Wednesday, November 15, 2017

CELEBRATING DIVERSITY: Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum, Los Angeles, CA

CCMM Spiritual Connections Display at RFK School Library, Los Angeles, CA
Last week I attended the annual open house of Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum (CCMM) at the Robert F. Kennedy School Library in Los Angeles.  CCMM is a program that brings rich displays of cultural objects from around the world to middle schools, with the goal of helping students understand the diversity in their own world so they can begin to appreciate themselves as participants in a global community.
Julia Goldman, CCMM Executive Director
Hundreds of objects are displayed (usually in the school library) with identifying signs color coded for each part of the world. Students are always delighted to find objects from their own country of origin. During the CCMM presentations, the students learn the stories behind some of the objects, their significance, and have the opportunity to handle some of them. The displays are organized around three themes: commercial, spiritual, and everyday connections.
Book and Puppets from India
The collection on display at the open house focused spiritual connections, with objects ranging from masks, books, clothing, and musical instruments that play a role in the various religions of the world. Among my favorites were the many masks on display, including one that I had donated.  Here are a few of the masks. Find out more about CCMM at their website.
African Masks
Spirit Wheel Mask, Alaska
Mask decorated with feathers, Brazil
Raven mask, Canada

Saturday, November 11, 2017

CARNEGIE LIBRARY OF PITTSBURGH

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Last week, my daughter, Jennifer, was in Pittsburgh, and stopped in at the Carnegie Library. As she browsed the shelves she found several of my books. When I looked in the online catalogue, I was pleased to discover that the library has 125 of my books, 120 print books, and 5 e-books. I am always pleased to discover my books on the shelves of libraries knowing that through my books I am reaching the lives of children who check them out wanting to learn more about the world we live in.
Two of my books on the shelves of the library
The establishment of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was forecast in a letter, November 25, 1881, from Andrew Carnegie to the Mayor of Pittsburgh, in which Mr. Carnegie offered to donate $250,000 for a free library, provided the City would agree to provide the land and maintain the annual funding for library operations. After additional consideration, Mr. Carnegie increased his charter investment to $1 million to build and equip a Main Library and five neighborhood branches, with the City of Pittsburgh agreeing to provide $40,000 for their ongoing support.
Founding public libraries became a personal philanthropic mission for Mr. Carnegie. To him, libraries were vital, non-luxury assets to be supported by public dollars. When finished, Mr. Carnegie established more than 2,500 libraries around the world. (From the library website.)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fall Gala of the CLCSC featuring Steve Sheinkin, Los Angeles, CA

A week ago I attended the annual celebration of children's book authors and illustrators by the Children's Literature Council of Southern Calfornia, held this year at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. As always it was a wonderful time see friends and to reconnect with teachers and librarians. After a delicious breakfast we proceeded to the auditorium to hear award winning author Steve Sheinkin give an inspiring keynote address followed by the presentation of awards.  This year's honorees are Jennifer Holm, Outstanding Work of Fiction, K.G. Campbell, Outstanding Picture Book, Nikki Grimes, Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry, Nicola Yoon, Peggy Miller Award for Young Adult Literature, and Alyson Beecher and Alethea Allarey, Dorothy C. McKenzie Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of Children's Literature.
Thanks to the Fall Gala Committee and the Awards Committee for an excellent job!
At breakfast with LAPL librarian Marcia Melkonian

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Eureka! Honor Award from CRA for Hatching Chicks in Room 6


Good news! Hatching Chicks in Room 6 has been named a Eureka! Honor book by the California Reading Association. The Eureka! award is for outstanding nonfiction. I am delighted to be on the list, which will go to teachers and librarians all over the state. The winners were announced at the fall meeting of the CRA. Thanks to all on the Eureka committee!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Reading in the Redwoods: HUMBOLDT COUNTY CHILDREN’S AUTHOR FESTIVAL, Eureka, CA

