2013 marks the fifth year since we launched TOON Books, and we could not be more thrilled with how far we've come. Our catalog holds almost 30 titles -- all high-quality books that help teach kids not only how to read, but just how fun reading can be. This spring alone we garnered three starred reviews and three Eisner nominations. And we were honored to be cited by Heidi MacDonald as one of the driving forces behind making graphic novels the most popular section in the library.
TOON authors Frank Cammuso and Geoffrey Hayes made appearances on Friday morning to sign copies of their new books, both due this fall. The line for signatures wrapped all the way around the Candlewick booth. Though the authors were only scheduled for an hour, they stayed late to meet everyone who had come out. We're grateful to Candlewick for letting us bombard their booth, and even more grateful to our fans for doing the bombarding! We wouldn't be where we are without your support and enthusiasm.
"I was amazed by the turnout at BEA. Who knew there were that many comic book fans?"
"It was exciting to have such a large, enthusiastic crowd at BookExpo made up of people who know and love my characters.
For that reason, we invited you all to celebrate our anniversary with us. A number of you came out to Brooklyn to ring in the next five years of TOON Books with us at Bergen Street Comics. The Bergen Street staff was friendly and welcoming to the whole TOON family, and we got to meet a number of new fans, as well as reconnect with and commemorate a number of peers who have helped make us what we are today. Among the crowd was Lola, pictured here, who professed herself to be Barry's actual Best Buddy. Her mom, Meg Lemke, a valued colleague of ours, claims to have read the book to her at least 30 times, and Lola is still rolling with excitement about it.
All of our authors were eager to interact with fans. A few unsuspecting comic readers even came to the store just looking to buy some good books and were blown away by what they found. One teenager in particular stumbled in and gasped, "Woah, Art Spiegelman!" and stood in awe for a few moments before approaching him for a conversation with him later in the evening. I even met someone walking into the party who had never heard of TOON Books before -- what a way to find out! He walked out a couple hours later with some new books in tow.
The turnout was fantastic. So many people showed up that we spilled out onto the sidewalk for much of the evening. Attendees included bloggers, librarians, publicists and other creators as well. I cannot think of a better way to commemorate a long run of raising the bar for comics and early readers alike than to spend a night surrounded by other people who work on and enjoy the same thing.
For those of us who did not want the party to end, there was still more in store for TOON fans that weekend. Frank Viva hosted a reading and signing of his new book A Long Way Away on Saturday morning. Later that day, Renee French followed up her appearance at the party with an intimate reading and Q&A on her spring title Barry's Best Buddy at BookCourt in Brooklyn. The reading was particularly special to author Renee because a young fan who loves the book offered to read the book aloud for fans, with assistance from her father. She followed it up with a dinner with some of her adult fans in attendance, warmly capping a TOON-tastic weekend.