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Author shares sibling story

Author Dianne Bassett-Giehtbrock’s children inspired her first book. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)
October 05, 2011 - Clarkston author Dianne Bassett-Giehtbrock found inspiration close to home.

"The story came to me over Christmas break," said Bassett-Giehtbrock, author of the picture book "Sissy and Me." "I was frustrated with the kids, but I realized I'm not the only parent with problems."

The book features her daughters, Paige and Chloe Bassett-Giehtbrock. Paige is annoyed with her little sister because she draws in her coloring book and keeps following her around.

They get along better when their mother points out Chloe does those things because she's interested in her big sister and wants to be around her.

"It's a very true story," Dianne said.

She wrote the story in about 20 minutes in her walk-in closet.

"It was like a hurricane coming out of me," she said. "When I was finished, I thought, 'wow, this is something.' I called my husband, and said, 'I think I want to do something with this.'"

This is her first book.

"It all came together – I work with this age group," said Dianne, who is a preschool teacher at the Clarkston Early Childhood Center. "It's been a goal since high school – it was on my bucket list."

The story is based on lessons she learned growing up with her parents, Donna and Gary Bassett, and her little brother, Steve Bassett.

"I learned how to be a sibling from him," she said. "I was fortunate in my upbringing. My parents were very proactive and taught us how to be a team."

Published in June by AuthorHouse Publishing, the book is available at Great Turtle Toys in Independence Township, and Java Cafe and Trims and Togs in Waterford.

Great Turtle Toys, 5530 Sashabaw Road, hosts a book signing, with face painting, games, prizes, and refreshments, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Oct. 8.

"Jamie Nye (owner) is awesome – she's given it a roof over its head," Dianne said.

She used to teach in Palm Beach, Fla., and was also invited to join a panel of authors at a conference there in April.

"They'll fly me down – it's very humbling and very cool," she said. "It will be an awesome family adventure."

Book illustrator Willliam Roberts of Aunt Spray incorporates personal touches from the author's life, including the names of the girls' teachers and a painting by her grandmother.

"I like the illustrations – they fit the characters," she said.

She lives in Clarkston with her husband, Eric, and their daughters. Paige, 5, is a Kindergarten student at Springfield Plains Elementary and Chloe, 3, goes to Funshine Preschool.

"My husband is so wonderful with it," Dianne said.

She plans to write more books about parenting young children and teaching them respect, patience, and love.

"It's a teaching tool for parents," she said. "I consider this a major accomplishment. I'm proud of it – I had to get it done."

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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