Wednesday, December 17, 2014


My book Stone Age Farmers Beside the Sea: Scotland's Prehistoric Village of Skara Brae has recently been republished as an e-book at StarWalk Kids Media. and as an Amazon Kindle book.  It has been redesigned and has a new cover, which depicts the Ring of Brodgar, a circle of standing stones and ancient henge monument. The hardcover version is out of print so I am pleased to have this book available again.
Skara Brae is one of Europe's oldest known prehistoric settlements.  For about 600 years, from 3100 B.C. to 2500 B.C. people farmed, herded, hunted, and fished there, raising families in houses built of stone and supported by midden--a mixture of trash, soil, and plant matter.  A violent storm uncovered Skara Brae in 1850.
In 1992 I visited Skara Brae with my husband Art, whose photographs illustrate the book. 

Read more about my visit to Skara Brae at my travel blog The Intrepid Tourist.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FOCAL Luncheon Honoring H. Joseph Hopkins, Author of TREE LADY

H. Joseph Hopkins with puppet of Kate Sessions created by Jesse Kingsley
On Saturday, December 6th, 2014, the annual luncheon honoring the winner of the FOCAL Award was held at the Border Grill in downtown Los Angeles across the street from the Los Angeles Central Library. As always, it was a gala event with delicious food, great company, and an inspiring program. The tables were decorated with wonderful centerpieces created by students of art teacher Ray Moszkowicz at Noble Middle School after reading The Tree Lady.  A looping slideshow created by Mara Alpert at LAPL of past FOCAL winners played at the front of the room.
Centerpiece depicting Kate Sessions planting a tree created by Noble Middle School students
As a member of the award committee I had the pleasure of sitting at the head table with the author, H. Joseph Hopkins, and the four winners of the essay contest, who had won the opportunity to meet the author and engage him conversation over lunch. The students (grades 3, 4, 5 and 8) read their essays as part of the program. I was impressed at the excellent job the students had done. As one of them wrote: "Kate Sessions was a woman with guts." Clearly she is a role model.
Tribute to Puppeteer Carol Onofrio
A special part of the program this year was a tribute to puppeteer Carol Onofrio who, until this year, had created all the puppets inspired by the winning book–one to give to the author and another for the permanent collection of the Children’s Literature Department of LAPL’s Central Library.  Sadly, Carol passed away this past year.  This year’s puppet, a wonderful rendition of Kate Sessions, the “tree lady” of the book, was created by Jesse Kingsley. After receiving the award, H. Joseph Hopkins gave a presentation about how he created the book and about the life of Kate Sessions.
Renny Day, VP Correspondence and Membership, and Caroline Gill, President of FOCAL
After four years as part of the FOCAL Award Committee and I am going to miss reading the books and going to the meetings. But I will always look forward to the luncheon. And I want to thank the award committee and  Caroline Gill, Renny Day and all the members of the FOCAL Board for all the hard work that makes the luncheon such a success and one of the highlights of my year.

The FOCAL Award was instituted in 1980 and is presented annually for a book of merit that features some aspect of California history and/or geography.
Friends of Children and Literature (FOCAL) is a support group of the LAPL Children’s Literature Department at the Central Library.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

ABFFE Holiday Auction on EBay--ONE DAY LEFT TO BID!

Just one more day to go! Don't forget to check out the ABFFE holiday auction on EBay of wonderful art by children's book illustrators!  It's a great chance to get a unique holiday gift for someone you know and support the freedom to read at the same time.
There are 97 terrific items to choose from in the auction. Scroll down to find my giclee print of a mother eagle feeding her eaglets (from my book, A Bald Eagle's World.)
Click on this link to go to the auction page:

UPDATE December 13:
ABFFE Holiday Auction Is a Success  
      NEW YORK, NY, December 11, 2014--The bidding was fast and furious in the final hours of the holiday auction of children's book art sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE). When the final gavel fell in the eBay auction yesterday, more than $14,000 had been raised to support ABFFE's defense of the free speech rights of kids, an increase of 40 per cent over the previous year. The auction included nearly 100 pieces by leading illustrators. The highest prices were paid for works by Jon Muth, Jared Chapman, William Wegman, Melissa Iwai, Eric Carle, Adam Rex, LeUyen Pham, and Leslie Patricelli. One sold for $2,750. "We are delighted by the success of this year's holiday auction. We are so grateful to the artists who donated and to the booksellers who helped us promote the auction," ABFFE President Chris Finan said
The children's art auction is a mainstay of ABFFE's fundraising for the Kids' Right to Read Project (KRRP), which it co-sponsors with the National Coalition Against Censorship. The auction, which is also held at the ABA Winter Institute and at BookExpo America, will continue after ABFFE becomes the ABFE Group at ABA next year. The ABFE Group will support KRRP as well as Banned Books Week, the national celebration of the freedom to read.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NEW BOOK! How Smart is a Lemur?

