Deborah Marcero grew up in Michigan’s farm country. From the time she was little, she loved to draw, write and read. After high school she went to the University of Michigan and got a BFA in drawing, printmaking, and photography. A BFA is a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts.
Deborah went onto get an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in writing and poetry. She also picked up a teaching certificate from Northwestern. Deborah began teaching in the Chicago Public Schools as a literacy specialist. It was when she was teaching her fifth graders a unit on young authors that she realized that she wanted to write and create books for kids,
Today Deborah is back in northern Michigan where she lives, draws, and writes. She became an artist and author. She also returned to teaching. She joined the faculty at the Vermont College for Fine Arts in October of 2019.
If you want to hear from Deborah herself, click on the podcast below. You’ll find out how she went from farmer’s daughter to an author/illustrator. She’ll also tell you how she got the idea for her newest book.
Link: IN A JAR: Podcast, Picturebooking with Nick Patton - January 2020
If you want to visit Deborah, here's website at: https://deborahmarcero.com/
But if you really want to get to know her, check out her books:
Deborah’s first came out in July 2015. She was the illustrator for a trio of books ‘starring 3 young girls and a mysterious visitor.’
This is Book 1. Have your friends ever left you behind? Sadie’s did. Her two best friends went on vacation together. How will Sadie ever survive without them? With a little help from the witch who appears in her old playhouse, and, she’s willing to use a little magic.
This is Deborah’s 2nd book. It came out on April Fool’s Day in 2016. Really! She wrote AND did the illustrations! I love the cover and the blurb for her book. Here’s what Deborah wrote:
“One night Ursa had an idea.
An amazing idea.
A wild idea
She was going to fly!
It was such a crazy idea that no one believed she could do it. She was a bear, for goodness sake, and bears don't fly! Or do they . . . ?”
If you want to find out, you’ll have to read it yourself! Plus, isn’t Ursa a great name? I wonder where Deborah found it.
This is Deborah’s 3rd book. It came out in July of 2016, just 2 months after Ursa. It’s the 2nd book in the Backyard Witch series.
Jess is the star of this story. She’s a sports superstar, but a mess in the kitchen. Her chef mom just doesn’t understand why her daughter can’t cook. When mom gets a job in a famous kitchen, the three friends try to help out, but somehow, their work goes up in flames. Never fear! Ms. M is here, and she knows how to give the girls a magical helping hand!
Don’t stop till you reach the end! There’s a recipe, plus information about cooking and gardening! Sounds delish!
Deborah was on a roll! Her 4th book came out in March of 2017, one she’d written and illustrated. Rosie’s ‘crayon’ wasn’t the kind of crayon I expected, the kind you use in a coloring book. Her Crayon was a puppy, and the two grew up together. They shared seasons together until Crayon grew too old and said goodbye. After years of color, Rosie’s world became black and white. Read along and find out how Rosie grows through grief and opens her heart again.
Three months later in June of 2017, Deborah’s 5th book came out with her illustrations for the final Backyard Witch story. It’s Maya’s turn, and she’s been preparing for the school spelling bee F-O-R-E-V-E-R! She spells every unusual word she hears, and her two best friends, Sadie and Jess, are in it to help Maya win it. Then the worst thing ever happens – Maya loses – to Sadie. Can Ms. M help? I’ll give you a hint . . . it involves Ms. M as the substitute librarian, a poltergeist who appears in the library, and an imaginary chicken. You’ll have to read the final Backyard Witch to find out what happened in the library.
In September of 2018 Deborah’s 6th book came out, illustrations only. I’ve heard of this one, it’s one of those books that other writers talk about as a mentor text, for fractured fairy tales. Can you guess which one?
The author smushed two ideas together – a set of twins and Cinderella. The best part, they share the work. The worst part – there’s only one prince. OH MY! What are a set of twins to do? You really can’t share a prince, really! You’ll have to read the book to find out if the twin-derellas get their happily ever after!
A mere two months later in November of 2018, Deborah’s 7th book came out. She wrote and illustrated this one too.
Her main character, Rosie, is determined to discover something new so she sets off on a fantastic voyage, bounding from one world to another. Her only guide – a set of maps from her own imagination and her heart’s desire. It sounds like an incredible journey, an incredible book!
Here’s book #8. Its book birthday . . . January 21, 2020. THIS YEAR! BOW-WOW-WOW! That’s 8 books in 5 years or 1.6 books a year. That’s an incredible body of work! Congratulations to Deborah and her 8 books!
Do you recognize Joe Burrow in this photograph? He’s the one in the middle.
As quarterback Joe took the LSU Tigers all the way to the national championship. He won the Heisman Trophy for the nation’s best college football player. This sounds like the culmination to a great college career, but it wasn’t! It was a Cinderella season.
