Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy Birthday, Izzy Barr

This week saw the publication of my newest children's book baby, Izzy Barr, Running Star, the third book in the Franklin School Friends series. For most of my career, the pub dates of my books came and went with no fuss or fanfare on my part, or on the part of anyone in the universe. But now launch parties for a book release have become a thing, so I hosted one for my sweet Izzy last night.

The party took place on the mezzanine of Eli's Books on the courthouse square in Greencastle, which doubles as the DePauw University Bookstore and the only bookstore in town. I hired a delightful local musician, Gus Moon, to play guitar and sing mellow tunes for us. (Does anything make a party more fun than live music?). I ordered a cake with the book cover on it, agonizing over what size to get. Too big would be tempting the universe to jeer and would result in huge, depressing quantities of leftovers. Too small might leave some cake-eaters disappointed and advertise my low expectations for the event. I went with too small. 
An activity for kids would be nice. The book's brilliant illustrator, Rob Shepperson, was willing to draw a picture of a running shoe for me, so that kids could decorate their own version of Izzy's new way-cool shoes. 

I sent out invites over Facebook and DePauw email, trying to strike the right balance between too much and too little. I think I hit on just right: one announcement and one day-of reminder. I invited my children's literature students and the fifth graders I work with in the Greencastle Intermediate School.

On the day of the event a number of people emailed me that they couldn't come. Good thing I ordered the smaller cake! I waited in the store, looking pitiful, the world's stickiest cake icing already somehow in my hair. Maybe nobody would come at all.

But then they did. Lots of people. Lots of people I loved: colleagues and their children, my students, my fifth graders, even the Gobin UMC pastor and his family. We ran out of cake, but just barely. We ran out of books, but that was all right, too. We didn't run out of music to lift our spirits, or crayons to color with, or fellowship and fun.

Here are two of the running shoes the kids designed:
 I think Izzy would like them. I liked them, too.

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