Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrating National Poetry Month

Those of you who've endured it know that my poetry tends to be a bit hit-or-miss.  But I keep at it, because I firmly believe that the act of writing poetry is in and of itself a good thing, regardless of how the poem turns out.

In that spirit, I plan to celebrate National Poetry Month by posting a new poem each day for the month of April.

To keep this goal manageable, I'm going to stick with a single form for the thirty poems:  the cinquain.  Though I'm no expert in poetic forms, my understanding of a cinquain is that it can be one of various forms of 5-line poems; but the specific form I'll be using is the five-line form with 2 then 4 then 6 then 8 then 2 syllables.

I'll also be participating in Lansing Online News' Poem/a/Day by tweeting the poems (sans line breaks) over on my twitter account, with the hashtag #LONpoem.

Don't look for any great poetry out of me during the month, but I do plan to enjoy the experience.

How about you?  How do you plan to celebrate National Poetry Month?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Babies! A Bad-Tempered Book Giveaway

One year ago today, The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade hit the streets, er, shelves, with protest signs and an anti-mashed peas agenda.  Today it's a First Birthday celebration!

And what better way to celebrate than a giveway?

To be entered in my drawing for a free, signed copy of The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade, here's what you need to do:
  • For your entry in the drawing, all I need is your name - either as a comment in this post, or as an email to deborah [at] deborahdiesen [dot] com
But you know me, I've always got an agenda of my own.  So I'm going to sneak in a little something -- namely, promoting the great array of children's book talent in this state! -- as part of the giveaway.

With this in mind, I'd also like to ask that all entrants:
  • Plan to read and/or share with a child a book by a Michigan children's book author or illustrator some time in the next few weeks
  • You don't have to tell me which author/illustrator or book -- it's just honor system
  • To get you started, there are some Michigan author and illustrator names listed here.  I also welcome recommendations in the comments.  And I'll probably blog some suggestions along the way.
In terms of picking a winner:
  • Entries will be taken until April 17th
  • Winner will be selected using the official pull-a-name-out-of-the-hat method
  • Winner will be announced by April 24th
I think it's probably best that I limit entrants to U.S. and Canada, since I don't know about postage or postal restrictions to other places.  But if you're in another country and really do want to enter, please contact me and I'll look into it further.

I hope you'll enter, and/or encourage folks you know to enter.  On behalf of the babies and myself, thanks for being part of this bad-tempered birthday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Miss Zukas!

I enjoy reading mysteries, especially mysteries that are somewhat "cozy" (a subgenre of the genre).  I also very much enjoy mystery series.  One of my all-time favorite cozy mystery series characters is Miss Zukas.  So I was thrilled to read today in Jo Dereske's Spring 2011 newsletter that a new Miss Zukas mystery, Farewell Miss Zukas, will be released in June!

I'm sad that it's the last in the series -- I wish the series would continue indefinitely! -- but I'm avoiding thinking about that, and just focusing on the good news.

For a limited time, you can read Chapter One of the book by following this link:

Miss Zukas is a very fun character.  If you haven't read any of the Miss Zukas books yet, I'd suggest starting at the beginning and reading the whole series.  Your library probably has most of them; and if not, a helpful librarian can help you with interlibrary loan.  Or you can purchase at your favorite bookstore.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poetry Friday: Crocus


Green leaves

And gold petals

Line up at spring's doorway

Where we trade our winter wearies

For hope.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Great Reputation of Michigan's Bookstores

I think it's pretty neat that of the thirteen nationwide bookstores featured in this online Chicago Tribune travel piece about bookstores to read and eat at, two of them are in Michigan!

I think that pretty well answers the question posed in the article, "Where are the better bookstores in the nation?"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Workout Review: "QuickFix Stability Ball Workout" - Abs Section

I see by my calendar that it's Wednesday!  Which means it's the day of the week that this blog wanders away from kidlit and Michlit and takes a look at fitlit.  (Well, technically, that should be "fitness media," but that hasn't the same ring to it as "fitlit.")  Anyway, whatever you call it, it's time to review a workout DVD.

