Wednesday, November 7, 2018

CONNECTING CULTURES MOBILE MUSEUM Open House at RFK Community School, Los Angeles, CA

Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum (CCMM) display at RFK Community School, Los Angeles, CA
Last week I went to the annual Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum (CCMM) open house held in the library of the Robert F. Kennedy Community School near downtown Los Angeles, CA.  Hundreds of colorful items–clothing, hats, games, toys–displayed on panels and across table tops showed middle school students the multiple everyday connections we share with people from all over the world.
Everyday Connections was this year's theme (the focus rotates on a three-year cycle)
During the school day for the week the exhibits are up, students in grades six through eight come into the library to hear presentations from CCMM volunteers. They then have the opportunity to interact with the exhibits–trying on clothes, playing games, examining toys.
A sample of board games from around the world
Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum has a long history of working with Los Angeles-area schools, having started at Palms Middle School in West Los Angeles in 1995 and expanding to 24 schools by 2015. Since then, CCMM has enriched the cross-cultural education of more than 100,000 student visitors.
Valerie Lezin, founder of CCMM
Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum believes that exploring our shared human needs, values, and practices will lead to broadened world views. Through its educational programs and resources, CCMM develops awareness and acceptance of the diversity within our increasingly interconnected global communities.
Julia Goldman (right) with Open House visitors
I have been supporting CCMM for many years through participation in their fund raisers and donations of some of the many things I’ve collected in my years of travel. It is always a pleasure seeing them get a new life in the CCMM displays and to know they are helping to enrich students' lives.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

TWO MONKEYS by Peter Breugel

Two Monkeys by Pieter Breugel
When I was researching my book Monkey (Morrow Junior Books, 1993), I ran across this unusual painting by 16th Century Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder depicting two red-tailed macaques chained to a windowsill overlooking the harbor in Antwerp. My book, illustrated with photos by Richard Hewett, depicts the same species and follows the growth of a young macaque at the Los Angeles Zoo.
A friend just sent me the link to an article about the painting, which is currently on exhibit in Vienna. The panel is one of 28 paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (only 40 of his works are known to survive) on display in a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
No one knows what might have inspired Pieter Bruegel to choose the monkeys as his subject in this small painting or what they signify. However, the red-tailed macaques, native to the forests of west Africa, surely must have been as fascinating and exotic to the citizens of Antwerp as they are to visitors to the zoo today.
My book Monkey is out of print in hardcover but available as an ebook on Amazon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

CHILDREN'S BOOKS IN TAIWAN: Celebrating Reading

On my recent trip to Taiwan, I discovered this charming statue of a girl reading in the park adjacent to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall in the capital city of Taipei. I love that she seems totally absorbed in her book and that reading is celebrated in this public place. Taiwan has one of the highest literacy rates in the world--98.7 percent. Besides learning to read and write Chinese, children begin learning English in first grade at school.
During my visit I stopped in at the large Eslite bookstore in Taipei and found a wide variety of books for children in both Chinese and English. I also found Chinese translations of many popular English language books, including one of my all-time favorites, The Little House, now celebrating its 75th anniversary.
And, to my surprise, I discovered that what I thought was strictly an American holiday--Halloween--is enthusiastically celebrated in Taiwan as well. As in America, children love to dress in scary costumes and go out trick or treating. The bookstore was full of Halloween themed books to help celebrate.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

California Condor Release at Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona

On September 22nd, National Public Lands Day, four condors were released by the Peregrine Fund atop the spectacular cliffs in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona. A friend was there and brought me a beautiful poster celebrating the event. She knew about my interest in condors from my book On the Brink of Extinction: The California Condor, which was written and published at the time of the first release of captive bred birds.The poster, now framed and hanging in my office, is a wonderful reminder of the success of the recovery program. Condors are still very endangered, but their numbers are increasing.
At the time I wrote On the Brink of Extinction (Harcourt, 1993) I worked with Michael Wallace, head of the Condor Recovery Program at the Los Angeles Zoo and whose photographs illustrate the book. Condors are now produced at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, the Oregon Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park and then transported to release sites annually for release to the wild.
The historical California Condor population declined to just 22 individuals in the 1980s when the greater California Condor Recovery Program was initiated to save the species from extinction.  As of July 25, 2018 there were 85 condors in the wild in the rugged canyon country of northern Arizona and southern Utah and the total world population of endangered California Condors numbers nearly 500 individuals, with more than half flying in the wilds of Arizona, Utah, California, and Mexico.
The Arizona-Utah recovery effort is a cooperative program by federal, state, and private partners, including The Peregrine Fund, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management’s Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Kaibab and Dixie national forests among many other supporting groups and individuals.
For more information about California Condors in Arizona:
http://www.peregrinefund.org/condor

