About Me

Debbie Clement & Rainbows

My First National Keynote Presentation: Dallas

What rainbows are within reach you ask???
You've come to the right place for answers!!
[This post tells that whole story: click here.]

Cuyahoga Co. Library Early Childhood Event:           Keynote Gatlinburg TN 
Welcome to my world!!
I'm Debbie Clement!!

Welcome to the party!!! It's a celebration!!!!
I am passionate about three things:
  • Children's music
  • Arts + creativity 
  • Literacy!!!!
The best work on earth is my having the opportunity of making a crazy-quilt while happily and enthusiastically stitching these three ingredients together. My company, Rainbows Within Reach, is now launching it's 23rd year of children's Arts programming. How amazing is that? 

Twenty-four years ago I had been promoted to being an Administrator at a private school that served young children with special needs. I missed providing the music and art experiences for the children. Truth be told, I missed their hugs. I arranged to have Jim Gill present a day of staff development. He so inspired me I promptly resigned from my full-time salary with benefits, leaving my friends and all that was familiar. I wanted to have the opportunity to share the joy of the Arts with children again. So I took my guitar and finger puppets and hit the road!! Then I started providing staff training. Then teachers wanted my ideas to share in their classrooms. So I learned how to record my ideas to share with others.

{Song Writer} Initially I am struck with a shiver of an original thought. I do my best to capture that inspiration while it's fresh, writing it down on a napkin or the back of a nearby envelope or whatever is handy. Then I take that sparkle-glimmer zest and put it to a tune, start humming, and create an original snippet in the process. Then the 'trick' is all about hiring amazingly talented musicians to create the instrumentals. My goal is to keep the arrangement itself 'simple' but have the instrumentation be awesome. Working on the recordings in the studio is a whole 'nother level of fun! Voila!! I can then share that initial moment-of-wonder with others as we sing together. In the very beginning I thought of my flippy little bips as ditties, not quite songs. I gave myself permission to be a dittie-writer and it was at that point that "Debbie's Ditties" were born.

My encyclopedia of original songs are for the young, the young-at-heart and the wee-wittle wonder-ones too. In my own latest evolution I am turning my songs into the traditional picture book format by illustrating them with quilts I've created from bright fabric. (That's where having a degree in Art comes in handy.) Initially we took out a loan against our house so that I could turn into an author/illustrator. How's that for a plan? Sometimes dreams require an actual loan.

photo of: Three Picture Books by Debbie Clement of Rainbows Within Reach

And then, drumroll......... I get to go where I get invited {{{{have guitar, will travel}}} and make author-illustrator music-lady visits to schools, centers, sites, camps, hospitals, prisons, military bases and libraries across the country or around the world. I have a passport and I'm willing to use it!!! [Click here for the posts of my recent international tour to 4 of our US Army bases in Europe, for my USO-style tour for "Month of the Military Child." Or click here for posts about my day in Reggio Emilia, Italy!!!!]

I LOVE leading my own style of sing-along/read-along concert fun while introducing the sign language to my picture books in the process. My work continues to grow as a result of my workshop presentations at national and state educational events, conferences, trainings, conventions and seminars.  I am increasingly being given bigger + bigger spotlights with opportunities for presenting the keynotes to larger + larger audiences!!!! I am the poster-child for 'follow your bliss.'  I think I can. I think I can. I think I can........

The collection of my songs are gathered onto CDs known as "Debbie's Ditties." I now have 6 CDs in this original collection of nearly 100 songs. From there it was only natural to create a DVD, with the upbeat moniker of "Kweezletown." That project is my first national award winning effort. So henceforth I may be introduced as the 'nationally award winning, Debbie Clement!'

I was then commissioned by Zaner-Bloser to create music for their curriculum and if you count that work -- it brings the total to well over 100 original ditties!! Whooohooooo!!! ZB has been gracious to sponsor my presentations at a number of events for teachers. So you may look for me in all of my polka-dotted splendor in the Zaner-Bloser booth at convention centers near and far.

My newest picture book has received national acclaim and been honored with an "INDIE Award of EXCELLENCE" golden sticker!! I have turned three of my ditties into full fledged, traditional 32 page, hardback picture books. I've created the illustration's artwork from fabric as small quilts. Each book includes it's own CD with both a sung and instrumental version of the song's lyrics -- which becomes the text of the book.

My Picture Book w CD Recording:

My picture books are published by my parent company [Rainbows Within Reach] and are therefore primarily available here at my blog/website. The books are gaining a wider audience all of the time and are now beginning to be available in public libraries across the country. How exciting is that?

