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!