Brain power: Lemurs are amazing animals. These small creatures look like a cross between a cat and a squirrel. Scientists at Duke University are testing them to find out how smart they really are. Find out what they are discovering in this book.

Illustrated with spectacular color photographs, this 24 page book is written for fourth grade readers.  It is part of the Fountas Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention program. Like my book Octopus, Escape Artist of the Sea, How Smart is a Lemur? is in the Intriguing Animals series. My book Sneezes and Sniffles is also in the Fountas Pinnell LLI program.

I visited the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina to learn about lemurs and meet with some of the people who work with them.  You can read about my visit at my travel blog, The Intrepid Tourist.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ABFFE Holiday Auction Begins Dec 1

Illustration of Eagle and Eaglets from A Bald Eagle's World
Once again I have contributed a piece of my art to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the bookseller's voice in the fight against censorship,  to help raise money to defend the free speech rights of kids in an online auction that launches on December 1. The week-long eBay auction will include work by Eric Carle, Rosemary Wells, Jon J Muth, Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Steve Light and many others. I have contributed a giclee print of one of my cut paper art illustrations for A Bald Eagle’s World.

Proceeds of the auction help support the Kids' Right to Read Project (KRRP), which is co-sponsored by ABFFE and the National Coalition Against Censorship. Since the start of the school year, KRRP has been fighting a rash of book challenges in school districts from Texas to New York. KRRP helped reinstate seven banned books in Highland Park, Texas, including The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Working Poor: Invisible in America, Siddhartha, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, An Abundance of Katherines, The Glass Castle: A Memoir and Song of Solomon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Arriving at Thomas Jefferson on a Snowy Morning
On Friday, November 14th, I had a wonderful author visit at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Eastlake, Ohio (near Cleveland).  I spoke to three groups of very enthusiastic students and teachers in the auditorium and then had a lively young author question and answer session with representatives from all the classrooms.

In the school auditorium
Before my visit the students had been introduced to my books Wiggle and Waggle, Too Hot? Too Cold?, A Warmer World and The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers, purchased by the PTO for the school library, as well as numerous other of my books checked out from the public library, so they were well prepared. Questions ranged from “How do you get a book published?” to “Have you ever written a book about snakes?” (Yes.)

With Tim Hammon, Principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary
I thank the principal, Tim Hammon, for coordinating the schedule, for introducing me at each presentation and making sure that everything during the day ran smoothly. I was also pleased to meet the school superintendent and assistant superintendent, who came to observe the young author session. And I thank Laurie in the office for ordering a very delicious lunch! And most of all, I thank Julie Pattie, PTO President, and her husband Chris for working so hard to raise the funds to make my visit possible, for arranging my stay at the Radisson Hotel (graciously donated), and for driving me to and from school and the airport in below freezing weather.
With Julie Pattie, PTO President, in the school library
I arrived in Cleveland in the midst of a snowstorm and, miraculously, the school district was the only one in the county not closed for the weather.  After a year of planning, it was a great pleasure to spend the day at Thomas Jefferson and meet all the people who make it such a great school. Thank you PTO for making it possible!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ANCIENT CLIFF DWELLERS OF MESA VERDE: One of 13 Great Books at StarWalk Kids Media Celebrating Native American Month

I was delighted to learn that my book ANCIENT CLIFF DWELLERS OF MESA VERDE is featured in this month's newsletter from StarWalk KidsMedia. From Maine to Hawaii, North Carolina to Alaska, StarWalk Kids Media has more than a dozen books that feature Native American history, culture and folklore. There are picture books with legends, myths and folktales illustrated by Indian artists, nonfiction for middle school with primary source documents, and exciting historical fiction. 
THE ANCIENT CLIFF DWELLERS OF MESA VERDE, is about the Anasazi, Native Americans who inhabited the cliffs and mesa tops of Mesa Verde, Colorado, a thousand years ago.  It is illustrated with beautiful photographs by Richard Hewett.  This book was originally published in 1992 as a hardback and paperback book by Clarion Books. It is now available again as an e-book at StarWalk Kids. You can also find it at Amazon as a Kindle book.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: The Ancient Cliff Dwellers of Mesa Verde
Grade 4-6-- Sharply focused and dramatic full-page, full-color photographs are an outstanding feature in this book on the Anasazi people of the American Southwest. Mesa Verde serves as the backdrop and focal point. Photos of the spectacular cliff dwellings can be found throughout, but there are also pictures of archaeologists at work and many of the artifacts that have been found there. Chapters include a description of the discovery of the area by ranchers in the late 19th century and the development of the area into a national park. Readers will also see how painstaking archeology has re-created the probable scenario of how people lived when the area was at its height of development and various theories concerning the fate of the Anasazi. An engrossing introduction to the culture, the place, and the time, and how we have learned about them. --David N. Pauli, Missoula Pub . Lib . , MT