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Holiday fairs 2014

Two years after I published my rhyming picture book about the housing crisis, we’re finally starting to see some policy change at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mel Watt, the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has announced that families in foreclosure will now be able to buy their homes back at fair market value. It’s a huge, hard-fought win that will keep up to 121,000 families in their homes–and we’ll keep fighting for more.

This weekend the books and I will be at two holiday fairs:

Saturday, December 13, Craft Fair and Bake Sale, Minnehaha Free Space, 3757 Minnehaha Ave, 1-5 pm

Sunday, December 14, Makers & Bakers: craft fair and bake sale fundraiser, Southpoint Community Acupuncture, 1510 E Lake Street, 2-6 pm

If buying books in bookstores is more your jam, I recommend Boneshaker Books, where this book rotates between the Politics and Children’s sections. You can also always order them here on this website. Thanks for all your support!



Fannie and Freddie books on display at the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin!

Fannie and Freddie books are now available in select upper Midwestern bookstores!

You can find us at Boneshaker Books, Mayday Books, and Birchbark Books in Minneapolis; Common Good Books in St. Paul; the Carleton Bookstore in Northfield, MN; and the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative in Madison, WI.

Books are also always available here at this website, where we can ship them well beyond the Upper Midwest. Here is a convenient link:

One book two book, red book blue book!

Check out our snazzy new cover, and thanks to Ben Egerman for his great snazzy cover design skillz!


Fannie and Freddie come to Madison!

We are very excited to announce that Fannie and Freddie will be making their way to Madison, Wisconsin! Author Becky Dernbach will have a reading on Monday, November 26, at 7 pm at the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative. There will also be a presentation from Take Back the Land‘s Madison chapter.

The Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative is at 426 W. Gilman Street, Madison, WI 53703. This is what it looks like from the outside!

Here is a handy picture of the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative!


You can find a handy map here to show you where it is located!

View Larger Map

If you are in Madison, we’ll look forward to seeing you there! And if you’re not in Madison, please tell everyone you know who is!


The crowd chuckles at a funny line. Jillia claps her hands with glee. Photo by Caylin.

Our book launch party was a stunning success! We packed Boneshaker Books for the unveiling of Fannie and Freddie. Connie and Caylin shared their stories of fighting their foreclosures, grounding us in why we do this work; we shared our collaborative illustration process; and of course, we read the book. Together we explored the housing crisis in incisive, whimsical rhyme. Our audience of about 50 people loved it, and almost everyone left with a book.

“Woody Guthrie said anybody can make something complicated, but it takes a genius to make it simple,” said one audience member. “And that’s really what you guys have done here.”

Books are available here at We’ll also be selling them at Occupy Homes MN meetings and events.

Becky reads aloud from the book. Connie’s original Homeville is in the background. Photo by Caylin.

Book release party Friday!

Nothing is official until it is spelled out in Scrabble tiles.

Yes, it’s true! We are having a book release party and you’re invited!

Here are the details:

Friday, October 19, 7 pm

Boneshaker Books, 2002 23rd Ave S, Minneapolis

We will have a reading, refreshments, and music. We will hear a poem from a child affected by the foreclosure crisis. And we will of course be selling books.

Link to event on Boneshaker website:

Link to Facebook event:

If you don’t know where Boneshaker Books is, here is a handy pictoral diagram:

This type of pictoral diagram is also known as a photo.

Here is a verbal description, if you are a verbal person: Boneshaker Books is located in the Seward neighborhood on the corner of Franklin Street East and 23rd Avenue South, but on the 23rd Ave side of the corner.

Finally, here is a map, if you find maps useful for helping you locate things:

View Larger Map

If there is any mode of communication I have forgotten to advise you on the location of Boneshaker Books, please let me know in the comments!

Fannie and Freddie at the St. Paul Art Crawl

Corrupt banking practices keep Jillia up at night. It doesn’t help that her pillow (designed by Connie) has a foreclosure map of Minneapolis all over it. Photo by Ryan.

Connie, who designed Homeville in the book, has a foreclosure exhibit at the St. Paul Art Crawl this weekend. One exhibit, called “The American Nightmare,” is a bed with a foreclosure map pillow. Jillia, the performance artist, quickly turned it into an interactive piece, complete with “Fannie and Freddie” bedtime story.

You can check out Connie’s art exhibit in Umbrella Tree Studios at 106 W. Water Street, St. Paul, MN! 12-8 Saturday, 12-5 Sunday.

“Fannie and Freddie” Visit Their Namesakes in DC

When people from around the country fighting Fannie and Freddie foreclosure gathered to protest in DC, Becky read aloud from the book on Ed DeMarco’s lawn. Photo by Anthony.

On September 27, Fannie and Freddie foreclosure fighters from around the country gathered to protest at Fannie Mae headquarters in Washington, D.C., Freddie Mac headquarters in McLean, Virginia, and Ed DeMarco’s house in Silver Spring, Maryland. Ed DeMarco is the acting head of FHFA, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, and has personally stood in the way of a number of policy changes that would help homeowners in foreclosure.

Becky brought copies of the book along and read an excerpt to the crowd during a pizza party on Ed DeMarco’s lawn, where we made some of our first sales.

In the Twin Cities, you can join us for the book release party at Boneshaker Books, October 19 at 7 pm! More details here.

Our friends from Occupy Our Homes Atlanta enjoy pizza on the lawn of the acting director of FHFA. Then they took home some books. Photo by Anthony.


Books are here!

“Fannie and Freddie” captures its first audience–the illustrators! From left to right, Connie, Dan, Caylin, Kat. Photo by Becky.

The books are here! We think they look great! It’s incredible that we were able to harness the talent of so many people to produce such a good product so quickly. Tonight the illustrators came over for a party in Becky’s hallway to appreciate the finished product and eat snacks. We are really excited to share them with you! Stay tuned for details about a book release party in the Minneapolis area. We will soon be selling them all over the area and beyond. Meanwhile you can purchase a copy here.

Collaborative illustrations

Jillia explains her creative vision for the next scene. Becky holds a bus. Photo by Mark Brown.

The illustrations for this book draw from a phenomenal talent pool. We pooled our art supplies and children’s books and turned  Becky’s unfurnished apartment into an illustration studio as everyone spread out on the floor and worked together. Connie drew our main Homeville backdrop. Dan stopped by almost unannounced and whipped up an incredible Vegas scene out of his head. Eva spent hours upon hours perfecting our three main characters. Caylin, Kat, Cat, and Becky worked on miscellaneous characters and props. Becky found the ocean on a postcard Elizabeth painted in 2005.

Then Jillia drew from her theater background to be our artistic director, arranging all the characters and props in different scenes. Mark took amazing photos. Meanwhile in Seattle Bill stayed up all night finishing up the graphic design.

As a result we created an incredible collaborative process, which was not only really fun but also produced what we think are really stunning images. Here’s a look at how the illustrations came together.

Eva prepares her final version of Fannie and Freddie, using Connie’s Homeville for reference. Photo by Becky Dernbach.

Kat has finished the corn and moved on to the moneybags. Photo by Becky.

Dan has finished Vegas and is now making accessories for Homeville. Photo by Becky.