The Song for Everyone

Guest Post by author Lucy Morris

My name is Lucy Morris and I am the writer and illustrator of The Song for Everyone.  Originally I trained as a fine art painter but have always had a love of writing and drawing stories.  After the arrival of my children I had the opportunity to revisit all the wonderful stories I remembered from my own childhood.  Orlando The Marmalade Cat by Kathleen Hale was a huge favourite of mine. 

This precious time spent reading old stories and discovering new ones with my children gave me the confidence to begin trying to create my own stories.  

I discovered that there was an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge and miraculously I could do the course part time.  It was wonderful, terrifying, challenging and ultimately life changing.  Astonishing teachers and fellow students only intensified my belief that this was finally what I wanted to do.

Two and half years on and I left the course with various stories, and one of them was The Song for Everyone.  Although then it was called The Little Window.  Having found my agent, the wonderful Emily Van Beek at Folio Jnr in New York, she set about trying to find a publisher for this story and Bloomsbury US agreed to publish my first book which was one of the most exciting moments of my life! It has just been released in America in October 2020 and the UK version published on the 21st January 2021.

This story was written for a final project at college and has changed a great deal since my first roughs, but the fundamental message of the book has always remained the same.  I wanted to create a narrative which depicted music as something other than just musical notes and I knew this music was to elevate the people of the town as music can do for all of us.  

My first idea was the old lady and the music becoming her shawl and keeping her warm.  Here is an early image of that old lady.

The idea then flowed from here and the story began to be about a whole community losing something they didn’t really know they needed until it was gone.  At one point the music was being made by an owl playing a banjo and a mouse!

I worked closely with my Editor Mary Kate Castellani at Bloomsbury US and the story evolved over time which was a lovely and rewarding process.  The artwork for the book has also been through many changes.  There were some images that didn’t make it into the book for example the image below showing children on musical string as their legs were tired of walking.

And this was an early cover design when the book was still called The Little Window.  I still managed to get my ‘people tower’ into the final cut. 

 My favourite way to work is writing a story first and then the images pop into my head from here.  I use pencil crayon, watercolour paints and some collage to make my images.  

Below is an early cover design when the book was still called The Little Window. 

My favourite way to work is writing a story first and then the images pop into my head from here.  I use pencil crayon, watercolour paints and some collage to make my images.  

There are so many extraordinary illustrators working today in this industry and so there is a constant wealth of inspiration to draw from if I get stuck. 

Illustrators I most admire are Julie Morstad, Isabell Arsenault, Carson Ellis and Rebecca Cobb.  All of these women and many more artists and writers besides mean that the world of story telling and childrens illustration is as rich and varied as it’s ever been.  

I do hope you enjoy reading The Song For Everyone as much as I enjoyed making it.

The Song for Everyone is published by Bloomsbury, and available to purchase from all good booksellers. Any opinions expressed may not truly reflect those of the FCBG.

One response to “The Song for Everyone”

  1. Joyce Dunbar says:

    Lovely Lucy. I will order my copy from Book Hive.