Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sailing the High Seas of the Publishing World

The following is an excerpt from a talk that I gave at the SCBWI-LA Writer’s Day in 2006.

I know almost nothing about sailing and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been on a sailboat. But one thing that has always fascinated me is how boats manage to sail against the wind. It’s easy to see how one sails with the wind–you simply stick out your sail and the wind pushes you forward. But how do you get back where you came from–or how do you reach a destination that is in the opposite direction?
The answer is that you tack. You sail across the wind in a zigzag pattern. You reach your goal by aiming elsewhere. And sometimes, as you are zigging and zagging, you make new discoveries along the way, like the ancient Polynesian navigators who sailed in one direction from their homeland in central Polynesia and found Hawaii, and went in the other direction and discovered a tiny speck of land now called Easter Island, or Rapanui.
Tacking against the wind also has its application in writing.  Whether one is an already published writer or hoping to be published, the most direct route to your next book may be to change your course and try something new. It could be something fairly simple such as changing your point of view or writing for a different age group, or it could be a more drastic change such as adopting a while new format or genre.

Today, nearly ten years after I gave that talk, the publishing world continues to evolve. The key is to evolve along with it, while staying true to yourself.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Coloring Page: Desert 6:00 AM

Tap-tap, tap-tap! Tap-tap, tap-tap!
It is an early spring morning in the Sonoran desert. A Gila woodpecker drills a hole in a saguaro cactus. The tall plant will be a good place to build a nest. On the ground below, a coyote looks for a place to rest.
You can read more about plants and animals that live in the Sonoran Desert in my new book A Day and Night in the Desert. Find out which animals are awake during the day, and which animals are awake at night.

Click HERE to go to download the picture as a coloring page.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

GO WILD WITH READING: Talk at Summer Reading Celebration at the Braille Institute, Los Angeles, CA

Last Wednesday I was the guest speaker at the Summer Reading Celebration at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles. I gave my presentation to a room full of eager children and their parents as well as to many adult readers. All of them were avid readers and prizes were awarded to those who had read the most books. In some cases, they had read books in braille, and in other cases they had listened to audio books. I learned that many of my books are available in the Braille Institute library. The theme for the summer reading program is Go Wild With Reading so I emphasized my books about animals and took the children on a "Lion Hunt." A presentation was also made by Leslie Fuentes from the National Park Service who took the audience on an imaginary dive to the ocean floor and then invited the children to see and touch various objects found along the seashore and take home an abalone shell. I thank Library Director Dr. Henry Chang and Materials Development Coordinator Ivan G. Johnson and his hard working committee for organizing the wonderful celebration. A gift of a beautiful orchid will continue to remind me of a very successful visit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Black Bear Coloring Page

Black bears are North America’s most familiar and common bears. They typically live in forests, although they can also be found in more open areas. A mother bear gives birth to her cubs in late winter and by spring they are following her around as she searches for food. The cubs stay with their mother for a year or more. You can download a coloring page of a mother bear with her cubs HERE.
Find out more about black bears and other forest animals in my book A Day and Night in the Forest.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Signing: American Library Association Conference, San Francisco

Signing A Day and Night in the Forest in the Capstone Booth, ALA, San Francisco
The American Library Association Conference met in San Francisco at the Moscone Convention Center June 25-30, 2015 and I spent two very full and exciting days in the Exhibit Halls signing books, meeting friends, and roaming the aisles to attempt at view all the new books. In the Capstone booth, on Saturday, June 26, I signed A Day and Night in the Forest, one of four new books in the Caroline Arnold’s Habitats series. There was a long line and I signed furiously until all the books were gone. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet librarians and fans from all over and I thank Jennifer Glidden, the marketing manager at Capstone, for making all the arrangements, taking photographs, and for helping everything go smoothly. I enjoyed the chance to meet the other Capstone people in the booth as well and to chat with editor Michelle Bisson.
Outside the Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco
The ALA convention was also an opportunity to meet with my agent, Andrea Brown, with whom I had a delicious lunch, and my editor at Charlesbridge, which will be publishing my book Living Fossils next year. I have already seen the proof pages with terrific illustrations by Andrew Plant. And I stopped by the StarWalk Kids booth to find out the latest news about the StarWalk Kids digital library, which includes many of my older books. Their catalogue, which continues to grow, now has more than 500 titles!

I went to the convention with my friends and fellow authors Joanne Rocklin and Susan Meyers (who both live in the Bay Area) and as we roamed the aisles we kept running into many of our other author friends as well as many of the librarians we have gotten to know over the years. That is one of the great things about ALA–the chance to meet and renew friendships, all in the midst of thousands of new and wonderful books from publishers big and small. I came home with a bag full of books, catalogues, posters and more. I only go to ALA when it meets in California, which occurs every five years or so. This conference brought back memories of my very first ALA, also in San Francisco, back in 1981, when I was a new author. I remember being overwhelmed by the wealth of books and publishers. I still am.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ALA: Upcoming Signing in the Capstone Booth, Sat. June 27, 10am

I will be autographing my book A Day and Night in the Forest in the Capstone Booth #3118 at the American Library Association convention in San Francisco at the Convention Center, Saturday, June 27th at 10:00 am in the Exhibit Hall.
If you are planning to be at ALA, please stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

IMAGINE: The Art of Children’s Book Illustration at the dA Center for the Arts, Pomona, CA

Illustrations from A Day and Night in the Rain Forest
Last Friday evening was the gala opening of IMAGINE: The Art of Children’s Book Illustration at the dA Center for the Arts, Pomona, California. It was a special event with lots of people, great art, delicious food, an art table for kids, and a book sale table so guests could buy the artists’ books and have them autographed at the reception. It was a wonderful opportunity to see old friends, meet new ones, and talk about art.
Opening Reception of IMAGINE and Lisze Bechtold, whose new book is Buster Finds a Kitten
I am proud that two of my illustrations from my book A Day and Night in the Rain Forest are part of the show. I thank Gina Capaldi and the other members of the SCBWI OC/IE Gallery Committee, QL Pierce, Priscilla Burris, and Francesca Rusackas, and Margaret Aichele, Executive Director of the dA Center for the Arts, for all the hard work that went into organizing this wonderful show. It is not often that so much children’s book art is on view in one place!
Mary Anne Fraser and art from her book Heebie-Jeebie Jamboree
I am one of twenty-one illustrators participating in the show: Caroline Arnold, David Barneda, Lisze Bechtold, Diane Browning, Priscilla Burris, Gina Capaldi, Cliff Cramp, Mary Anne Fraser, Diane Greenseid, Soma Han, Naomi Howland, Max Kornell, Irina Mirskaya, Lori Mitchell, Rodolfo Montalvo, Jennifer Gray-Olsen, Atilio Pernisco, Carla Roque, Beth Spiegel, Frans Vischer and Marianne D. Wallace. Joe Cepeda, winner of the Caldecott Medal and a Special Guest Illustrator in this exhibit, gave a short but inspiring talk at the opening. I encourage you to make a trip to Pomona to see this terrific show!
Diane Browning, author and illustrator of Signed, Abiah Rose
IMAGINE will be on view June 13-July 18, 2015.
Gallery hours: Wednesday, Friday, Noon - 4pm; Thursday, Noon - 9 pm.
Author/Illustrator Gina Capaldi