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Frome author’s rainbow of hope for a post-lockdown world

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Inspired by the rainbows that popped up in the front windows of homes across the country during lockdown, Frome author Michelle Robinson has written a story with a message of hope about staying connected to the people we love.

‘The World Made a Rainbow’ is available in bookshops this week, and  a proportion of each sale will go to the national charity Save the Children.

As the book hits the shelves, Frome Times caught up with Michelle to find out more about the inspiration behind the book, her lockdown experience, and her hopes for how the book could help children navigate their way through the complex emotions caused lockdown.

What is the book about?

“It’s about a young girl’s experience of staying home during lockdown. Her mum has to work, her dad is often distracted by looking after her little brother and she misses her grandma and her friends. Her mum encourages her to make a rainbow for the window, but even that is challenging, especially as the colours remind her of the things she’s missing out on. But with her family’s help she begins to see joy in the every day and hope for the future.”

What inspired you to write the book?

“However old we are, sometimes we all just need a grown up to tell us everything’s going to be okay. I tried to channel that calming voice when I wrote the book, even though I was feeling very anxious at the time. It was early on in lockdown and I was particularly concerned about the impact it might have on my children, and on all the children I normally meet at schools all over the country. I really miss this part of my job.”

You read an early draft of the book over a mic to your neighbours after a clap-for-carers – what was the feedback from your neighbours?

“One of the positives of the situation has been getting to know all of our neighbours better. They’re a lovely bunch, and we’re lucky to live a few doors down from some very generous and talented musicians, Dave and Heather. 

“They staged front yard, distanced concerts for our stretch of the street every couple of weeks. They asked me to read a story so I shared The World Made a Rainbow. It went down very well, I’ve had so many kind comments and I know it really touched people. 

“It was particularly special to be able to read it in front of my daughter’s friend Violet, who lives a few doors down and has a starring role in the story.”

What do you hope readers of your book will get out of it?

“Hope, comfort and reassurance. Our lives have changed so much, so quickly. If it’s bewildering and unsettling for adults, it’s much harder for children who are still learning to understand and process their emotions. I hope the book helps parents, carers and teachers discuss all of that with young children. It might just make the grown ups feel a little better, too.”

Can you tell us a little about some of your other books?

“I’ve had two other books published during lockdown. Do Not Disturb The Dragons is my first ever chapter book for children who are starting to read longer books by themselves. It’s the first in a series about Grace Wonder, a young princess who really wants to become a knight. It’s very funny and is full of friendship, action and magical creatures. I’m super proud of it and I really wish I could be out on the road, sharing it with schools. 

“She Rex came out too, a story for younger children about girl dinosaurs being just as rough, tough and cool as boy ones. If I’m counting correctly it was my thirty-sixth picture book, making The World Made a Rainbow number thirty-seven. I stress that, on my part, most of the work was done months ago — it’s been almost impossible to work while homeschooling. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things now my children are back in school. Wish me luck!”

‘The World Made a Rainbow’ is published on Thursday 17th September, and is available from Hunting Raven who will be championing the book with a window display to promote the book and signed copies by Michelle on offer.

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