Monday, July 28, 2008

Michigander Monday: Hope Vestergaard

I'm happy to have Hope Vestergaard here as this week's Michigander Monday profile. Welcome, Hope!

Debbie asks: Tell us a little about yourself.

Hope replies: I've always loved books and stories as both a consumer and a producer. When I was a kid, I was quite a I grew up, I learned to channel that impulse a little more appropriately! I didn't know I'd be a writer, although I always wrote to entertain myself and friends. I was a preschool teacher for many years and the act of reading so many books to young kids made me think more about the structure of stories and books. I write on all subjects and for all ages, but so far I've been most successful with young picture books -- most of them rhyming.

Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your latest book!

Hope: My latest book is called I DON'T WANT TO CLEAN MY ROOM: A MESS OF POEMS ABOUT CHORES (Dutton 2007). It started out as a picture book (I thought) called LAUNDRY DAY, all about a little girl who's obsessive about doing laundry with dad. My editor liked it, but wanted it to be part of a collection of poems. I went back and forth with her doing revisions on the collections until I thought it would never be finished. And then they bought it!

Debbie: And your other books, and any books and projects on the horizon.

Hope: I recently revised a humorous middle grade novel that is making the rounds. I have a non-fiction picture book called NOT JUST PEANUT BUTTER, about African American inventors, being published with Hyperion. I also have a humorous rhyming picture book being published with Sterling. And, this fall, I have a rhyming dictionary coming out with Perigee. It's called NOTHING RHYMES WITH ORANGE: Perfect Words for Poets, Songwriters, and Rhymers. It's a revised edition of the former Capricorn Rhyming Dictionary.

Debbie: Any upcoming appearances we should know about?

Hope: My glamorous life as an author (insert wry grin here) has lately taken a backseat to my starring role as soccer mom, chauffeuring my two sons to their various games and trainings and social events. Summer's only lazy for the kids -- I'm looking forward to fall!

Debbie: Your favorite place in Michigan?

Hope: My favorite place in Michigan would have to be on one of our many beautiful rivers. We live right down the road from the Huron river, and have logged a lot of water miles on the Huron in and around Ann Arbor. I also love the AuSable, up north. I spent many summers working at Camp Nissokone in Oscoda, and my unit took teens out on three-day canoeing, biking, or hiking trips. Lovely! (Nissokone is also where I met my husband. We actually had our wedding reception there!)

Debbie: Favorite Michigan event or happening?

Hope: I really like the summer agricultural fairs -- the Chelsea Fair and the Washtenaw County 4-H fair being my favorites. I didn't grow up on a farm, but my husband did and we have a small farm with a few animals now. I love seeing kids with their animals and I love hearing the old farmers talk shop.

Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Hope: You asked about fun Michigan people -- but I am going to suggest fun Michigan places...summer camps. They are such treasures! I think every kid should go to camp at least once. Most kids thrive and grow at camp. I've had friends most of my life who I met at camp. Just do it!

Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about our state.

Hope: People who have never been to Michigan don't know what they're missing! I've always thought this was true, and have noticed so many guests who are surprised by how much we have to offer. We have the rural life and a rich artistic tradition. Best of the city and the country.

Debbie: Some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: Are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Hope: Definitely a Michigander. "Michiganian" sounds like a practitioner of something strange, to me.

Debbie: Thanks, Hope, for being this week's Michigander!

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