Why do anything unless you shoot for the moon?
I launched Tessalation! into the world on June 17, World Tessellation Day, a holiday I created. But I didn't do any of this alone. I had a lot of help, and half that helped seemed to show up a few Fridays ago.
I really don't like doing things small. If I'm going to take the time to create something, I want it to have impact, to touch people if possible, to be as fun as possible and to give fans and readers a real experience. So here's what I did to launch Tessalation!
1. There will be cookies
I would never think of having a party without food. In this case, Angie's Kitchen, our dedicated gluten-free bakery, designed and made these adorable tessellated hexagon cookies with tiny bees on them. They fit with the theme of the book and were sweet as all get out. I planned for 100 and there was only one left at the end of the event.
2. Hands-on play
I used Talking Math with Kids' tiling turtles at one station to give kids a chance to play with tessellations in a tactile way. I love these turtles -- I have bought three sets already -- and I never get tired of putting them in various patterns or exploring how they fit together.
Part of the fun of Tessalation! is how it inspires children to make their own tessellation. My bestie Jill ran the tessellation station, teaching kids how to make their own with a simple square pattern. It was so fun my husband sat down and worked on his for about an hour.
4. Up in lights
I screened the entire book by putting the pages in a powerpoint and beaming it onto the wall in the McMinnville Public Library's Carnegie Room. Did they like it? I don't know. But the kids definitely wanted me to keep screening more books up like that. Movies shmovies. There's something in this idea!
5. Color me happy
I set up a station where kids could color pages directly from the book. I had five coloring pages in all. Happy to report that the adults liked this station best of all. We had a few linger there coloring throughout the event.
6. Make it social
I made a poster where people could "tessellate," that is, try to fit themselves together like puzzle pieces with a friend. I love this idea, and a few did it, but it didn't really fly because the poster didn't explicitly tell people what to do. If I had this to do over again I would post the hashtag and make a sign inviting people to do just that. Live and learn, baby!
What have you done to launch your children's picture book?
Emily Grosvenor, author of Tessalation!, a children's book about tesselations and patterns in nature.