Launching three books (my first three books) within a two week period is no joke. It's kind of crazy and unreal. How did I manage to have all three books launch within this time frame? I am not sure. Perhaps this is all part of the divine order of things. I'd like to think so. It wasn't supposed to happen this way, at least, that's not how it planned out when I signed the contracts but my discussion of the book contracts with Rubicon for the Sankofa books and with Groundwood for Malaika... also began around the same too (late 2013/early 2014). The publication dates set by the publishers can change or shift which is exactly what happened with the Sankofa series... and hence, I present to you A Tale of Two Book Launches... Or My Life Over The Craziest Two Weeks of My Life.
On February 19, my first two books- Music and Media- in the fifteen-book Sankofa series launched at the Reading for the Love Of It Conference in Toronto, Ontario. Rubicon Publishing Inc. created a gorgeous display for the books. Being Black History/African Liberation Month and all, the teachers came to our booth #101 at the Sheraton Hotel Conference Centre between 12 noon and 1 pm to to meet us, the authors of the series, to get autographs, and to receive a copy of one of the books.
Here's some information about the Sankofa series, taken directly from the Rubicon website:
SANKOFA is a contemporary literacy resource for all students in Grades 4 to 8.
- Each book is written by an author of African descent.
- The introductory spread features an essential question to introduce the theme and topic of the book to students.
- Each book includes a variety of genres, including primary documents reader’s theatre, biographies, essays, fiction, and poetry.
- Each book features both historical and contemporary content, identifying past and present views of the African Canadian experience.
- A variety of communities will be featured across the three books in each grade.
Typically this type of "launch", or any event for that matter, does not take place for a non-fiction educational text. However, Sankofa is unique and it was decided that this was an excellent way to introduce this series to the public.
At first, I found this experience, my first launch where I was presenting my work, overwhelming as there were so many "moving parts". There were a mix of authors, Rubicon staff, and a lot of teachers coming to the booth for a book giveaway but then I soon found myself "jumping in" and effortlessly interacting with the teachers along with the other authors and Rubicon staff. It was nice to speak to teachers and make suggestions to them based on the subjects and grade levels they teach, as well as what I covered in my Music and Media. It was also interesting to be part of "an ensemble cast"-- the authors of the rest of the books in the series-- who most of which I was meeting for the first time.
The reception by the teachers was for the most part welcomed (other than one teacher who was not convinced that the books could be adapted for kindergarten, refused to take a sample book. Imagine?). It is February and often teachers make "a mad scramble" to get material, guest speakers, and resources to meet "Black History Month" objectives. to address the grade levels, subjects, and topics they teach. I loved this opportunity to connect my professional and my writing knowledge in one space. I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet many of the writers of this series. After the "launch", the writers, editor Amy Rand, Rubicon Publishing president Margaret Goh, other staff, and I had a delicious lunch at Frank restaurant where we shared thoughts, stories, and information. Overall it was a nice day.
I can't wait for the Sankofa Teacher Resources and the US version to come out.