Launch Party Day!

dinodance4picTurn up the music. Break out your best moves. It’s launch party day! Hear the story behind the book. Participate in an interactive reading. Get your signed copy of One More Dino on the Floor. The bash is on at 2 p.m. at Quail Ridge Books & Music. Details here.

Remember that anyone who posts a comment here  or on my FaceBook page or shares one of my posts by the end of the day is entered in a giveaway for a dino prize pack including a mini T-Rex pillow pet, dino hat, coloring book, dino grabbers and more. You can also score an entry by buying  One More Dino on the Floor at the Saturday launch party . And I have a prize that’s just for educators –  a free 30-minute Skype visit. If you’d like to have your name entered for that giveaway, please let me know in the comments.

Here’s the last inside peek.

Behind-the-scenes: The book is dedicated to my granddad who I learned last year was nicknamed “Chief Boogie Woogie.” My Uncle Emery said he could dance a hole in the floor. He and my grandma passed their love of dance onto their kids and grands like me. Today my grandfather would have turned 95. Excited that my launch party is on his special day.

Dino fact: T-Rex is not the largest meat-eating dinosaur. Ever hear of giganotosaurus and  spinosaurus? They were even bigger – 40+ feet long and weighed up to 14 and 23 tons, respectively. Wonder what kind of dance they would have done😉.

Thanks for your support! Hope to see you soon.

Party Time: Day 4

dinodance7picOne more day until my dino book bash! Crafts are prepped. Cake is ordered. Music is set.  My special guest has his dancing shoes ready. All I need is you to make the celebration complete. Come party with us 2 p.m. tomorrow at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh. Can’t make it and want a signed copy of One More Dino on the Floor? You can get it here.

Remember that anyone who posts a comment here  or on my FaceBook page or shares one of my posts is entered in a giveaway for a dino prize pack including a mini T-Rex pillow pet, dino hat, coloring book and more. You can also score an entry by buying  One More Dino on the Floor at the Saturday launch party . And I have a prize that’s just for educators –  a free 30-minute Skype visit. If you’d like to have your name entered for that giveaway, please let me know in the comments.

Here’s today’s inside peek.

Behind the scenes: One More Dino on the Floor was my first manuscript written in rhyme. Though it felt like the right way to tell the story, I was nervous about trying such an exacting form. But a conversation with my Rutgers One-on-One mentor gave me the courage to take the leap. She told me that I shouldn’t put any boundaries on the kinds of stories I tell or how I bring them to life. Thank you, Rotem. I wrote the verses and went to rhyming guru friends and colleagues for feedback. Shout out to Kristy, Tameka, Johnny, Phyllis, Anastasia and Margot for encouraging me and welcoming me to the rhyming club:). My agent Caryn and editor Kelly believing in the story is a dream come true.

Dino fact: DID YOU KNOW that dino dance floor site in Denali National Park, Alaska, is filled with footprints of hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs). A paleontologist called it a “family destination” with different generations exploring the area together.

For teachers and librarians: Educator Debbie Gonzales created a wonderful discussion and activity guide for One More Dino on the Floor. It’s available here. Thanks, Deb!

Party Time: Day 3

dinodance2Getting closer to the big day. The book love from friends on FB and Twitter has been amazing. Thanks so much, everyone, for making the debut of One More Dino on the Floor so special.

Remember that anyone who posts a comment here or on my FaceBook page or shares one of my posts is entered in a giveaway for a dino prize pack including a mini T-Rex pillow pet, dino hat, coloring book and more. You can also be entered into the giveaway of dino swag by buying  One More Dino on the Floor at the 2 p.m. Saturday launch party at Quail Ridge Books & Music. And I have a prize that’s just for educators –  a free 30-minute Skype visit. If you’d like to have your name entered for that giveaway, please let me know in the comments.

Okay, here’s your insider peek of the day.

Behind-the-scenes: Before illustrator Luke Flowers added his magic to the story, my daughter did the honors. I was planning to read  One Million Men and Me to her kindergarten class. She said, “Can you read your dino story too?” The story hadn’t sold yet. I just had the dream that it would be published one day. I told her I could read it, but I didn’t have any pictures to show her friends. “I can draw them,” she said with a light-the-room smile. So she did. I showed her illustrations on the screen as I shared that early version of the story to her buddies:).

Dino fact: DID YOU KNOW that paleontologists who studied the prehistoric dance floor, an area with fossilized footprints and scrapes, in western Colorado believe that the dinosaurs  may have been doing a courting-type dance? “They’d get out there in the open and start showing off to their peers or their competitors or their girlfriends,” one said to USA Today.

Thank you for your support.

Party Time: Day 2

bookbdaypictureIt’s the second day of the book birthday celebration. Yay! Check out the awesome picture Luke Flowers created to get the dino party started.