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

METROPOLIS II by Chris Burden at LACMA–a Child’s Delight

On the first level of the Broad Museum of Contemporary Art at LACMA is a wonderful miniature city with buildings, roads, vehicles and more. Built by artist Chris Burden, Metropolis II it is a delight for adult and child alike. One can view the sculpture at eye level, or from a surrounding walkway above. On the day I visited I came between the scheduled action sessions, but even so, or perhaps because the vehicles were locked in place, it made the complexity and detail of the structures within the maze of tracks even more impressive.
The exhibit is ongoing and included with the general admission to the museum. It is well worth a stop if you are visiting LACMA.
Chris Burden's Metropolis II is an intense kinetic sculpture, modeled after a fast paced, frenetic modern city. Steel beams form an eclectic grid interwoven with an elaborate system of 18 roadways, including one six lane freeway, and HO scale train tracks. Miniature cars speed through the city at 240 scale miles per hour; every hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars circulate through the dense network of buildings. According to Burden, "The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars produce in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st century city."

See Metropolis II in action (no reservation required):
Fridays
11:30–12:30 pm; 1:30–2:30 pm; 3:30–4:30 pm; 5:30–6:30 pm
Saturdays and Sundays
10:30 am–11:30 am; 12:30–1:30 pm; 2:30–3:30 pm; 4:30–5:30 pm

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

BEDTIME STORY JAM, Author Visit at Westwood Charter School, Los Angeles, CA

Last Friday evening the children of Westwood Charter Elementary in Los Angeles, California, came to school dressed in their pajamas ready to listen to stories from me and thirteen other children’s book authors as part of the school's annual Bedtime Story Jam. In between sessions they ate milk and cookies and browsed for books at the book fair in the library.
This was my second time to participate in this fun celebration of reading. I had two groups of very enthusiastic children and their parents in my room. I showed slides, read my book Hatching Chicks in Room 6, talked about birds and eggs and feathers, and signed books.
I thank Karen Boyarsky, my volunteer room host, for helping me to set up and for making sure that everything ran smoothly. Karen is a retired librarian and we discovered that we had met many years ago at another author event. We also found out that we both have an interest in birds, especially the California condor!
I also thank Jenna Carlston and the Bedtime Story Jam committee for inviting me and organizing this festive event. Afterward they sponsored a reception on the library patio for the authors-- a wonderful chance to relax, chat with other authors and enjoy delicious food. And I thank Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company for supplying my books for the event. I was pleased to see that so many had already been purchased by the night of the Story Jam.

During the course of the evening I saw several families I knew and enjoyed meeting many other students and parents. Westwood Charter is one of my neighborhood schools and it is always a pleasure to be part of a local event.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

CAROLINE ARNOLD E-BOOKS on AMAZON

I have recently updated my webpage listing of my e-books so you can find them all in one place. Take a look and click on the links!

All of my CURRENT BOOKS are available as e-books from the publisher and online at Amazon and other ebook platforms.

Many of my OUT-OF-PRINT books are getting a new life as ebooks. Most (42 titles) have been published by StarWalk Kids Media. An addition 9 titles have been published by me, Caroline Arnold Books. All the books have been redesigned with a contemporary look for today's readers and updated. They are available on Amazon as Kindle books and in some cases for Nooks and I-Readers.

Almost all of the books I’ve written for CHARLESBRIDGE including Hatching Chicks in Room 6 are available as e-books.
The 16 titles I’ve written and illustrated for PICTURE WINDOW BOOKS (Capstone), my Animal World and Day and Night series, are also available as e-books from the publisher.
Plus, you can find Your Skeletal System (Lerner) and The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World (Wiley) as e-books on Amazon.