From High School to OSU to LSU
The Cinderella Season: So what happened? How did Joe and No.6 LSU turn 2019 into a Cinderella season? This is my third try to tell this story. I hope it’s the charm.
First up, Ranked Opponents:
- No. 9 Texas went down 45- 38 on September 7th. LSU became No.4.
- No.7 Florida lost 42-28 On October 12th. LSU moved up to No.2.
- No. 9 Auburn lost 23-20 in LSU’s closest win on October 26th. LSU holds onto No.2.
- No. 3 Alabama goes down 46-41 in the biggest game of the season. Alabama was predicted to win, Joe pulled it out, and LSU was NO. 1!
A Single-Season of Records:
- September 7th Joe passed for 471 yards in one game and takes over the No. 2 spot in LSU school history.
- September 21st Joe sets 2 records. He throws 6 touchdowns and has his 3rd game with over 350 yards.
- October 5th Joe has his 4th game with over 300 yards. It would have been 350, but he was 6 yards short.
- October 19th he scores his 32nd touchdown in one season, an LSU record.
- October 26th Joe has his 8th game with over 300 yards passing.
- November 16th, he sets the single-season record for passing yards and another one for 17 completed passes in one game.
- November 30th Joe sets the all-time single-season record for passing yards, and he ties for single-season touchdowns.
All this from the quarterback who didn’t get an offer from Nebraska, the one who was passed over at OSU 3 times. Congratulations, Joe! Persistence pays off!
The Road to the National Championship
- First up, the SEC Championship on December 7th. No. 4 Georgia went down to the Tigers 37-10. LSU was still ranked No. 1.
- On the 14th Joe won the Heisman Trophy for the best college player in America.
- Next up, the Peach Bowl on December 28th. No. 1 LSU defeated No. 4 Oklahoma 63 – 28 in the 1st game of the National Championship.
- Finally, on January 13th LSU defeated No. 3 Clemson 42-25 to win the National Championship.
- Records, yes, please! 60 passing touchdowns for the FBS* single-season record.
- 5,671 passing yards put Joe at third for all-time yards in an FBS* season.
- A passer rating* of 202.0, the highest passing efficiency in one season.
- This is a photo of Joe in the Oval Office. If you click on the link, you can see more photos of the LSU Tigers at the White House. Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/49400533066/
* FBS is the top level for college football. It used to be called Division 1-A. Either way, it’s the most competitive subdivision of college football It’s made up of the largest and most competitive schools in the NCAA. That’s a record!
* Passer rating is a formula that includes attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes, and interceptions. Click on this link if you’d like to see the math:
Up Next for Joe
The NFL draft to be held April 23 – 25, in less than a month. Many predict he’ll go first to the Cincinnati Bengals, close to home and his parents. Where ever Joe goes, I think any team will be lucky to get him.
When I look at him through my teacher/writer eyes . . .
This is what I see:
1. Persistence – Joe never gave up. When Nebraska didn’t pick him, he chose Ohio State. When OSU didn’t start him at quarterback, he tried for 3 years before moving onto LSU.
2. Initiative – When OSU didn’t pick him his sophomore year, Joe started looking at other teams. In May of 2018 he announced he’d be going to LSU.
3. Smart – Joe graduated from OSU in 3 years with a degree in consumer and family financial services. Most people take 4-5 years to graduate.
4. Coachable/Trainable – Joe went from zero to starter in 3 short months at LSU. To do that, he had to be able to work with a new coach, work with new teammates.
5. Personable – Joe learned how to fit in with his teammates in those 3 short months. “There is no I in team.” A 10 and 3 season at OSU in 2018 would have been a failure. Instead Joe used the experience to build the relationships that took LSU to the national championship.
Here’s what his OSU teammates had to say:
6. Leader - “Believe me when I say this because he was my roommate for two years,” Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones said, “you’re getting a dog in Joe. Joe’s no slouch. He’s a leader. He’s gonna take over that huddle.”
7. Work Ethic – “LSU fans should be excited because they’re getting a warrior. A true warrior,” Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell said. “Many people didn’t get to see Joe before at the highest level, but we’ve seen Joe go to work every single day. He’s a guy who didn’t say a whole lot, but is just a down and dirty competitor. Just a warrior.
From a Pair of Buckeyes:
8. Loyal – Joe never bad-mouthed the Buckeyes or Nebraska either, even when he was competing with them in the runup to that championship. When OSU played Clemson, he rooted for OSU. When Clemson won, he stil had good things to say about his old team. Me
“Joe did about everything possible to win the starting position by the end of spring camp. “Do I wish he was still with us? I do,” Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days. “I love Joe Burrow. I love his family and have great respect for him. And that’s not going to stop. That relationship will continue for many years.” It says a lot about Urban, a lot about Joe.