Theme art for "Reading in the Redwoods" at the Humboldt County Library, Eureka, CA
I am just home from the bi-annual Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival in Eureka, California, and it was as fabulous as ever. This was my sixth time to participate, and each time it gets better and better. The theme this year was Reading in the Redwoods.
The four day festival (October 18-21)  includes author visits to schools, a gala banquet, book signing at the library, and an exhibition of children’s book art at the Morris Graves Museum of Art. I had two pieces of original art from my book A Day and Night on the Prairie in the exhibit. On the opening day of the festival there is always a welcome reception for the authors and volunteers at the museum, a chance to meet the wonderful volunteers who organize the festival and to mingle with the other authors. This year there were 25 of us!
Artwork by students at Bridgeville School
Thursday and Friday are devoted to author visits in the schools and I had three wonderful school visits. The first was to Bridgeville School, a tiny (26 students grades K-8) school tucked in the hills of Humboldt County. I was greeted by students from the upper grades with a lovely poster and then did two presentations. Librarian Kathy Wolff had done a great job preparing the students. The wall of the library was decorated with student art inspired by my books. 
With librarian Sharron Jones at Hydesville School
I then went down the road to Hydesville School for a delicious lunch with the teachers and then two presentations in the multipurpose room where librarian Sharron Jones had made a lovely display of my books. My driver for the day was Ann Gunderson. (Ann grew up in Eureka and comes back every year to volunteer at the festival. It was great to spend time with her–several years ago I did an author visit at her school in Billings, Montana.)
Thursday evening at the festival is always a potluck dinner (yummy food provided by the many festival volunteers) followed by a Readers Theater performance by students from the arts high school in Arcata, who did a brilliant presentation of Kirby Larson’s book Hattie Big Sky. When they finished there wasn't a dry eye in the room.
Singing the Wiggle and Waggle song with K-2 students at Coastal Grove School
On Friday morning my driver, David Peterson, picked me up to take me to Coastal Grove School in Arcata where I did four presentations followed by lunch. Teacher Jenny Hales coordinated my visit and did a great job.
On Friday evening everyone gathered at Ingomar Club (the historic Carson mansion) for a gala dinner. Entertainment is from the authors–each of us gets three minutes at the podium--a challenge to decide what to say, but everyone manages to be very entertaining and different. In the end I did a reprise of the Wiggle and Waggle song, something I had done ten years ago at my very first banquet. As the second to last speaker I decided a sing-along was a good way to end.
With authors Nancy Coffelt and Linda Bourne at the library book signing
The final event of the Authors Festival is a book signing on Saturday at the beautiful county library. We all wear our festival t-shirts as we chat with visitors and autograph books.
I do many author events but nothing is quite like the Humboldt County festival. I can’t give enough thanks to all the people who put so many hours into planning and coordinating all the different moving parts. (The Festival website has a complete list of these amazing people and much more.) You all do a fantastic job! Thank you for making me a part of this unique and wonderful festival!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

AUTHOR FESTIVAL ILLUSTRATOR EXHIBIT, 2017, Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka, CA

Original cut-paper illustration from A Day and Night on the Prairie, 9:00 p.m.
The Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival in Eureka, California, brings together authors, illustrators and book lovers for a very busy and fun four days.  Held every two years in October, the festival  includes author visits to schools, a gala banquet, book signing at the library, and an exhibition of children’s book art at the Morris Graves Museum of Art. I have been participating since 2007. This year I sent two pieces of original art from my book A Day and Night on the Prairie.
Original cut-paper illustration from A Day and Night on the Prairie, 6:00 a.m.
Many thanks to Lucy Quimby, one of the many devoted volunteers who organize the festival, for making arrangements for the show and to Jemima Harr at the museum for hanging the art. Copies of the illustrated books are also on display.The show went up in September and continues to the end of October.
Books by participating illustrators
On the opening day of the festival there is a welcome reception for the authors and volunteers at the museum and I always enjoy the chance to view the show and get a close-up look at the art of my fellow illustrators.
Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka, California

Saturday, October 21, 2017

CELEBRATING LOCAL AUTHORS at the Mar Vista Library, Los Angeles, CA

Caroline Arnold and Susan Casey at the Mar Vista Library Local Author Celebration
Last Saturday, October 14th, I joined a dozen other authors at the Mar Vista Library in Los Angeles to celebrate the wealth of creative writers in our local community. (Although I don’t live in Mar Vista, I am only ten minutes away.) We sat with our books at tables in the library meeting room as people came by to chat and look at our books.
Eleanor "C-Pass" Jones and Gretchen Woelfle
Then. each of us had a turn to tell a little bit about ourselves and our lives as writers. We were a wonderfully diverse group ranging from children’s book authors, to comic book producers, to novelists, to poets, to biographers, cookbook and health writers, each with a fascinating and unique story to tell.
Verdel Flores, librarian, Mar Vista Public Library

I thank Verdel Flores, adult librarian at the Mar Vista Library for organizing this inaugural authors’ program. It was an honor and a pleasure to participate!
Authors at the celebration
Participating authors:
Adult books: Carol Davis, Melissa Guzzetta, Eleanor Jones, Lilly Padilla, Ramon Resa, M.D.
Young Adult books: Arthur J. Gonzalez, Jeremy Lasman
Children’s books: Caroline Arnold, Susan Casey, Aileen Leijten, Gretchen Woelfle
Publisher representatives: Monica Faulkner, Elyse Wietstock

Monday, October 16, 2017

SCBWI BookStop Web Page: HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6

SCBWI BookStop has launched today! Come take a look, click to "like" and find out more about HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6.

HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6 will be featured for the next six weeks at the SCBWI BookStop site. SCBWI BookStop goes live to the public, Monday October 16, and runs through Thursday November 30. It features books published in 2017. With information about each book and links to related social media sites plus a direct link for purchasing the book, BookStop is designed to widen awareness and provide an opportunity for authors to promote their books.
Be sure to stop by my page and leave a comment!
The direct link to my BookStop page is https://www.scbwi.org/scbwibookstop-display/?id=476450
The URL for the SCBWI BookStop homepage is https://www.scbwi.org/scbwibookstop.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mexico's Ancient City of Teotihuacan Exhibit at the De Young Museum, San Francisco

I can't wait to see the new exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco about Teotihuacan, whose ruins lie just outside Mexico City, and is one of the most fascinating places I've ever visited. Opening September 30th, Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire features never-before-seen archaeological discoveries and captivating artwork from one of the largest and most important cities of the ancient Americas. The exhibit will be up until February 11, 2018.
I am reminded of my visit to Teotihuacan twenty years ago, climbing the pyramids and exploring the ruins as I  researched my book City of the Gods: Mexico's Ancient City of Teotihuacan, which is illustrated with photos by Richard Hewett. You may be able to find the book in the library, or you can read it online. It is available as a Kindle book on Amazon.
Here is a wonderful video giving a preview of the exhibit at the De Young Museum:

Friday, October 6, 2017

CELEBRATING 150,000 VIEWS

As of today, this blog has been viewed more than 150,000 times! Thanks so much to all of you have stopped by and read my posts at Caroline Arnold Art and Books. I appreciate all your support. THANKS!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Signing at the ORANGE COUNTY CHILDREN'S BOOK FESTIVAL

In the SCBWI booth at the Orange County Children's Book Festival with author Henry Hertz
On Sunday, October 1, thousands of families thronged the campus of Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, for the annual book festival. Dozens of white tents lined the walks and stages for performers and storytellers were strategically located.
Tents and books were everywhere!
I spent a busy hour at the SCBWI booth talking to children and their parents, giving away postcards, and signing books. I shared the table with author Henry Hertz, festively costumed in a pirate outfit to go with one of his books. It was a fun day. I enjoyed talking with Francesca Ruzackas and Ernesto Cisneros of the SoCal SCBWI in the booth and thank Francesca for coordinating the the signings in the booth.
Clifford the Big Red Dog was one of many performers who greeted guests at the festival

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

EASTER ISLAND is Now a Kindle Book

My book, EASTER ISLAND is now available as an e-book on Amazon Kindle. It was originally published by Clarion Books in 2000 and is out of print. The cover has been redesigned but the text and full color photos inside are the same as in the original book. EASTER ISLAND is illustrated with my own photos, taken on my visit to the island in 1996. I am happy to have EASTER ISLAND now available to new readers as an e-book. You can read it with a Kindle app on various devices (I use my iPad) or on your computer.

REVIEW
School Library Journal, starred review
Arnold provides a clear and concise look at the island and the many mysteries that surround it, detailing its early settlement, its people and resources, and the rise and fall of its rich and complex civilization. One of the most intriguing questions that remains unanswered is how the ancient Rapanui people carved and erected hundreds of giant stone statues found all over the island. The author carefully explains how scientists have theorized on the early history and how the decimation over time of the islands natural resources and its isolation from trade routes may have led to its decline in population. The book concludes with a quick look at the tourism that is renewing pride in the unique heritage of the few hundred remaining Rapanui people, as the island becomes a model open-air museum.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Although the purpose of the moai [giant statues] that seem to stand sentinel around the famous island is obviously the intriguing mystery here, Arnold sets the stone figures into cultural perspective, examining what archaeologists, anthropologists, missionaries, explorers, and descendants of island settlers have discovered concerning the Polynesians who carved them. In a dozen succinct chapters she surveys the land and its original topography, discusses legends about the earliest settlers, reconstructs how the moai were carved, moved, and placed, and speculates on how deforestation, overfarming, overhunting, clan warfare, and European-borne disease contributed to the decline of the island civilization.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Save the Date: Book signing at the Orange County Children’s Book Festival, Sunday, Oct 1

Please join me on Oct 1st, 2017, at The Orange County Children’s Book Festival located at The Orange Coast College where I will be signing books in the SCBWI SoCal booth between 11:30 and 12:30pm. The Festival is expected to draw 30,000+ people. Get there early and spend the day celebrating books and reading!

