Welcome!

Welcome to the Yellow Umbrella Tour Company! We are a few weeks away from launching Mr. Elephant’s Rio Tour, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

A little backstory…

When I was growing up, my family moved all over the world. We lived in the US (a few different times), England, Pakistan, Tunisia, Colombia, and Scotland. I loved moving frequently and getting to explore new places and cultures, and knew that when I had a family of my own, I wanted to be able to continue exploring the world with them.

Fast-forward to 2013…

I was now a happily married, stay-at-home mom to one little boy. Though my husband loves to travel (almost) as much as I do, our budget was such that international travel was more of a pipe dream than reality. Then my parents, living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the time, invited us to come visit. Needless to say, we jumped at the chance to go abroad!

An idea…

Even before we left on our trip, I started researching books I could buy for my then-eight-month-old son, both as a souvenir, and as a way to talk to him in later years about this part of the world that he would in no way remember. I was looking for a picture book where we could look at the pictures while he was younger, but that also had informative text we could explore as he grew older. I couldn’t find one. I was (and still am) involved in the self-publishing industry as a freelance editor, and had frequently thought about writing a book myself (peer pressure?). These two thoughts converged, and I decided to create the picture book I wanted for myself!

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The fruition…

Now, here it is 2016. I wrote the book, which became Mr. Elephant’s Rio Tour, and eventually found Dow Phumiruk, an extremely talented illustrator who happens to live about twenty minutes up the road from us. She did a fantastic job of capturing the tone and feel I wanted, and added so much to the final book with her ideas and art.

Looking forward…

My hope for Mr. Elephant is that he will give children a way to explore the world and gain a global perspective. Just as I’d hoped before I had written even one word, younger kids will find plenty to enjoy in the illustrations (every time I go through it, I find something new to enjoy!), and the text gives more information for older kids. For educators and parents, there is plenty to use as jumping off points for lessons: a few Portuguese words, Samba music, geography, animals native to Brazil, a Brazil fact sheet.

In short, I have loved researching, writing, and watching the illustrations take shape for Mr. Elephant’s Rio Tour, and hope that you not only enjoy it, but feel like you were able to come along for the adventure with us.

-Janie

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