Deborah is happy to announce that she is now on the CBE Artist Roster approved list. An accomplished author/poet and highly skilled performer, Deborah Fannie Miller’s work has been showcased on CBC TV and Radio, CTV, and Global, The WTN, and Vision TV. She has been widely published throughout Canada, is in two anthologies and has had three collections of poetry published. In 2011 her first book for children, Grappling with the Grumblies, won The Steffie Young Readers Choice Award. Juggling the Jitters, the second book in her Dealing with Feelings series came out in 2013. In January 2014, Deborah presented her books at the Super Ontario Librarians Association Conference. In May 2014 Deborah gave two seminars on her Dealing with Feelings series at the Calgary Mom and Tot Show. Also in May, Deborah was the official Storyteller in the Big Blue Whale at the Calgary International Childrens Festival. She rounded out 2014 with a first for her: In November Deborah presented her stories in Manhattan at the Bankstreet Childrens Bookstore and was interviewed by their delightful puppets, Yippy and Skippy. That was fun! 2015 was a busy year presenting her books to Parent Link orgs., immigrant parent groups, and Day Care Owners. In 2016 she was chosen as one of the Cenovus Wordpower Artists! However her first love is going into schools and interacting with students and teachers.
Deborah will not be available for bookings in Fall 2022.
Detailed Presentation Outline for pre-K – 3
Grappling with the Grumblies
- Introduce myself and Grappling with the Grumblies
- Appreciative inquiry with the children about feelings: how we all have them, how they come and go, ebb and flow.
- Zero in on anger/anxiety: how we all get the grumblies, that everyone gets the grumblies. The children tell me about their grumblies and I tell them about mine.
- I ask them where they feel it in their bodies, how grumblies sound, how they move with grumblies. We experience and play with what they tell me.
- We talk about how when the grumblie is present it can get much bigger depending on what we say and what we do.
- We physically and verbally move from grumblie to not grumblie.
- I talk specifically about Jessie’s problem with anger in the book one sunny morning.
- I tell them how the book came from a particularly grumblie morning I had with my daughter.
- I present the book with the help of the class and my stuffed Grumblies props.
- Before I start to read I get the children to help me by practicing saying “Grump” loudly, softly, a little grumblie, big grumblie, so they can help me once I start reading the story. I have two different sized Grumblies with me and together with the children’s help, I read the story.
- During the story we wiggle, giggle and shake our grumblies away.
- During the reading we repeat silly lyrical rhymes. It is a very interactive book.
- Afterwards we chat more about getting the grumblies and what the students think they might like to do next time they get the grumblies. I give them some tips and they give me tips.
- Also, after the reading, I take questions from the children.
- We talk more about the process of writing the book, and more about feelings in general and what they can do to help themselves and others when they feel over powered by grumblies.
- I leave a tip sheet with the teachers for related activities and for interacting with their students when grumblies come.
Juggling the Jitters
(Depending on time constraints, I present Grappling with the Grumblies as well. I can tailor my program for either or both books to run anywhere from 20 –45 minutes.)
- Introduce myself and Juggling the Jitters
- Appreciative inquiery with the children about feelings
- Zero in on anxiety: how we all get anxious, how it is impermanent and we have the ability to make anxieties multiply or lessen.
- I ask them to tell me where they feel it in their bodies, how it sounds, how they move with it. We experience and play with the answers.
- We talk about when they were anxious but are not now. How it always goes away.
- Talk specifically about Jacob’s problems in the book one starry night.
- I Present the book with the help of the class and my Jitters props.
- I get the children to help me by practicing saying “Yikes, yikes” loudly and softly, a little jittery and very jittery.
- With the children’s help I read the story.
- During the story we breathe, dance, jiggle, wriggle and jumble our Jitters into glitters that burst into stars.
- During the reading we repeat silly lyrical rhymes and mix up words. It is a very interactive book.
- Afterwards we chat more about juggling the jitters and what the students think they might like to do next time they get the Jitters.
- Also, after the reading, I take questions from the children.
- We talk more about the process of writing the book, and more about feelings in general and what they can do to help themselves when they feel overpowered by anxiety or anger.
- If they wish, I read them my next story that is not published yet, “Norbert Nopes the Nopers”, about getting frustrated at school. They can give me feedback and get a sense of a book in progress and how to improve each draft.
- I leave the teacher with a tip sheet for related activities and for interacting with the students about their emotions.
Grapping Grumblies/Juggling Jitters for Adults
Goal: “Dealing with Difficult Emotions”: spend less time and energy dealing with anger and anxiety and more time and energy playing and laughing together with children.
Method: Through presenting Grappling with The Grumblies and Juggling the Jitters, offer a fresh perspective that gives confidence in order to deal effectively with disturbing emotions. Also share practical tools from the books that can be used with children and adults together, when anger and anxiety arise.
1) We are all experts on disturbing emotions
2) They are impermanent (weren’t angry five minutes ago, won’t be five minutes from now)
3) Feelings come from our thoughts
4) We make our thoughts -we own the factory. We can make them bigger or smaller and choose where you want that energy to go. Comedy or tragedy?
1) Acknowledge the feelings in child friendly terms “Grappling with the Grumblies” or “Jugging the Jitters”
2) Get breathing back on track
4) Empower and externalize: “What would you like to do about it?” Offer suggestions too, the sillier the better
5) Play: dance, wriggle, mix up and name the fears or angers
6) Extend: reminder that others suffer from anger and anxiety
Juggling the Jitters, Written By Deborah Fannie Miller, Illustrated By Danielle Bazinet, Frontenac House 2013
Grappling with the Grumblies, Illustrated By Diane Jacobs Bayeux Arts 2009, soft cover, Frontenac House, 2013
Grandmother’s Radio, Bayeux Arts
I Will Burn Candles, Bayeux Arts
Landing at Night, Bayeux Arts
Everyone grapples with the grumblies from time to time, but this lovely (and funny!) book will help your child -and you -discover new ways of dealing with difficult feelings. I recommend it for anyone who has ever had a rough day and had trouble turning things around. In other words, it’s a great book for every family.
Through engaging and playful storytelling, Grappling with the Grumblies and Juggling the Jitters offer adults and young children practical tools to work through anger and anxiety together.
Every child gets the jitters sometimes, and parents are often unsure how to help. This funny (and profound) book helps children recognize how to ease anxieties, and also gently guides parents towards a compassionate and effective approach. A fitting follow-up to Miller’s wonderful Grappling with the Grumblies.