                         My Picture Book w CD Recording:            My Picture Book w CD Recording:

My most recent project has been to team with the very brilliant and talented Connie Dow for a brand new shiny endeavor from Redleaf Press of Minnesota. Connie has created a 300 page teacher book on movement and dance ideas for young children. To complete her brilliant insight, Redleaf has furnished a two CD set of my material -- including 12 sung-songs and 28 instrumentals in Connie's book, "One, Two, What Can I Do?" This latest project promises to generate its own set of adventures. Here we are at the annual Ohioana Book Festival, a day of celebrating all Buckeye authors.

What a joy to be invited into schools, libraries and conferences across the country to share my travels and materials. Picture your favorite patchwork quilt. It gives warmth while exuding charm and personality. My own experience is 'pieced' together from various perspectives, including ten years of working in a private preschool for young children with special needs, both in the classroom and as an administrator.


NEWEST CHAPTER: In addition to sharing the 'excellence-in-education' that I observe in my travels here on my own blog, I am now also wearing the additional hat as editor-in-chief of the collaborative blog, "PreK+K Sharing." We have a group of a couple of dozen contributors, each an authority in the field of early childhood, who write monthly articles to share with the cyber community around the globe. Since I'm the queen there, you can find my article on the first of every month. 

We now have a 'cyber store' where the authors of the collaboration share their own products for sale -- both digitally and traditionally to be shipped. We welcome new contributors as we grow our resources every season. 

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Additionally, I am now a participant at the giant, Teacher's Pay Teachers cyber-store and am beginning to offer my songs and materials in immediate digital download zip files as Mp3s with support materials!! Come check out my store, follow me and await new releases of your favorites!

Outline that central panel of experience with sashes for my years as an Elementary Art teacher. Stitch on a block pattern in the border for that year of directing a Day Activity Center for adults with MRDD challenges. Another set of borders for the substitute teaching in scads of classrooms way back at the beginning of time. Don't forget the color added by those many summers spent at various camps: as counselor, song leader, Arts 'n Crafts guru and Family Camp Administrator. Stand back and view the finished quilt now as a multi-faceted kaleidoscope glimmering in every dimension. My liberal arts degree from Wittenberg University was catalyst to grow this Arts and education enterprise with flair, confidence and dedication.

My husband Allen gets all the credit in the world for his encouragement to 'find a need and fill it.' I am especially fortunate that he is increasingly able to travel with me and share in all the fun. I tell people that we are the Brady bunch for the nineties, down-sized and scaled back from the Nick-at-Night TV version. I had two daughters and he had two sons when we met at a ballroom dance event. As they say, the rest is history!

Our tribe currently has 7 grand-children to act as my test market, as quality control, as both my audience and inspiration. Our "grand" tribe currently contains five boys and two little princess girlies. Which just goes to show you -- if you wish hard enough and long enough dreams really do come true!  

P.S. This story of "About Me" is only made slightly more compelling when I mention that in the last not quite seven years I have been diagnosed with early stage Breast Cancer on TWO occasions. This has required two sets of surgery, treatment and recovery. I have only experienced the side effects of radiation, as chemo was not required with either diagnosis.

So I am indeed a survivor and I'm doing my best to honor my sistah-hood by being a Thriver, too. While most of my posts are pertaining to my creative work with children, teachers, librarians and parents -- every now and then you will find me reflecting on how very fortunate I am to have the opportunity to continue living my dream as I share some of the aftermath of my BC experience in the hopes of advocating for others in the process.

And that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!!

My blog: http://www.rainbowswithinreach.blogspot.com/
My site: http://www.rainbowswithinreach.com/
My twitter name: @Kweezlequeen
My Facebook fanpage: RainbowsWithinReach
My Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.debbie_clement/

My email: debbie@rainbowswithinreach.com

Here's a few of my fave-o-rite photos, all in one place! 

Marvelous Mentor Mimi      Denise Fleming Author/Illustrator

THE!!! Ella Jenkins 80++     

The JO's: Mary JO Huff & Debbie JO     Ooey-Gooey Lisa

Dr. Thomas Moore     Music Makers: Me & Mar


With Lois Wachtel @ NAEYC   

Goldie in Early Intervention   

It\  Indiana Family Sing-A-Long  My NEWEST Picture Book: "Red, White and Blue"  Infamous thrift shop tutu: lion\

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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