Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Billie, Blondie and Birthdays - or how to survive a party with a hundred and one six-year-olds.

Who would have thought when I woke up last Sunday morning that later that very day I would be dancing to Blondie in The Victorian State Library with a sea of six-year-olds?
As part of the Wheeler Centre and State Library's inaugural Children's Book Festival, last Sunday we celebrated twelve months of Billie B Brown with a one year birthday party.
I was hoping for a good turn-out but had completely underestimated just how many excited little Billie fans I would encounter. It was a wonderful, if not slightly daunting, surprise. Immediately I began to worry about how on earth I was going to run all the party games I had planned when even getting all those dozens of kids to sit in one big circle nearly required a sheep-dog. But, we managed, and before long all the kids were sitting in an almost circle ready for the first game.
First up was pass-the parcel. But it was so noisy in that great big echoey Experimedia room jam-packed with excited children and parents that nobody could hear when the music stopped or started. The children were fabulous though and I am frankly quite amazed that the whole thing didn't end in tears.
Next, we played musical statues. But with so many more kids than I had anticipated, all of them grimly determined to win the prize, it took forever to eliminate the 'not winners'. Poor Jen, my publicist, was almost in tears herself after having to pull out kids each time the music stopped. Being a mother, I am made of tougher stuff. Having said that, we did actually end up with three winners but that was mainly because we ran out of time to play all the other games I had planned. Fortunately, I still managed to squeeze in a reading of The Birthday Mix-Up, though I think a 'shouting' would be a better description of what I did, and I'm still not sure that the kids in the back heard everything I said. Next time I will definitely request a mike!
It was a great day and hugely successful according to this article in The Age.
I finished up by signing what felt like hundreds of Billie books and meeting some adorable girls (and the odd boy) and their families.
So, thank you all so much for coming.
And hopefully see you all again next year when Billie turns two!


  1. Congratulations Sally and happy birthday Billie! It all sounds wonderful! (parce the parcel is one of my favourites). jx

  2. Billie's birthday party went well — even inside a great big, noisy, echoey room — because you are a woman who speaks with your heart. Congratulations, I hope I can be there next year.

  3. Thanks Jen - it was lots of fun.
    Thank you too to Anonymous (who is not so...)

  4. Sounds AMAZING! So good to hear how many readers love Billie, and I love the idea of a shouting X

  5. Thanks Fiona. Next time I'm going to try mime...

  6. You did remarkably well to bring everyone in without that mike I must say; my five and seven year olds were there, and totally intent on musical statues / listening to the story. Well done.

  7. Oh thanks, Alison! I'm sorry I missed you. I'm glad your kids had fun though. Yes, it was one of the harder gigs I've done...