Magination Press Author Profile
Today the grouchies got me. They
pushed me out of bed. They chased me down the
hallway, and this is what they said.
"Grouch and grump at everyone you meet
throughout the day. Don't be nice to anyone
and you will get your way!"
That is the beginning of The Grouchies, a fall 2009 Magination Press book by Debbie Wagenbach. In Volume 29, Issue 1, we explored Magination Press, APA's line of books for kids and the adults in their lives, and took a look at the spring lineup for 2010. Now comes a follow-up interview with Debbie Wagenbach, author of The Grouchies.
Debbie works in a place that we don't get to cover often in PsycINFO News but that was a first love for many of us: the public library. For the past 20 years she has worked in youth services at the Burlington, Iowa Public Library. The importance of the library to the Burlington community would be hard to overstress, but some numbers will help give a sense of its impact. The Burlington metro area has a total population of about 35,000; the door counter at the library shows that between 900 and 1,000 members of that community walk in every day.
For most of Debbie's tenure at the library she has been the children's library assistant, and a part of her job that she loves has been Storytime, aimed at the youngest library patrons. A first outgrowth of that passion was a series of public service efforts in the community. She and other members of the staff visit the local schools each May to promote the summer reading program, and she also has been making radio public service announcements promoting the benefits of reading for many years.
How successful are they in Burlington? When the library moved to a new building in 2006, Debbie came across a profile in her local paper, The Hawk Eye, of her 1992 Storytime group. She did a 16-year follow-up with current patrons, and all the children but one were still active library patrons.
About 5 years ago, she took the step of beginning to write children's books as well as read them. Her first effort was discouraging. She wrote a story that was enthusiastically received by the library staff, but rejected by the 10 publishers she contacted. She retrenched and reconsidered her talents and her audience. Her next effort was The Grouchies, a look at how mood affects behavior and how to combat a bad mood.
Through rhyme and a silly chant, it shows kids how their mood can affect others around them and shows simple ways to turn a mood around. It was a natural for a Magination Press publication. Partnered with simple and colorful illustrations by Steve Mack and an extensive note to parents by clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Mary Lamia, who for nearly a decade hosted a weekly call-in talk show called KidTalk with Dr. Mary on Radio Disney stations, The Grouchies has accessible information for both children and their parents.
The Grouchies and all the Magination Press books are indexed in PsycINFO. They are particularly useful resources for clinicians or who work with children or students who plan to, parents of young children, and, of course, librarians who work with any of these groups.