THE BLUE UMBRELLA: An interview with Emily Ann Davison

THE BLUE UMBRELLA: An interview with Emily Ann Davison

Emily Ann Davison joins Ian Eagleton in The Reading Realm to talk about her magical new book THE BLUE UMBRELLA!

Before we settle down in The Reading Realm to talk about your new book, what’s your drink and snack of choice?

Hi Ian, thanks for having me. I always say I’m never seen without a cup of tea, but today I fancy a steaming cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows! I’m a bit of a biscuit nibbler but choosing what type is not an easy task. Perhaps it’ll be shortbread today. Or a dark chocolate digestive. Or maybe a chocolate chip cookie. Maybe you should decide, otherwise we’ll be here all day!

Buy here!

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about The Blue Umbrella, which is illustrated by Momoko Abe?

The Blue Umbrella follows the journey of a child who finds a mysterious blue umbrella on their doorstep. However, this is no ordinary umbrella. When it begins to rain, the more people the child shelters, the bigger the umbrella grows. Under the umbrella, a community is formed, forever bound by kindness and friendship.

What inspired the story? 

On the day I wrote The Blue Umbrella, I didn’t know what story I was going to write. I saw an illustration of something which reminded me of an umbrella, and the words just flowed onto the page. Once I’d written it, I was able to see what truly had inspired it. You see, I wrote The Blue Umbrella during the first lockdown in the UK for Covid-19. There was lots of talk about keeping safe, sheltering others from Covid-19 and communities coming together. Also, in my area that are lots of Umbrella Centres (community centres). I think all of these things aligned in my brain on the day The Blue Umbrella was born.

I’m so intrigued by the beginning of the story! A child finds a magical blue umbrella with a note that says, ‘This is for you’. Do you have any ideas about where the umbrella has come from and who sent it? 

Personally, I like to think nobody has sent the umbrella. The umbrella appears on the doorstep due to a magical force, one which finds its way to communities who need help in some sort of way. However, I really like to encourage readers to come up with their own ideas about where the umbrella has come from and who could have sent it, and why.

The illustrations are beautiful! Do you have a favourite one from the book you could share with us?

When I was paired with Momoko Abe, I knew straight away that she would bring something special to the story. I love all of the illustrations, but I do have a favourite and there’s a special reason for this. Originally in the text, there was a line that said,

‘We passed our picnics around. And we stared at the rainbow in our sky.’

Andersen Press never knew that I’d had this line in the story, nor did Momoko, yet Momoko added a rainbow to that very spread. It’s such a wonderful illustration, showing how the community is beginning to form, and the rainbow is the icing on the cake for me!

I really loved another book by you and Deborah Allwright called Every Bunny is a Yoga Bunny! I wondered if The Blue Umbrella shared any similar themes with it? 

This is a great question! On the face of it, I feel that they are very different books, however they both have a celebration of nature and calm underlying them. At the beginning of The Blue Umbrella, everything is hectic in the community, and by the end they are embracing and caring for their surroundings and nature. Every Bunny is a Yoga Bunny is about finding moments of calm through the use of yoga, when a child is full of energy. Deborah Allwright’s illustrations of nature are such a joy, and there are so many little details to behold.

Finally, can you describe The Blue Umbrella in three words? 

Magic, community and kindness.

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.