From his former coach, Urban Meyer
3 Quotes: https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/lsu-football/one-got-away-burrow-osu-players-lsu-fans-burrow/
Why Write about Joe?
He's an inspiration! Joe is somebody you can learn from whether you want to play football, write stories, or do anything else. My advice: compare his character to yourself. Capitalize on strengths. Pick a weakness or two and work on them. Joe wasn’t an overnight success. He worked to be successful. The same is true for you and me. Here’s to the journey of becoming your own personal best!
This is the Corona Virus. It’s been sweeping the world, and not in a good way. It’s teeny tiny. The only way you can see it is through a microscope.
Did you know there’s more than one kind of Corona Virus, but scientists are guessing the new one is about 125 nanometers long. What’s a nanometer? One billionth (10-9) of a meter. I can’t imagine dividing a meter stick into a billion pieces.
If you want to picture it, look at one strand of your hair. It’s thin, but huge compared to the virus. Your hair is 80,000 – 100,000 nanometers wide. If your hair is 80,000 nanometers wide, the tip of your hair could hold 640 teeny tiny Coronaviruses. No wonder they make you sick!
The math : 80,000 ÷ 125= 640.
Size of Virus: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/01/coronavirus-surgical-masks-china.html
Nanometer definition: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/nanometer
Its actual size: https://www.nano.gov/nanotech-101/what/nano-size
I went to this link. It says the Coronavirus has two strikes on me. One more, and I’m out. Yikes!
Strike 1 - I’m old. I’m 60 years old. But when I look at this face, I don’t feel old. I know I’m not young, but I don’t feel old either.
Strike 2 - I’m also a diabetic. I never thought you could be too sweet, but you can! I have to watch what I eat, take medicine every day for the rest of my life, but I’ve learned to live with it. There are worse things.
Now I’m discovering how to avoid the Corona Virus. I don’t want that last strike so I’m following the CDC’s instructions for the Corona Virus. I’d rather be safe than really, truly sorry.
Have you read the the CDC’s instructions? If you haven’t, I have them below because if you stay safe, you can keep me safe too. If you get sick, you can make me sick too. Let’s work together to keep everyone healthy!
Here’s the CDC guidelines for how you can protect yourself, and me too!
1. Know how it spreads. Knowledge empowers you to protect yourself, to protect me, and all the people you love.
The Coronavirus spreads when you cough or sneeze. Teeny tiny droplets spread through the air. If you stand 6 feet or less away from that cough or sneeze, you might breathe the germs into your lungs. Then you might get sick too! You might even pass it onto me, onto everyone you know. Please don’t! Read on! You can discover how to stop the Coronavirus from making one more person sick.
2. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. How long is that? It’s long enough to sing the ABC song once. Long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Long enough to count to 20. Not 1, 2, 3 . . . Instead count 1001, 1002, 1003 . . . until you get to 1020.
Why 20 seconds? It’s long enough to wash all the germs away. If you only rinse your hands, most germs stay behind. If you do less than 20 seconds, some germs are still there. But if you don’t wash at all, the germs are all there, waiting to make you sick, your mom and dad, your grandma and grandpa, and me too. Please wash your hands!
3. But what if you’re somewhere you can’t get to soap and water, what can you do? Germs are everywhere. You can never, ever, get away from them.
Get out your hand sanitizer. Always carry some with you – a little dot will do it. Rub those hands together till the liquid disappears. Make sure your sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol. Any less – you won’t kill those germs that make you and me sick.
4. Learn not to touch your face. It’s a bad habit during cough and cold season, but it’s even worse now with the Coronavirus around. If your hands are clean, it’s not a problem, but if your hands haven’t been washed for a while, they’re covered in germs and viruses.
Your eyes, nose, and mouth are the worst places to touch because that’s where germs enter your body. Touching your cheek isn’t a problem, unless you have a cut. That’s when germs have an opening to come in and make you sick.
5. Use social distancing. That’s a new word people invented for the Coronavirus. The best way – stay home as much as possible.
6. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t share your germs! If you have a sick friend, call, text, or Skype them. Keeping your germs to yourself, is a great thing, especially with the Coronavirus around.
7. If you have to go out, remember to keep your social distance. Stay 2 meters or 2 yards apart. Stretch your arms out, and look at the distance between them. That’s how far you should stay away from other people, for you and for them.
8. When you cough or sneeze, cover them with a Kleenex, or an elbow. They’ll catch those germs. If you use a Kleenex, throw it away, and wash your hands. They’re both good things.
9. Wear a mask only when you’re sick. It will keep your germs from spreading to others.
Don’t wear a mask if you’re healthy. It won’t keep out all the germs. You might feel safe, but you’re not.
