Last night was very eye-opening for me. I attended the book signing of “Ultimate Star Wars” by Trisha Barr and Adam Bray. I’ve been to book signings before, so I was expecting this to be very similar. Show up, listen to the authors speak, then get in line to get your book signed. But last night was different for two reasons. Trisha and Adam interacted VERY well with the crowd sharing good information, their own opinions and a fun round of trivia. The other reason last night was different was because it was the first time I have brought my daughter to something like this.
She is 4 years old and usually wouldn’t have the patience for a book signing. She loves Star Wars. She keeps telling me how she wants to go to the next Celebration and dress up as (in no particular order) Leia, Padme, Sabine and Rey. I want to nurture her love by sharing my passion with her as much as I can. So I decided to make the event a family trip and give her a shot to prove she could handle an event like this.
We arrived about 25 minutes before the event started. Advertised to appear besides the authors were members of the Dune Sea Garrison of the 501st. **I apologize for not knowing these members names ahead of time. If you were there please let me know who you were** Right away Anya spotted a Biker Scout and started waving. She got her photo taken with him, and then proceeded for the next 15 minutes trying to get ANOTHER photo with him. He was a great sport about this.
About 5 minutes before the authors took the stage there was about 10 or so 501st members out in costume. Anya of course wanted a photo with them. You may have seen me post it a few times in the last 24 hours. Can’t blame me for being a proud daddy 🙂 In particular there was one other Biker Scout who was shorter than the rest of the troopers (go ahead, I’ll pause for the obvious Star Wars joke) who Anya referred to as the Shorty Trooper. This trooper will play a big part later, that’s why I’m bringing it up now.
Trisha and Adam then took the stage to discuss their book (By the way, the book is amazing. Worth every penny. Even I can flip to just about any page and learn something new). Very quickly it became clear that this reading was going to be far more relaxed than the others I have been to. Why was that? Because even though they were there to promote their book, they made the evening about kids (even if it wasn’t obvious). They interacted with the kids, asked trivia questions for the kids and just made sure there was never a slow moment. The previous signings I have been to have always had fidgety kids, but not last night.
After about 30 minutes, they started doing the book signings. Until it was our turn at the end of the line, we had the pleasure of chatting with the members of the 501st. Each one of them took the time to take photos with Anya (including a few group photos), talk to her, multiple fist-bumps and other fun things. But the moment that really stood out to Anya was with the Shorty Trooper (yes, I’m capitalizing that). The other Biker Scout tried to give Anya his helmet to wear, but she started to get shy. That is when Shorty Trooper lifted up HER helmet and showed Anya that she was a “girl trooper” (Anya’s words). This blew her young little mind. Anya had NO IDEA it was a woman in the suit. I’m not even sure she realized girl COULD wear the armor. It was such an awesome moment seeing the little light bulb go off in Anya’s brain.
She doesn’t NEED to be Leia, or Padme, or Sabine, or Rey at the next Celebration. She can be ANY character she wants. Good or bad. Boy or girl. She doesn’t need to fall into any one single category.
When it was our turn to get our book signed , Trisha was so great with Anya (not that I would have expected differently) in talking to her about her favorite Star Wars things. She also got a fangirl button which she has been proudly showing off every chance she has gotten.
On the way home Anya told us how much fun she had. How much she loved her button and how much she loved the girl trooper (who is @salenamarion on twitter). Anya told us how much she can not wait to go to Phoenix Comicon to see the troopers again. I can not remember the last time Anya was this happy after doing something that was daddy’s idea 🙂
I’ll admit, going to the signing was initially for me. I have a collection of signed Star Wars books so I was very much looking forward to adding another to my collection. I was also looking forward to meeting Trisha Barr as I had spoken with her a little on twitter. But it became so much more than that. Adam Bray was very fun to listen to. Star Wars fan through and through. Can’t wait to see what he does next.
The biggest thing for me last night was seeing how Anya reacted to the event. Like I said yesterday in my May 4th blog, Star Wars Day is not for us. It is for sharing our love of Star Wars with others. That is what I saw the 501st, Adam Bray and Trisha Barr do. I can’t speak for the other parents there, but I am so grateful for how it was an event for all ages. No one was excluded. But even if the adults had been completely ignored, I would have been ok with that. It was great for Anya to see that I’m not the only one who loves Star Wars this much. She got to see a bad ass girl dressed like a trooper and a female Star Wars fan with a true impact and influence on the community who has made her passion her career. No matter how many times I tell her that she can be anything or anyone, SEEING it just brings the point home.
So thank you Dune Sea Garrison and the 501st. Anya was all smiles when you were around.
Thank you Adam Bray. I had a great time meeting you. I look forward to talking to you again.
But, for Anya, most importantly, thank you Trisha Barr and Salena Marion. You showed (even if I have told her before) my little girl that Star Wars is for everyone. There are no restrictions or boundaries for who loves what. Star Wars is for strong bad asses, female and male. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I will never be able to forget this May the 4th.