Except I'm actually going to review just a third of a fitness DVD:  the abs segment of the QuickFix Stability Ball Workout.  There are two other segments to the DVD, and while I'm sure they're perfectly good (haven't actually done those segments yet), I'm quite taken by the abs segment as a short but effective core workout.

Because here's the thing about abs:  sure, a good, well-rounded general exercise DVD will help strengthen your core, but at some point, you do need to focus a bit specifically on abs and back.  But who can stand to?  Boring exercises that never get any easier?  Or that tend to cause neck strain?  Or that just seem to go on and on and on until you just want it to be over?  Bleh.  Who needs it.  Abs workouts can leave one with a "why bother" attitude.

But at least for me, the 10 minutes of ab work in this workout DVD move quickly; effectively hit all the various core muscle segments (including good emphasis on lower back); and are just the right level of challenging but not discouraging.

You'll need a stability ball and ten minutes.  That's it.  Then the abs are done!  Probably in less time than it took for me to type this!  Phew.  Glad that's over.

I'm not sure if this DVD is widely available (it's from 2002, and I don't see it linked on Keli Roberts' web site) but you might be able to pick it up at a book sale (as I did) or check it out at your library.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Pout-Pout Fish Book Talk

I ran across this SchoolTube video a month and a half or so back.  I kept meaning to blog about it and link to it, but I don't think I ever did.  Luckily, my membership in the "Better Late Than Never" Club is fully up to date, so I thought I'd go ahead and blog about it now.

The video is a brief book talk about The Pout-Pout Fish, made by a teacher at Annie Burnside Elementary School in Columbia, SC.  It's always fun for me to hear someone talking about one of my books, and it's enjoyable to hear parts of the book read aloud.

But I would enjoy this video no matter which book was being featured.  What's most important, and what shines through, is the enthusiasm being conveyed for books, reading, and writing.  So wonderful to see!

And it's a good reminder for all of us:  Whatever books you enjoy, take time to talk them up to the kids in your life.  It's one of the many ways that we can entice, enhance, and encourage a culture of literacy and the lifelong love of learning.

That's quite a dress!

In a recent issue of American Libraries Direct, there was a link to this amazing dress.  Ryan Novelline made it entirely out of illustrations from Little Golden Books.

Follow the link and then scroll down to see not only the dress but the whole dress creation process.

I don't suppose a Pout-Pout Fish dress is next in his plans, but it's fun to imagine one!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sue Stauffacher this Wednesday in East Lansing

If you're in the Lansing area, be sure to head over to the East Lansing library this Wednesday.  Children's book author Sue Stauffacher will be there to discuss  her books, how to publish your own book, and the process of book creation.

I've had the pleasure of hearing Sue speak at several conferences I've attended.  She's warm and smart and fun and funny.  She's a great author and an amazing person.  I would highly recommend attending her event in East Lansing.

This spring, Sue and her husband will be bicycling from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Chicago, Illinois, to deliver donated copies of her recently released picture book Tillie the Terrible Swede (Knopf, January 2011) to the Chicago Public Library. In Chicago, they will stop at the Swedish American History Museum and the Sulzer branch of the library. Along the way, they will visit schools that have not had a children’s book author visit within the last five years.

So go see Sue before she sets off on her trip!  You'll thoroughly enjoy hearing her speak and learning about her many wonderful books.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Giveaway

I've been neglecting my blog lately, and will probably be in blog-neglect mode for another week or so.

But in the meantime, I wanted to pop on quickly and mention two things:

First, I'll be at the Hannah Center this Sunday afternoon with a bunch of other fun people as part of a Literacy Celebration put on by the Early Childhood Literacy Coalition.  Details here.  Hope to see you there!

Second, there's a giveaway of 3 of my books over on the Diaper Style Memoirs blog.  Head on over if you'd like to sign up to win them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day Brightener

Though I hate to admit it, occasionally I do have a pout-pout kind of day.

Today was one of those days.

But then I walked out to my mailbox.  And there I found a big envelope, addressed to me, and full of art and letters from nearly a hundred wonderful kids.  Here's just a small sampling...

Suddenly I felt cheery-cheery again!

That, and lucky, and thankful.

And ever so very grateful.