Wednesday, July 30, 2014

CALIFORNIA READERS CLOSING ITS DOORS

As of August 2014, California Readers will be closing its doors. The main reason is the fact that LAUSD has not been funding personnel for its school libraries for the past several years and the people needed to coordinate the program in the schools are not there.
I am so sad to learn that California Readers will no longer exist.  It has been a wonderful organization and done so much to help connect authors like me with the many schools in the LA area.  I have really enjoyed the opportunity to do school visits both during the regular school day and after school for the LA's Best program.  And I will miss the annual luncheon, which has always been a highlight of the year.  I thank California Readers for honoring me as a Leo Politi author and for everything else it has done to promote reading, writing and the love of books.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

GIRAFFE, with photos by Richard Hewett, Now Available at StarWalk Kids

Informative and engaging, Giraffe offers a close-up look at this gentle giant of the African plains. A clear text and forty extraordinary full-color photographs highlight the giraffe’s unusual physical features and present a fascinating view of its day-to-day life and behavior, both in captivity and in the wild.
My book, GIRAFFE, originally published by Morrow Junior Books, is now available as a digital book at StarWalk Kids and also soon at Amazon as a Kindle book. It is illustrated with captivating photos by Richard Hewett. I am thrilled to see this book available again.  Through the month of July you can read all of the books in the StarWalk Kids catalogue for free.  It is a great opportunity!

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Review of Giraffe
Most photos of giraffes are interesting: that powerful neck and the long slim body that go with it make every movement unusual. Here they crane toward their favorite food leaves from the acadia trees, posing awkwardly to drink water without tipping over in one picture, then galloping gracefully with all four legs off the ground in the next, twisting around in a knot for a drink of mother's milk. The concise text offers a general introduction to the giraffe and includes a close-up look at a newborn calf young giraffe. Arnold also passes on other information, like the animal's zoological name, which translates to "camel leopard." Hewett's well-placed, full-color photos reveal both the elegant and goofy sides of the giraffe. These two have collaborated on Koala, Kangaroo and, more recently, Zebra. Ages 7-10.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014 FOCAL AWARD: The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins

Written by H. Joseph Hopkins, Illustrated by Jill McElmurry
FOCAL (Friends of Children and Literature, the support group of the Children’s programs of the Los Angeles Public Library) has chosen  The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins as the award winner for 2014. The award will be presented at a luncheon December 6, 2014. This beautifully written book chronicles the life of Kate Sessions, who led a campaign to plant trees in San Diego, California, thus turning the city from a seaside desert to a urban garden. Colorful illustrations by Jill McElmurry convey Kate Session’s passion for plants.
I have been a member of the FOCAL Award Committee for four years, this year (my final year) as the past chair. Books that are considered for this award must have a California connection, and I must say I always learn more about my state after reading the books nominated for each year. This book gave me a new perspective on the beautiful city of San Diego and on a determined woman who followed her dream.

Katherine Olivia Sessions was born on Nob Hill in San Francisco November 8, 1857. After graduation from high school in Oakland,she entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1877, where she studied science and graduated in 1881. Her horticultural career began after teaching briefly in San Diego where she accepted a position in 1884. As owner of a flower shop and a succession of nurseries in Coronado, City Park, Mission Hills and Pacific Beach, she became a central figure in California and national horticultural circles with her landscaping, plant introductions, and classes.
It is in Balboa Park that the legacy of Kate Sessions is most obvious. She leased land in what was then called "City Park" in 1892 for a nursery. For this privilege, she was to plant one hundred trees a year in the park and furnish three hundred more for planting throughout the city. In 1902 she was instrumental in the formation of the park Improvement Committee with her friends George Marston and Mary B. Coulston. Their work resulted in assuring the park's place in the life of the community. Kate Sessions died March 24, 1940. She has come to be called the "Mother of Balboa Park" and a bronze statue of her was erected there in 1998.

(Excerpted from the San Diego History Center)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

LLAMA is Now Available at StarWalk Kids

Llama offers youngsters a close-up view of these gentle, elegant-looking natives of the high Andean plateaus. They are used to transport goods in places where cars and trucks cannot go, and their wool is woven into beautiful, warm clothing.

My book, LLAMA, originally published by Morrow Junior Books, is now available as a digital book at StarWalk Kids and also soon at Amazon as a Kindle book. It is illustrated with captivating photos by Richard Hewett. I am thrilled to see this book available again.  Through the month of July you can read all of the books in the StarWalk Kids catalogue for free.  It is a great opportunity!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SPONGE SPROUTER: Garden Activity for Young Children

One of my first illustration assignments was for a book about gardening activities with children.  At that time, most books for children were illustrated with black and white art so I made pencil drawings.  Here is one of the activities meant for younger children.  It would work well with pre-school or kindergarten children.

SPONGE SPROUTER
Squeeze most of the moisture out of a large wet sponge and attach a string to it as illustrated.  Have the children sprinkle alfalfa or cress seeds on the sponge and hang it in a sunny window. Lightly spray with water each day.

Materials needed: Large sponge, string, alfalfa or cress seeds.

From Children’s Gardens: A Field Guide for Teachers, Parents and Volunteers by Elizabeth Bremner and John Pusey, Illustrations by Caroline Arnold

Sunday, July 13, 2014

PTEROSAURS: Rulers of the Skies in the Dinosaur Age now available at StarWalk Kids

One hundred million years ago, the skies were filled with enormous flying reptiles. With wing spans up to nearly forty feet, pterosaurs were one of the dominant life forms on earth.  My book, PTEROSAURS: Rulers of the Skies in the Dinosaur Age, originally published by Clarion, is now available as a digital book at StarWalk Kids and also soon at Amazon as a Kindle book.  I am thrilled to see this book available again.  Through the month of July you can read all of the books in the StarWalk Kids catalogue for free.  It is a great opportunity!

BOOKLIST Review of Pterosaurs
Gr. 2-4. After tackling megalodon, feathered dinos, and woolly mammoths in three previous books, Arnold and Caple add another extinct creature to their repertoire. This solid overview of "the only reptiles ever capable of powered flight" covers pterosaurs' ancestry, their peculiar physiology, theories about their behavior, and major fossil discoveries, frequently making abstract facts concrete through vivid comparisons: "If your arms were built like the wings of a pterosaur, your little finger would be more than 3 feet (1 meter) long!" Descriptions of about 20 of the more than 100 different pterosaur species known today round out the text. Caple's neatly labeled watercolors emphasize clarity over drama, but her subjects' exotic physical oddities (hairy, batlike bodies; toucan-bright beaks; bulbous, gaudily colored crests) will draw kids into the diorama-like tableaus.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

CARROT PLANTER: Garden Activity for Young Children

One of my first illustration assignments was for a book about gardening activities with children.  At that time, most books for children were illustrated with black and white art so I made pencil drawings.  Here is one of the activities meant for younger children.  It would work well with pre-school or kindergarten children.

CARROT PLANTER
Cut off the top 2 inches of a large carrot and hollow out the center.  Poke 2 holes in the carrot top and attach string as illustrated.  Have the children fill the hollowed center with moist soil and plant alfalfa or cress seeds.

Materials needed: Carrot, string, soil, alfalfa or cress seeds.

From Children’s Gardens: A Field Guide for Teachers, Parents and Volunteers by Elizabeth Bremner and John Pusey, Illustrations by Caroline Arnold