When: 


Sunday, October 1, 2017 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM PDT

Where:

Orange Coast College
2701 Fairview Rd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Event Address Map
Driving Directions

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

FICTION versus NONFICTION: What Do Young Children Prefer?

One of my favorite writers, Melissa Stewart, has just published a terrific article on her blog, Celebrate Science, about the reading preferences of children in the primary grades. Not surprisingly, many, or in some cases, most, of the children prefer nonfiction, especially boys. She cites two studies that looked at children's book choices:
Correia, Marlene Ponte. “Fiction vs Informational Texts: Which Will Kindergartners Choose?”Young Children, 2011, p. 100-104. And,
Mohr, Kathleen A. J. “Children’s Choices for Recreational Reading: A Three-Part Investigation of Selection Preferences, Rationales, and Processes.” Journal of Literacy Research, 2006, p. 81-104.
It is great to see numbers supporting what a lot of teachers and librarians already know--that young children either prefer nonfiction (they want to find out more about the world we live in) or like it just as well as stories. Yet, there are too many adults who think that kids just want stories. Kids like both, and we need to make sure that they have the option to choose the books they prefer.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

BEDTIME STORY JAM: Westwood Charter School, Los Angeles, CA

At Westwood Charter School ready for my Story Jam Presentation
On Friday evening I was one of ten authors participating in the Bedtime Story Jam at Westwood Charter Elementary School, one of the schools in my neighborhood. It was the culmination of their week-long library Book Fair. (Books supplied my Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair company.) Children came to school in their pajamas and enjoyed milk and cookies before spending two sessions with their chosen authors. In my room, children sat on the rug in the front and parents sat on chairs in the back. I gave a slide presentation, finishing with the reading of my book Hatching Chicks in Room 6. At the end, children had a chance to ask questions and have their books autographed. I found it to be a very enjoyable evening and I thank Jenna Carlston and her hard-working book fair committee for the good organization and promotion of the event. And I particularly thank my host for the evening, Sara Sadrieh, who helped me set up, introduced me and made sure that everything went smoothly. At the end, we all had a chance to relax together in the library patio. Thank you Westwood School!
Sara and Jenna, in their Westwood Story Jam T-shirts

Sunday, September 10, 2017

IMAGINE II, VIP Reception, dA Center for the Arts, Pomona, CA

At the IMAGINE II exhibit, underneath my art from A Day and Night in the Desert
On Saturday evening I attended the gala VIP reception for illustrators and librarians at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona. As I arrived, the gallery was full of people looking at the illustrations on the wall, browsing books by the illustrators that were displayed on tables, munching appetizers, and getting ready for a presentation by local school children and later a puppet show.
Books by participating illustrators including my Day and Night Habitat series Lisze Bechtold's Buster the dog books
More than thirty Southern California children’s book illustrators are represented in the exhibit, but as I looked around the room, I couldn’t find the art that I had submitted. It turned out that it been tucked away after I delivered it and overlooked when the exhibit was hung. Luckily, the two pieces were found and are now hanging on the wall along with the other pieces of art. The show will be up until September 23. I encourage you to stop by and take a look.
Illustrators Joe Cepeda and Gina Capaldi
I thank Gina Capaldi of the SCBWI for all the hard work of putting the show together and to Margaret Aichele at the dA Center for the Arts for coordinating the exhibit. It was also great to see Judy Nelson of Mrs. Nelson's Books, who provided the books for sale at the event.
Lisze Bechtold and her illustrations
Where to see the exhibit (until September 23):
dA Center for the Arts
252 South Main Street
Pomona, CA 91766
Phone: 909-397-9716

Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm to 4pm (til 9pm on Thursday)
Judy Nelson with her door, autographed by dozens of children's book writers and illustrators

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fifty Hands and Fifty Feet: Drawing Exercise

