We decorated the gallery with yellow flowers (ironically, the yellow flowers weren't dandelions), illustration prints, dandelion photos, our new banner, and balloons posing as dandelion puff balls.
As part of the formalities, Kirrili and I wanted to share a little bit about our personal journeys and the journey of 'Dandelions'. We talked about how we'd travelled anywhere and everywhere from Melbourne and Brisbane to attend festivals, workshops and conferences over the last four years. We shared how our local networks and new friends were the scaffolding we needed when it was time to celebrate (like at a launch!) or be counselled. We shared our love for our families and friends who have supported us tirelessly along the way. Yes, tears flowed but they were happy tears filled with relief and pride.
Kirrili then explained how she designed our main character. Coincidently, Kirrili had been inspired to draw a little girl after observing little Poppy at a school assembly only weeks before she was asked to illustrate 'Dandelions'.
Then I read 'Dandelions' accompanied by a slideshow of the illustrations so everyone could feel involved. You could hear a pin drop as I lived my dream of reading this story (the one that used to live on my computer and in my head) with a room full of real people, adults and children alike.
While we were signing books, the kids engaged in craft activities inspired by the dandelion plant. My children and I had picked over 1000 seed heads weeks earlier for a collage activity. Kirrili and her mum hand-dyed 1000s of earbuds for the 3D puff ball activity.
We had many family and friends contribute food such as slices and caramel popcorn to morning tea. Kirrili and I also supplied quite a few mimi cupcakes with an icing dandelion puff ball adorning the top. (We just ran out of time to make them ourselves - it's called outsourcing!)
Thanks to all the extra helpers such as our photographers, assistants, Janet our MC, Poppy's family, library staff, cooks, ballon suppliers, friends and family who helped make this event a truly memorable and deeply special one. Kirrili and I will never forget the launching of out first picture book collaboration.
We have a special bond with Amanda and Max from MacLean's Booksellers and Julie and Carol from Newcastle Region Libraries. Kirrili and I spent many hours planning our launch with all these wonderful people in between our overseas and interstate trips. We could not have executed such an event without their professional and personal support.
To quote Izzy, Tilly and Lara, our beautiful daughters,
'We would like to declare 'Dandelions' officially launched.'