Was yesterday! Finally Mango & Bambang; The Not-a-Pig is in actual, real shops where actual, real copies can be purchased for actual, real money. Amazing.
It was a lot like Christmas. There was overly-early waking and a special breakfast:
Then the opening of presents in the form of lovely messages from family and friends on social media and the giddy thrill of seeing piles of our book waiting, ready to find readers. These ones set for seaside homes from lovely Storytellers inc. in St. Annes-on-Sea:
And finally, perhaps the biggest excitement of all; a visit to local bookshop Pickled Pepper Books to see a WHOLE WINDOW of Mango and Bambangs. I may have got a little bouncy:
But still somehow found the strength to manage this glorious purple cocktail to raise a toast:
To Mango and Bambang! And, without getting too-Oscary, to all who have helped our book get to the lifting large-glasses-with-tiny-umbrella-in stage: Most particularly, of COURSE, Clara, my co-creator, but also our agent Hilary Delamere and all of Team Tapir at Walker Books: Denise Johnstone-Burt and Daisy Jellicoe who edit me with tremendous wisdom and diplomacy and Louise Jackson who has designed such an irresistible package. And now Hannah and Molly and Jo and Sarah and their teams who are working so hard to put our book into as many hands as possible. Cheers!
You can see some of their work by visiting mangoandbambang.com – our new LIVE website featuring a fiendish maze and hats to colour, among other things.
One of the other things being this film. I find it hard to watch because I am in it, but I’m trying hard to manage occasionally because it is also FULL of Clara’s lovely drawings.
And that’s about it. Except for one coda. As I write this, and as Mango and Bambang was being published yesterday, there was another sadder story dominating the headlines. The story of this summer’s flight of refugees from war across Europe and their search for safety, welcome and a place to make a home. And the story of the heartbreaking end faced by some of the most vulnerable of them.
I am not a fan of children’s books with A Message. I certainly don’t want to make any grand claims for my own. I wrote it simply to make myself and others happy. But it is about a brave girl who stands up for a scared stranger in an unfriendly crowd and gives him refuge. I suppose what I want to say is I believe, called upon to do the same, we can all be as welcoming as Mango is to Bambang.