When I was in art school, our first homework assignment in life drawing class was to draw fifty hands. Then fifty feet. Besides the face, hands and feet are the most expressive parts of the human body, and learning to draw them well was a first step in successful figure drawing. My roommate and I posed for one another, drawing with our right hands and holding our left hands still for the other to draw. Our first attempts were a struggle, but by the time we reached fifty, we had gotten a lot better! Recently, I was cleaning out my attic and discovered some of my hand and feet drawings that I had saved. Here are a couple of them!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Oakland Public Library Teen Room

Last week I went with my eleven-year-old granddaughter to the Oakland Public Library so she could return her books and check out new ones. We arrived at the main door and then walked up the long stairway to the second floor and then down a long hallway past the history department to the teen room. Although I had been to the library numerous times before, I had always gone to the children’s room, which is on the lower level at a separate entrance. This was my first time upstairs in the teen room, a spacious high ceilinged room filled with large bookcases organized by book type–fantasy, romance, manga, adventure, etc.–radiating from a central lounging area with couches for reading and relaxing. Music was playing through loudspeakers–a contrast to the usual quiet associated with libraries--and on the walls were posters of local events of interest to teens. It was a room designed to be welcoming to teens and a place where they could relax, read and hang out–as a number were doing as we browsed the shelves selecting books. A while later we left with my granddaughter happily carrying a pile of new manga books (her current favorite) plus several hardback novels recommended by the helpful librarian. It was great day at the library and a new experience for me!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS is Now a Kindle Book

My book, AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS is now available as an e-book on Amazon Kindle. It was originally published by HarperCollins in 2000 and is out of print. The cover has been redesigned but the text and full color photos inside are the same as in the original book. AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS is illustrated with pictures that I obtained through photo research from a variety of sources including my own collection. Many came from my several trips to Australia, including an extended stay in 1999 when my husband was there doing a research project. I am happy to have AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS now available to new readers as an e-book. You can read it with a Kindle app on various devices (I use my iPad) or on your computer.


"The continent of Australia is home to an extraordinary variety of wildlife. Tasmanian devil, koalas and echidnas make their homes in leafy forests and woodlands. Other animals, such as kangaroos and wombats, inhabit dry grasslands. Still more species, like the bilbies, live in the hot desert, while along the coast fairy penguins parade to their burrows in the sand. Young readers will discover how each animal--from dingo to glider, quoll to platypus--is able to adapt to its own special environment in the wild." (from the flap of the original book)


REVIEW
School Library Journal
Arnold divides her well-organized text into sections that cover the four diverse biomes that are found on the Australian continent and focuses on particular creatures that inhabit these areas. The two-paragraph text describing each of the 17 animals is encased in a beige block to set it off from the full-color photographic background. Striking, close-up photos complement the author's comments.

Friday, August 18, 2017

National Geographics and an Urban Native Plant Garden at Esperanza School in Los Angeles

A week ago my 43 years of National Geographic magazines found a new home! Mrs. Oasay, a wonderful 5th grade teacher at Esperanza Elementary School in Los Angeles, is going to use them with her students. For many years I used the National Geographics for my research and I'm thrilled they are now getting a new life! Thanks so much to Principal Brad Rumble for helping to arrange this!
With Mrs. Oasay, Brad Rumble and Student with my boxes of National Geographics
After I delivered my National Geographic magazines at Esperanza, Brad took me on a tour of the school including the beautiful renovated library and the amazing natural garden filled with native plants, birds and other wildlife.
Principle Brad Rumble in the Esperanza School Garden
Bees were buzzing and a pair of doves was foraging in the plants along the path. Brad told me that two species of hummingbirds have been observed feeding on the flowers and that many other species have been seen and recorded by the children. The garden is an oasis in the heart of the city and a place where students can have hands on interaction with the natural world. This living laboratory is a wonderful asset to the school and to the neighborhood.
To find out more about how the garden project has impacted the whole school and the surrounding neighborhood, read Brad Rumble's excellent article Planting the Seeds of Change.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

WATCHING A SOLAR ECLIPSE, from SUN FUN by Caroline Arnold

Pinhole eclipse viewer, from Sun Fun, text and illustrations by Caroline Arnold
My book SUN FUN, originally published in 1981 and now available as an ebook on Amazon, includes eleven projects for primary school age children to learn about the sun. With the solar eclipse coming on August 21st, making a pin hole viewer is the perfect activity to safely observe the eclipse. (The illustrations in the book are my own, created in the days of pre-separated art. I had to make a separate drawing for each printed color.)
Enjoy watching the eclipse safely!