Saturday, September 20, 2014


With Tina Nichols Coury at the SCBWI Author Showcase, Bakersfield, CA
A week ago on Saturday I had a great time in Bakersfield at the SCBWI CenCal PAL Showcase and met lots of enthusiastic parents and educators. Along with eleven other children's book authors, I had eight minutes to show some of the things I do during my school visits.  During the breaks, attendees came to our tables to collect information and book school visits for the coming year.  I am now looking forward to a number of visits to Kern County Schools.  Many thanks to Rebecca, Mary Ann and Allison for organizing the day!  Afterwards, all the authors had a delicious dinner at Mexicali restaurant and a chance to relax together.
All Twelve Showcase Authors!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Don’t Miss Santa Barbara’s BREAKFAST WITH THE AUTHORS, Oct 4, 2014

On Saturday, October 4th I will be one of the authors speaking at the 62nd annual Breakfast With the Authors.  This has been a highlight of the fall much longer than I’ve been an author and I always enjoy taking part.
You can enjoy a delicious brunch featuring several types of quiche, fresh fruit, and baked goods while mingling with well-known and much-loved authors & illustrators of children’s literature.
The program includes a panel discussion, an open mic forum, authors’ comments, brunch, and the chance to purchase personally autographed books.

This year’s guest authors include:

Caroline  Arnold
Susan  Casey
Mel  Gilden
Heidi  Gill
Joan Bransfield Graham
Valerie  Hobbs
Amy Goldman Koss
Sara Louise Kras
Robin  Mellom
Alexis  O’Neill
Marianne  Richmond
Sherry  Shahan
Greg  Trine
Eugene  Yelchin


Wednesday, September 10, 2014


At my desk in my office
A number of years ago I moved to a new house and got a new office.  One of its attractions is that it has a huge closet for storing my many boxes with the research material for my books.  In many ways I have found my perfect work space--it is no longer in the center of the house, it is light and airy with a view of the garden, it has room for desks, filing cabinets and bookshelves, and it has plenty of space for the proliferating equipment of the modern home office.  My desk and office are where I conduct the business of writing.  Yet, when I am in the midst of a writing project, my favorite place to work is still at the dining room table.  Not only does the table have a comfortable familiarity, but it takes me away from the distractions of my office and gives me the space I need to write.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WOMBAT Coloring Page

As darkness falls in Australia, a mother and baby wombat come out of their burrow.  They spend the night digging up grasses and roots to eat.  Soon the young wombat will be big enough to live on his own.
For a coloring page of a wombat on its nightly search for food, click here.
You can find out more about wombats in my book A WOMBAT'S WORLD (Picture Window Books, 2008.)  Look for the hardback book in your library.  The interactive e-book is available at .

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PLATYPUS Coloring Page

The platypus is one of the world's strangest mammals.  It has fur like a beaver, a bill and webbed feet like a duck, and, unlike all other mammals except the echidna, it lays eggs.  Found only in Australia, this elusive animal only comes out of its burrow at night.  Then it dives into a lake or stream to search for food.
To download a coloring page of a mother platypus and her two youngsters, click HERE.
You can learn more about platypuses in my book A PLATYPUS' WORLD (Picture Window Books, 2008.) Look for it in your library.  It is also available as an interactive e-book at .

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

FOCAL Writing Contest for Kids: THE TREE LADY

 (reposted from UTLA United News "Grapevine" section, August 2014)
The Tree Lady
An Essay Contest for Grades 3-8

An exciting opportunity to develop writing skills in your students is available from now until November 1st.  Enter your students in the FOCAL Award essay contest! Teachers in grades 3-8 may contact us on a first come, first served basis, for the award winning book, The Tree Lady, by H. Joseph Hopkins, to read to your students.  Then, encourage your students to write about why they liked the book and what it means to them. Three winners will share their essay at the award luncheon where they will meet the author and receive an autographed copy of the book!

Can you imagine the lovely city of San Diego as a desert town in the 1800’s? That’s what Kate Sessions, who became known as the tree lady, discovered when she moved there after college. Kate’s love of trees and her persistence are the reason we all enjoy the variety of trees in Balboa Park today.

The award is given annually by FOCAL (Friends of Children and Literature) to an excellent book with strong California content.  For more information visit:  Complimentary copies of the book are available to teachers (to use with students who are writing essays) at the Children’s Literature Department of Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Library while supplies last.  Call ahead to reserve your free copy at 213-228-7250.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

GRUNT, QUACK, OINK: Focus on Animal Books for Kids in SLJ

Many thanks to Barbara Wysocki for the nice mention, along with authors Gail Gibbons and Seymour Simon, in her July 23, 2014 post in School Library Journal!  I am delighted that nonfiction books like ours, and the wonderful new titles that she lists are becoming a focus of Common Core.  Kids always love learning about animals!

GRUNT, QUACK, OINK: Focus on Animal Books
By Barbara Wysocki

While the nation’s schools align their curricula with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), school and public librarians serving children remain constant in their task of connecting young people with age-appropriate, meaningful materials. As Olga Nesi, a library services coordinator in the NYC Department of Education, notes, “While public and school librarians differ, our common patron base of children gives both groups fertile ground for growing ever stronger collaborative bonds.” Implementing CCSS for elementary students emphasizes content-rich text, and that means a wider range of carefully chosen nonfiction titles will end up in classrooms, backpacks, and, hopefully, even tucked into suitcases for family vacations. Linda Williams, children’s services consultant for the Connecticut State Library, highlights trade books found through reliable review sources. “Many books are advertised as suitable for Common Core use,” says Williams, “but librarians are looking for high-quality, complex texts.” She sees librarians as being well suited to help teachers find the materials they need, and is developing a webpage to assist in that effort.

As teachers team up with librarians to create go-to book lists and recommended websites, this is a starter set of animal-related nonfiction titles suitable for the elementary set. “Moo” and “Baa” are among a toddler’s first words, so it’s no surprise that young readers are fascinated by critters that swim, hop, and fly. (You’ll find some suggestions for classroom use tucked into the annotations.) While the focus is on outstanding books from the past three years, also recommended are standouts by authors such as Gail Gibbons, Caroline Arnold, and Seymour Simon, who’ve written excellent volumes for years. With a wealth of choices, this list covers a wide range of animals, but does not include insects. The books are divided into land, sea, and air, with a section devoted to more encyclopedic titles.

[Follow the link above for SLJ to see the list of books.]