Wednesday, February 14, 2018

AUTHOR VISIT at Circle View School, Author Festival, Huntington Beach, CA

Autographing books at the library at the Huntington Beach Author Festival
Tuesday January 30th was the annual Author Festival in Huntington Beach, California. I have been participating in the Huntington Beach Author Festival almost every year since it started in 1989, with a morning visit to an elementary school and an afternoon reception and book sale at the Huntington Beach Library.
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This year I was at Circle View School and spoke to three groups of enthusiastic students, kindergarten through third grade. I thank teachers Jo Marie Costello and Glenda Mooradian for coordinating my visit and Pam Justice in the library for setting up the room and equipment and for my snack "goody bag."
Thanks also to the PTA for a delicious lunch in the teacher’s lounge and for supporting a purchase of books for the library. I always enjoy the chance to chat with teachers and staff at lunch.
After lunch I joined authors who had been visiting other schools for a gala reception at the Huntington Beach library. Volunteers on the festival committee, dressed in red shirts, made sure everything ran smoothly. Students who had won prizes for their stories were honored in the auditorium, with their proud parents and teachers watching in the audience.
This event would not go on year after year except for the hard work and dedication of Gail Page who has led the festival for many years and her hardworking committee of volunteers. Thank you! I always enjoy the chance to share my books with new readers, to see old friends, and to make new ones. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

YOSEMITE: CSLA Conference 2018--Elevating Learning Through Reflection

Yosemite Valley
I had a great weekend at the California School Library Association conference at Tenaya Lodge just outside Yosemite National Park, presenting with Jeri Ferris and Kathy Krull and hiking and sightseeing in Yosemite Valley with Gretchen Woelfle.
The theme of the conference was Elevating Learning through Reflection. It was great to spend time with school librarians and other authors. Virginia Loh Hagan did a great job keeping all the authors organized and well fed! There were twenty-eight of us!
Lobby of Tenaya Lodge
The author events were all on Saturday and included presentations, panels, autographing, a mix and mingle with librarians, culminating with the Young Reader Medal dinner followed by more autographing.
At book signing after my presentation
With librarian and Jeri Ferris
The California Young Reader Medal was awarded this year to author Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen for their book Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. Mac Barnett was the featured speaker at the dinner. Jon Klassen couldn’t make the dinner and had sent a video but, unfortunately, technical difficulties prevented it from being heard. Mac compensated by giving a very entertaining and inspiring speech for the both of them. Tables were decorated with charming centerpieces made by students at a nearby school.
Centerpiece: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
I went to the conference with fellow author Gretchen Woelfle. We went a day early so we could do some sightseeing. We hiked to the Vernal Falls bridge--more uphill than I planned but we both made it. The weather was perfect and the park wasn't crowded. It was truly inspiring and a wonderful addition to the conference.
With Gretchen Woelfle at the tunnel view of Yosemite Valley

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Four Fun Art Projects at the BOOK TALK TEA, An Afternoon with Four Children’s Book Illustrators

Last Sunday afternoon I joined three other author/illustrators--Priscilla Burris, Joe Cepeda, and Tim Egan--for a BOOK TALK TEA at the Thousand Oaks Library in Thousand Oaks, California, to talk about our books and how we illustrate them. While we talked, attendees sipped tea and enjoyed delicious tea cakes and fruit. Each of us had been asked to “teach” one of our illustration skills to the audience as part of our presentation to provide some insight into our creative process. Paper and pens were provided.
Tim Egan demonstrated how to draw a moose, guiding us through the simple shapes needed to draw the head and bumpy antlers. (Tim created the charming animal tea party poster art for the event.)
My rendition of a moose following Tim Egan's instructions
Joe Cepeda showed how one can use simple shapes such as rectangles, circles, triangles and a couple of moon shapes to draw a dog.
My rendition of a dog following Joe Cepeda's instructions
Priscilla Burris passed out a worksheet of blank faces to be filled in according to the emotions listed underneath.
Expression worksheet by Priscilla Burris
Since my cut paper art would be too messy to do as a group, attendees were given a baggie filled with the ingredients to “Put the Stripes on the Zebra” to take home and do later. I demonstrated how this can be done in a larger format after downloading the template from my website.
Packet to put your own stripes on the zebra
Thanks so much to the Ventura Reading Association for inviting me to be part of the Book Talk Tea! The hard working committee did a fantastic job of putting on a great program--I loved listening to the other illustrators talk about their process--plus the delicious refreshments, raffle and table decorations. Everyone wore a creative alter ego name tag--mine was Emerald Sun Bee! I enjoyed talking to the people who came--librarians, teachers, aspiring book illustrators–who all said they really enjoyed the event.
The Book Talk Tea committee
Thanks to the committee for all their hard work and to the library staff for helping to solve equipment problems and making sure that it ran smoothly. And thanks to Connie Halpern of Mrs. Figg’s Bookworm  for supplying the books for autographing.
The Book Talk Tea was sponsored by the Ventura County Reading Association, the Thousand Oaks Library and Friends of the Thousand Oaks Library.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Save the date! Book Talk Tea, Thousand Oaks Library, CA

I will be joining three other author/illustrators--Priscilla Burris, Joe Cepeda, and Tim Egan--for a BOOK TALK TEA at the Thousand Oaks Library in Thousand Oaks, CA, on Sunday, January 28 at 2:00 pm to talk about our books and how we illustrate them. The event is sponsored by the Ventura County Reading Association, the Thousand Oaks Library and Friends of the Thousand Oaks Library.
Please join us if you can!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chicken and Egg Jokes: Part 2

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Here are some more chicken and egg jokes to celebrate the one year birthday of the publication of HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6.
Enjoy!

Why are chicks so neat?
Because they always have a comb.

Why did the chickens sit on their eggs?
Because they didn’t have any chairs.

How did the egg get up the mountain?
It scrambled up.

How do comedians like their eggs?
Funny side up.

What do you call an egg that goes on safari?
An egg-splorer.

Who wrote the book, Great Eggspectations?
Charles Chickens

(For more chicken and egg jokes, check out last week's post.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Chicken and Egg Jokes: Part 1

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Today is the one year birthday of the publication of HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6. Let's celebrate by telling some chicken and egg jokes.
I'd love to hear your chicken and egg jokes too. Write them in the comments section.

What do you call a chicken that crossed the road, rolled in mud, then went back across the road?
A dirty double-crosser!

What do you get if you cross a chicken with a cement mixer?
A brick layer.

Which side of a chicken has the most feathers?
The outside.

How do chickens get into a hotel?
They chick-in.

How do chickens get strong?
They egg-cercize

What do you get when chickens lay their eggs on the roof of a barn?
Egg rolls.

Why did the chicken cross the playground?
To get to the other slide.

What do you call a chicken at the north pole?
Lost.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Cut-Paper Animals by Students at Coastal Grove School

I was away for the month of December and came home to a pile of mail including an envelope with wonderful cut-paper art and note from Jenny Hales, the Education Coordinator at Coastal Grove Charter School in Arcata, California. I had visited the school in October as part of the Humboldt County Author Festival. After my visit, the fifth grade students were inspired to create their own cut-paper art in the same manner I use for my books. I absolutely love the art--the students did a fantastic job of making the animals realistic and colorful. I especially like the texture of the paper and the use of watercolors to create various color shades.
Thank you so much for sharing!