Remember that anyone who posts a comment here or on my FaceBook page or shares one of my posts is entered in a giveaway for a dino prize pack including a mini T-Rex pillow pet, dino hat, coloring book and more. You can also be entered into a giveaway for a prize pack by buying  One More Dino on the Floor at the 2 p.m. Saturday launch party at Quail Ridge Books & Music. And I have a prize that’s just for educators –  a free 30-minute Skype visit. If you’d like to have your name entered for that giveaway, please let me know in the comments.

Okay, here’s your insider peek of the day.

Behind the scenes: The original title of One More Dino on the Floor was Dino Dance. My brilliant editor at Albert Whitman & Company suggested going with something snappier. I picked a line from the refrain. She was thinking of the same title. It feels just right. Thanks, Kelly!breakingdinospicture

Dino fact: DID YOU KNOW that the largest dinosaur dance floor is in Bolivia and has more than 5,000 tracks? It was discovered in 1994. Six different types of dino prints have been identified including a baby T-Rex nicknamed Johnny Walker.

Fun for kids:

Illustrator Luke Flowers has created a dinorrific set of coloring pages for the book. Check them out here and have fun showing off your style and creativity.

Thanks so much for your support.

Party Time!

One More Dino on the Floor, illustrated by the amazing Luke Flowers and published by 9780807515983_OneMoreDino.jpgAlbert Whitman & Company, debuts today. Yay! It’s a counting story, jumping with rhythm and rhyme, that opens with a dinosaur jamming alone. More dinos join the groove and show off moves from breaking to disco. Thrilled that it will finally be in children’s hands.

To kick off the party, I’m sharing behind-the-scenes info about the creation of the book, peeks at Luke’s delightful illustrations and facts about dinosaurs and dance each day through the launch bash 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5 at Quail Ridge Books & Music. More details here.

dinoprizepackI’m also giving away a 30-minute Skype author visit for educators and two dino prize packs that include a mini T-Rex pillow pet, dinosaur hat, dinosaur coloring book and more.  One prize will go to someone from my online community. Leave a comment here, on my FaceBook page or share my posts to be entered in that drawing. The other will go to someone at my launch party. Each book purchased receives an entry. Do both? You have two chances to win. Educators, please indicate in the comments if you’d like to be entered into the drawing for the prize pack or Skype author visit.

Can’t make the launch party and want a signed copy of One More Dino on the Floor? Books are available here. Signed copies purchased by the March 5 drawing receive an entry for the dino prize pack too.

Okay, today’s info:

dino1pic

Behind the scenes: Years ago, I read a science story about a team of geologists discovering a “dinosaur dance floor,” an area packed with hundreds of fossilized dinosaur footprints. The concentration of tracks reminded them of the game “Dance, Dance Revolution.” There were tail drag marks and footprints from many different types of dinos from parents to little ones at the site of a former sandy oasis. One geologist was quoted as saying, “It was a place that attracted a crowd, kind of like a dance floor.” Right away, my imagination started spinning. Soon I had a refrain: “They hear a swish. What’s this? One more. One more dino on the floor.”

Dino Fact: Did you know there are “dinosaur dance floors” around the world? Check out the sites in Bolivia, Alaska and Colorado.

Thanks so much for your support.

 

Launch Party and Giveaway Winners

What a weekend! Friday, friends surprised me with a gathering to celebrate Ellen’s Broom. (Thanks, Dom, for organizing it and everyone for coming :)) Sunday afternoon, I went to set up for the Ellen’s Broom launch party at Quail Ridge Books & Music. I was excited, but a little nervous too. Would it be a success?

One of the Quail Ridge promos for my launch party.

From the moment I arrived, that worry was put to rest. Quail Ridge was ready. Tables were set up for the cakes and crafts. The projector and chairs were in place. Pre-orders were stacked and waiting to be signed. Photos were being snapped of special moments. Thank you, Nancy, Carol, Linda, Rosemary and Warren!

Baker Andrea Gambrell Bigelow, owner of Yummy to Your Tummy Desserts by Andrea, was there when I arrived. She was assembling the gorgeous wedding cake she created for my event. The cake had three tiers – two sweet potato and one pound and was topped by cream cheese frosting. She also made a sheet cake for the kids that featured the Ellen’s Broom cover and a wedding broom for the table display!

Beautiful display showcasing the wedding cake and children's cake created by Yummy to Your Tummy Desserts by Andrea for the Ellen's Broom launch party. My friend Susan lent me her lace tablecloth and vintage pictures for the event.

My buddy, Susan Stewart Taylor, beat me there too. She helped coordinate the cake table, lending the beautiful lace table covering her mother gave her and historic photos of a black family and black couples in silver frames. Karen Barker was next on the scene, pitching in everywhere she could.

