That was the day of the Hiding Out At The Pancake Palace book launch held at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library. (by the way, Hiding out at the Pancake Palace takes place in an imaginary town in Ocean County and I happen to be a librarian there).
First over one hundred 4th, 5th and 6th graders whose schools were destroyed from Superstorm Sandy came to the library to celebrate the launch! We talked about writing, reading, and dreams.
Each child received a book (donated by my publisher Roaring Brook Press, the Ocean County Library and me). They played games. There was a pancake toss (with beanbags that looked like pancakes). And check out that "hiding out" poster where on the flickr page where each child got to pose for a picture taken by the paparazzi.
My editor drove all the way from New York to come to party. My colleagues who work in other OC library branches came too. At lunchtime, there was cake made by Jennicakes and incredible food, including pancakes (made by the Branch Manager). I spent the day surrounded by people from the Ocean County Library and they are some of the most creative, enthusiastic and talented people I've ever met.
It was a day filled with surprises:
* One of the fourth grade classes who attended the morning party came dressed as characters from Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle... They carried posters and spoke in character too. It was amazing.
* There were presents from friends: flowers, balloons, candy and Brussels Sprouts (this is a great gift but it doesn't make sense until you've read the book)
* I received an Ocean County Library Commission Resolution read by Commissioner James Mullins before my evening talk. It's a official document filled where every paragraph starts with the word WHEREAS. It starts like this "WHEREAS the OC Library Commission has been informed of the publication of Nan Marino's book ... " and then it moves to "WHEREAS the book ....mentions Ocean County landmarks such as Albert Hall and the Pinelands.." When it got to "WHEREAS Nan Marino is a dreamer and when she conducts school visits she reminds kids to dream to..." I started to cry.
I guess it's true that I am a dreamer, and I dreamed about getting published for a long time. Before you get that call, there are certain things that you think about: Holding your first (and your second) book in your hand. Seeing it on the shelf of a library. Having a child tell you that what you wrote mattered.
But in my wildest craziest dreams I could never have imagined a more perfect book launch or a more perfect day. Thanks to my friends and colleagues at the Ocean County Library, the day was magical.