10. Keep surfaces clean whether it’s the kitchen table or your cell phone. If you touch it, you should clean it, especially if it’s dirty.
If you do these simple things, you’ll stay healthy, and you’ll help everyone around you to stay healthy too.
PS- I added this to the post to help young children, and us adults too, to understand social distancing. I couldn’t find this image, but picture it, and you’ll better picture social distancing. You and your best friend reach out your hands, but don’t let them touch. This is about 2 yards, and social distancing. It helps me, when I see a friend to stay 2 arm lengths apart. I hope it helps you and your family too.
For kids in third grade on, you have tests every year. Learning to think your way through questions and answers is key. I love trivia questions. I hope you can use these for practice. Just think, you could even test your parents!
Question 1 – What is the least densely populated U.S. state?
Can you eliminate two states? Think about population.
Alaska Hawaii New Mexico Wyoming
AK HI NM WY
Who did you eliminate? Hawaii was easy. The weather is beautiful! It’s a popular tourist destination so there are lots of people on a small amount of land. That means a higher density.
I also guessed New Mexico. It’s way warmer than Wyoming or Alaska. I think of it as desert, but I thought it would have more people than the other two. It turns out I was right, so far!
That leaves Alaska and Wyoming. Which one has the least number of people per mile? Guess and check below.
Did you guess Alaska? It was my very first answer. Why? Because Alaska is so cold, and it’s not heavily populated. I think it’s a vast wilderness. And . . . IT’S THE RIGHT ANSWER!!!
Alaska has 1.6 people per mile. Wyoming is second with 6.0, and New Mexico is sixth with 17.2. Hawaii didn’t even make the list.
But if you asked the question a little differently, the answer changes. Which state has the smallest population? Wyoming would win with 578,759 people. Alaska is now in sixth place with 731,545. Hawaii is in fourteenth with 1,415,872, and New Mexico is at eighteenth with 2,096,829.
WOW! The way you ask a question makes a huge difference in the answer. If you have to take a test, first read the question and answers carefully. Then start your reasoning!
Question from: https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-what-is-the-least-densely-populated-u-s-state/
Question 2 – Which US city receives the most hours of sunshine per year, on average?
Can you reason out the answer? Think weather – sunshine and rain!
Houston, TX San Diego, CA Miami, FL Yuma, AZ
Texas California Florida Arizona
If you guessed Yuma, Arizona, you’re right! I was too!
Here’s how I figured it out . . . I eliminated Florida right away. During the summer it clouds up and rains almost every day, but only for five or ten minutes. Then I looked at the other three cities and thought about rain. I think Arizona is a lot like New Mexico, hot and dry, and I think Texas and California get a little more rain. I guessed and picked Arizona.
Click on this link to find out the 10 sunniest cities in the world. https://www.earth.com/news/sunniest-cities-united-states/ Would you believe three of them are in Arizona? They’re Yuma, Phoenix, and Flagstaff.
California had three sunny cities – Redding, Fresno, and Sacramento. Sorry, San Diego! Texas had one sunny city – El Paso. Sorry, Houston! Poor Florida! The sunshine state didn’t have one city on this list. Shucks! Question Source: https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-what-u-s-city-receives-the-most-hours-of-sunshine-per-year-on-average/
Meet Vivian Kirkfield in just five words – Writer for children, reader forever. Five great words, and I’m thrilled they apply to me too.
Vivian is a retired Kindergarten teacher and now a published author. From February 2019 till January 2020, she published her first four books. That is an incredible achievement!
Along the way she also started a writing contest in 2016. If you’d like to take a look, click on this link. You’ll see how it all started, as well as this year’s prizes. If you keep scrolling, you’ll see the 2020 entries and the comments made about them.
In 2016 Vivian hoped for a few entries. She got 128! That first winner found an agent and a board book series, but it all started with 50 precious words.
This year Vivian is up to 390 entries. They received over 5000 comments. If you’d like to read a few, click on her link, and start scrolling. Happy reading!
This is my first try at 50 Precious Words. Where did it come from? An idea I played with since my granddaughter was born. I love telling stories, and I thought about the ones I want to tell her, just like the grandma in the picture.
I pooled my ideas into an outline about rocking her to sleep with a story about her dad as a little boy. It was too long and needed more heart so I shifted the focus to the night she was born.
After a dozen drafts, maybe more, here’s my story . . .
Baby, can’t sleep?
Here’s a story -
You were tucked in your mama’s belly.
You twisted and turned.
“It’s time, baby!”
But hours passed,
Then a day. Was it two?
You twisted, tried turning.
“Need a little more room?”
You nodded and decided it was time to be born.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!