Sisterfriends Susan, Karen, Judy Allen Dodson and Linda from Quail Ridge coordinated the craft area where kids made brooms out of pencils and decorated them with red and pink flowers, just like Ellen.

Guests arrived and to my delight kept on coming. I was honored to have everyone there including stand-outs in the kidlit world. Celebrated children’s book author, Eleanora E. Tate, was one of the first to arrive. Tameka Fryer Brown, author of beautiful picture book Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day, came all the way from Charlotte. Frances Wood, a wonderful author who is part of a group of NC authors called WINC with me, was there too. So was Georgia McBride, founder of YALitChat.org, and Dr. Pauletta Bracy.

I was so touched at how many people came out to celebrate Ellen's Broom! There were even folks standing in the back. The store sold out of copies. Grateful and blessed.

The folks gathered to celebrate Ellen’s Broom reflected so many parts of my life. Sister moms, writing buddies, family friends, librarians, teachers, students and folks I met for the first time who already felt like friends. Groups in attendance included families from Jack & Jill – Raleigh-Wake Chapter, Jack & Jill – Durham Chapter, Jack & Jill – Capital City Provisional Group, Mocha Moms of Durham, Freedom Readers, CAT Girls, Medley Book Club. I felt so blessed. Not only were nearly all of the seats taken, people stood around the back of the store!

MLK All-Children's Ensemble sang spirituals at the launch.

The program opened with the MLK All-Children’s Ensemble singing Go Down, Moses and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. They were led by artistic director Randy Shepard. Then, I shared the story of how Ellen’s Broom came to be and read an excerpt from the book. At the end of the program, Linda from Quail Ridge told us that all of the books were sold out! Yay! Several people placed orders for more.

Following the program, Bridgette A. Lacy and Joyce Clark Hicks cut the cake for all of the guests and even saved some for me:). Kids worked on coloring pages created by Ellen’s Broom illustrator Daniel Minter and headed to the craft tables to create their broom to take home. Tameka read her lovely picture book to the kids.

Friends help kids create brooms out of pencils. It's an activity included in the Ellen's Broom craft and discussion guide made by Debbie Gonzales.

I signed books and got to greet some of the nicest people around. Loved all of the hugs, smiles and kind words.  Big thanks to everyone for helping me celebrate the debut of Ellen’s Broom in grand style.

Came home to so many amazing pictures friends had posted on FaceBook. Plus, Quail Ridge sent me a batch of beautiful photos from the launch. Wow! Just so grateful.

So this wraps up my launch celebration for Ellen’s Broom. But it’s not the end. Stay tuned for an essay contest and special tribute to couples who jumped the broom in coming months.

Please keep spreading the word about Ellen’s Broom and sharing it with folks you know. It’s available from Quail Ridge and here and here.

One last piece of business: My daughter drew the grand prize winner of the blog tour giveaway last night. Drum roll please . . . . Congratulations to Marti  for winning a beautiful Stuart’s Creations wedding/anniversary broom and Ellen’s Broom poster.

Also, because I’m so grateful for everyone’s support, I added two more prizes: signed Ellen’s Broom posters. The winners are: Bola and Rita.

Thanks again for the gift of your generosity, love and support!

Blog Tour Wrap-Up

First, let me say thank you. So many people helped make my blog tour a success. Big hugs and thanks to everyone who hosted me and Ellen’s BroomDebbie Gonzales, The Brown Bookshelf, Doret, Kristi Bernard, Cynthia Leitich-SmithJacquitta McManus, Joyce Moyer Hostetter, Don Tate, Saba Negash, Baron Hilliard, Eileen Heyes, Peter Marino. I always say kidlit folks are some of the most generous people around. And it’s true.

Thanks, too, to all of the family and friends who shared the links with friends, who liked posts and tweeted about Ellen. You’ve made this celebration so special.

Along with visiting blogs, I visited two schools last week and introduced Ellen there. Thank you to the students and teachers at Mary Scroggs Elementary in Chapel Hill and Green Year-Round Elementary in Raleigh for welcoming me.

Later today, I’ll celebrate Ellen in grand style at the Quail Ridge Books & Music launch party! Yay! Program, reading and signing. Music by an ensemble from the MLK All-Children’s Choir, wedding cake from Yummy to Your Tummy Desserts by Andrea, crafts for kids. It’s an event for the whole family. Details here.

One of the most special parts of the week was the surprise party my friend Dom organized for me. Friday, a bunch of friends came out to celebrate Ellen and me. So grateful for their support and yours.

Tomorrow, I will draw the winner of the Stuart’s Creations wedding/anniversary broom and Ellen’s Broom poster. Please stay tuned for that and pictures from the launch party:).

Thank you for welcoming Ellen’s Broom to the world!

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