Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Author Visit and Book Signing at Overland School, Los Angeles, CA

With bags of signed books at Children's Book World ready to go to students at Overland School
Last week I did two presentations in the auditorium of Overland Avenue School for Advanced Studies in Los Angeles, California--one to the kindergarten students and one to the first and second graders. Both groups were enthusiastic audiences and had good comments and questions. Many of the children had purchased books to be autographed which I did afterward at Children’s Book World, a local bookstore. The books I signed were Hatching Chicks in Room 6, Wiggle and Waggle, and Living Fossils.
Overland Avenue Elementary School, Los Angeles, CA
My visit to Overland brought back many memories. My own children attended Overland forty years ago and I remember going to many events in the school auditorium–which has not changed in all these years. The library, on the other hand, has changed a lot, doubling in size and now with Mary Mittelbach, the librarian, running a wonderful library program. (In my day, the library was only open if a parent could be recruited to sit behind the desk and check out books. I was one of those parents. There was no school librarian.) I thank Mary for organizing my visit and doing such a great job promoting my books to the students. I had an impressive pile to sign when I went to Children’s Book World. Students received their books the following day. And I thank Sharon Hearn and her staff at Children’s Book World for ordering the books and helping to make the signing go quickly and smoothly.
Entrance to Children's Book World, Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Author Visit with Kindergarteners at Westwood Charter School in Los Angeles

Westwood Charter School, Los Angeles, CA
Yesterday I had a fun visit with the kindergarten students at Westwood Charter School in Los Angeles, California, and shared my book Hatching Chicks in Room 6. It was an appropriate choice because they are also hatching eggs–except that they have duck eggs in their incubator. Several of the eggs already had pips so it won’t be long before the ducklings hatch. (Duck eggs take 28 days to hatch whereas chicken eggs hatch in 21 days.) I had a lively discussion about birds with the students, showed them my feather collection, and measured their wingspans. I found out that they will be celebrating Audubon’s birthday later this month. At the end of my visit I read the first two stories of Wiggle and Waggle and the children helped me sing the song.
Thanks to kindergarten teacher Sherry Kaufman for inviting me to her classroom. I enjoyed my visit.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Further Reading about Chicks and Chickens

When you finish reading a book, are you curious to find out more?  At the back of many books these days you will find a list of further reading. In my book, Hatching Chicks in Room 6, I list four books:

Chicks and Chickens by Gail Gibbons (Holiday House, 2004)
All about the behavior and development of chicks and chickens.

From Egg to Chicken by Anita Ganeri (Heinemann, 2006)
Life cycle of the chicken, illustrated with photographs.

Tillie Lays an Egg by Terry Golson, photographs by Ben Fink (Scholastic, 2009)
Fictional story about a chicken who lays her eggs everywhere but in the nest box.

Who You Callin’ Chicken? by Thea Feldman, photographs by Stephen Green-Armytage (Abrams, 2003)
Photographs of the amazing variety of chicken breeds.

Here are four more:

A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl by Robin Page (Beach Lane Books, 2015

Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (HoughtonMifflinHarcourt, 2015) 

Chicks! (Step into Reading) by Sandra Horning (Random House)

Busy Chickens by John Schindel (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Caroline Arnold interview with Cybils:

After my book Hatching Chicks in Room 6 won the Cybils Award for Elementary Non-fiction, I did an interview with Cybils blog editor Melissa Fox. It was published on the Cybils blog on March 27, 2018. Caroline Arnold interview with Cybils:

Do you have plans to keep chickens after learning about their care along with Room 6?

A number of years ago, before I moved to Los Angeles, I lived in the country with my family and we kept a flock of chickens. Watching the children in Room 6 care for their chickens reminded me of this experience. Now that I live in the city, it is not practical to keep chickens, so the answer is no, I do not have plans to keep chickens.

What do you think is the most valuable thing students learn from studying chickens in the classroom?

Among the many valuable lessons learned from hatching chicks in the classroom is being able to witness the life cycle process–from incubating the eggs, to seeing the shells break open, to watching the chicks grow from fluffy balls to fully feathered chickens. It is one thing to be told that chicks grow in eggs, but another to actually see an egg hatch with your own eyes.

How do you keep your research organized?

I have a box system to keep my research organized. Each book I write has its own box, which is where I put my notes, letters, brochures, print-outs from my computer, and anything else pertinent to the book. My digital photos are kept in folders in my computer.

What challenges did you face working with photos instead of your usual collage illustrations?

Every photographer will tell you that the two most difficult subjects are children and animals-- because they don’t stay still and they don’t take direction! My secret was to take LOTS of pictures. The challenge of a book like this is that the story takes place in real time so I had to get the photos I needed as they happened. There was no going backwards. Photographs give an immediacy to the story and help make the reader feel part of the action.

If you don’t mind telling us, what’s next for you?

When I was in Mrs. Best’s classroom working on Hatching Chicks in Room 6, I noticed that the children were also learning about insects and the process of metamorphosis. It occurred to me that this could be the topic of another book. So the following year I was back in Room 6 learning about painted lady butterflies and how they grow from tiny eggs to beautiful adult butterflies. That book, Butterflies in Room 6, will be published in January 2019.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


With Jennifer Best, Teacher (left) and Susan Bougetz, Librarian (right)
A week ago I had a very enjoyable author visit at the Platt Library in West Hills, California. My visit was organized by children’s librarian Susan Bougetz who promoted the event to all the local elementary schools and collected a huge pile of my books available in the library for check-out.
Some of my books from the Platt Library shelves

We met in the community room where I had a nice audience of parents and children who all enthusiastically participated in singing the Wiggle and Waggle song and having their wingspans measured. I ended by telling the story of how Hatching Chicks in Room 6 had been inspired by my visit to Haynes School, which is not very far from the library. Earlier in the afternoon I stopped by Haynes to visit Mrs. Best and this year’s students in Room 6. Outside the classroom I saw the pen where the chickens (who once had been chicks) have now grown up and are laying eggs.

Platt Library

I thank Susan Bougetz for inviting me to the Platt Library and doing such a good job of organizing my visit.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


My grandson Lucas made an amazing edible work of art for his 8th grade science project - check out the orange skittles fossils, different sedimentary layers, and the volcano with chocolate lava! Also impressive are the informative labels. Thanks, Lucas, for allowing me to share it!
 It turns out you can buy sugar paper and sugar pens! Very handy when your cake requires informative labels.
 Lucas' cake is a definite step up from one of my favorite classroom projects--peanut butter and jelly geology done some years ago at a school I visited. The jelly are the tar pits and pretzels are the fossil bones.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Author Visit at Porter Ranch Community School, Porter Ranch, CA

Last week I had an enjoyable visit to Porter Ranch Community School in Porter Ranch, California, where I did three presentations--to third, fourth, and fifth grade students. The audiences were enthusiastic and the students had good questions. The event was scheduled in conjunction with the school book fair being held in the library. The auditorium was decorated with large posters of puppies and kittens to go with the the book fair theme: "It's READING Cats and Dogs!"
I thank book fair chair, parent Jill Kipnis, for inviting me and coordinating my visit.