The Month (or more) We Launched the Bridge Book!
What a book birthday! This year, I have launched The Day We Built the Bridge in no less than 5 cities! Now that the dust has settled, and the second shipment of the book has arrived (gosh – 4500 copies sold in 3 days – and in reprint already!) I thought I’d share the joy and gratitude that ‘the bridge book’ (The Day We Built the Bridge, written by Samantha Tidy, illustrated by Fiona Burrows) has brought into our lives.
Anna Solding, publisher at MidnightSun and I started the fanfare in Adelaide on 2 February. It only seemed fitting to begin in MidnightSun’s home state, and celebrate the wonderful work that has gone in to creating this beautiful book.
South Australian author Mike Dumbleton shared some lovely words to send the book out into the world – fittingly celebrating the social history of a national icon, and of what the Sydney Harbour Bridge means to people here and around the world.
Then it was off to Sydney on 9 February – to the Children’s Bookshop, where Paul Macdonald regularly celebrates the best of children’s literature in his fine and book-brimming, independent bookstore in Beecroft.
Anna and I were so honoured to have Roslin Joslin OAM launch the book. As the granddaughter of JJC Bradfield, she shared with us stories of the chief engineer, and what this great contribution has meant not only to Sydney, NSW and Australia, but her own personal story and her family’s journey. She even brought along a rivet, and explained the process behind those 6 million rivets on the bridge.
In Canberra, where I live, celebrating the book with friends and family was fabulous, at Harry Hartog in Woden on 16 February.
Local author Tania McCartney gracefully and beautifully celebrated the book, and reminded the audience of the great value of historical fiction for young people – a sentiment with which I couldn’t agree more!
Over to Perth – to my original home state and the home of the book’s very talented illustrator, Fiona Burrows. It was a real joy to have both author and illustrator in the same city to launch the book.
What a day we had, in the rear courtyard of Paperbird Books and Art in Fremantle on 24 February. As a fourth generation Fremantle lass (who has strayed Eastwards!) it was my greatest joy to be surrounded not only by my own family – aunts, uncles, cousins, bubs, friends and old school chums, but to also see Fiona’s family, fill that courtyard with pride and West Australian fervour.
Fiona made the best ever cupcakes, and the kids played happily in an old tree, on ropes and in the sandpit, like the kids of the 1930s depicted in the book. No devices, just good ol’ risk taking and sharing in the wonder of childhood.
Local and launching author Norman Jorgensen told us some of his own family history, which was so fitting a story, prompting us to each celebrate the contributions of our ancestors, in shaping the land and the history on which we stand. He even planted some theatrics in the crowd.
In launching the book in style, a young Charles de Groot leaped up with his sword and cut the ribbon too early!
The launch in Melbourne on 7 April, was a wonderful reminder of the power of booksellers, to promote and nurture a strong, creative writing industry. Jaye Chin-Dusting from Mary Martin Bookshop in Port Melbourne (who recently won ABIA Independent Book Retailer of the Year) demonstrated how it is that she came to be titled the best bookseller in the land. Check out this cake:
Check out the joy on my face. This is the face of an author so satisfied with her book tour, that it may never be trumped. Author Kirsty Murray launched the book by having the kids do some yoga pose bridges, and a brilliant reading of Puddle Hunters (featuring another bridge!) The kids made popstick bridges (and ate cake). Thanks Kirsty, Jaye, staff and family for a brilliant launch.
A month of being celebrated by talented launching authors, a passionate descendant, a brilliant publisher, fabulous booksellers, and supportive family and friends, is the environment that authors and illustrators need in order to feel encouraged, nurtured and rewarded, in their creative endeavours.
Thank you to everyone who made this book birthday such a success (and a wonderfully long one) and to helping this book become a bestseller so quickly.