Looking forward to reading your book. I don’t know if there are any Little Free Libraries in the vicinity–maybe I have to start one :)!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I can’t wait to find out what the hedgehog, the cat, the bear, and the rabbit have to say! The book looks adorable! Thank you for the opportunity!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fun book and fun idea. Thank you for the offer of a double win! We have a brand new Little Free Library in our park, ready for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There is just something so important to getting out and taking a walk or experiencing life to get those creative juices flowing! I would love to have a copy of her book for the Little Free Library in our park. It’s stores are running sadly low….

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Congratulations on your upcoming release, Jackie! Looking forward to reading The Green Umbrella. Thanks for the lovely interview.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This was a great interview, Penny and Jackie! Some good advice that I will take to heart when I am particularly in need of inspiration
    (which seems to be quite frequently these days!). I have always been inspired by music and visual images, too, and I write best when I I am surrounded by nature. The green Abrella sounds absolutely delightful. I can’t wait to read it! I was also pleasantly surprised to see that we have a little free library at the high school not 3 miles from here! Good to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Penny, thanks for bringing inspiration into today — it is what we all need in refueling our minds so they can churn up another story! The Green Umbrella seems to be a perfect example of how imagination fuels every great human experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. There is so much inspiration in this post. I had never thought to use music to help set the mood of a work. I am definitely going to try this! I was pleasantly surprised at the number of Little Free Libraries in my city and love how the map includes descriptions from the creators. Thanks for the great interview.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you, Penny and Jackie, for this very interesting and informative interview. I love the Out of Egypt soundtrack. I’ll have to be sure my local library brings in The Green Umbrella.
    Also, I didn’t think there was a Little Free Library anywhere near me and had often thought I would like to set one up if I weren’t so rurally located – although, it’s still worth considering. I used the map and discovered there’s one in town just minutes away from me!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This interview has inspired me to add some variety to my writing routine. Writing gives me joy, but could it be I am in for an even larger treat by adding layers of inspiration through music and ambience? I’m looking forward to reading and sharing this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I do a lot of “arm chair” travelling and poring through photography books and websites (the other creative half of me is a photographer!) and I find that definitely feeds my muse!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a beautiful concept and book…..and, thanks for the idea of writing in scenes. This gives me something to really think about today. Whenever I win a book or get a special book, I put it into a giveaway in a newsletter I write for librarians in my district. This would be a super special treat and double bonus as I would share with this interview with the giveaway notice! Best of luck on The Green Umbrella and have fun watching it travel the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Wonderful interview, Jackie and Penny! The Green Umbrella could not be more adorable. p.s. I love that one of the books is for a Little Free Library. There’s one in New Suffolk, New York. Would love to donate a copy to that library.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.