Wednesday, November 29, 2023

REVIEW of MY FRIEND FROM OUTER SPACE in Fall 2023 Issue of The Grinnell Magazine

I am pleased to have MY FRIEND FROM OUTER SPACE included in the Authors and Artists section of the fall issue of the Grinnell Magazine.

Caroline Scheaffer Arnold ’66, DHL ’01, Amazon, July 2023

A graphic picture book for young readers illustrated with colorful, anime-style art, My Friend From Outer Space follows Sherry as she tries to convince her best friend that she comes from outer space. Arnold, who majored in art and literature at Grinnell, is the author of more than 170 books for children. Her work has received awards from the American Library Association, and the National Science Teachers Association, among others, and she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the College in 2001.


Thursday, November 23, 2023

15th BLOG ANNIVERSARY: Time to Celebrate!

Fifteen years ago, in November 2008, I launched this blog. At first my plan was to use it to feature my art, which is why the link is carolinearnoldart. But a little more than a year later I decided to expand the blog to include my writing as well and changed the name to Caroline Arnold Art and Books (the link is still carolinearnoldart) with the plan of putting up a new post once a week. (Typically the posts go up on a Wednesday or Saturday--some weeks there are two.) 
For me, this blog is a way to keep track of my book and art related activities, including school and library visits, publishing, reviews, activities for children and teachers, announcements of prizes and awards and more.  Since launching the blog I have posted more than 800 items that have been viewed by more than 330,000 visitors!
Thanks to all of you who have been following this blog either on Google or by email. I appreciate your support.

(Note: The Comments section is no longer active. If you would like to comment you can reach me at Facebook or by email.)


Sunday, November 19, 2023

FOCAL AWARD PRESENTATION 2023: Celebrating EFREN DIVIDED by Ernesto Cisneros

Author Ernesto Cisneros being interviewed by Dewi Ochoa at LAPL

On Saturday, November 18th, friends, family, and members of FOCAL (Friends of Children and Libraries) gathered at the Mark Taper Auditorium of the LAPL Central Library for the annual FOCAL Award presentation, this year to Ernesto Cisneros for his heart-stopping and multi-award winning book about an immigrant family, Efren Divided

In the tradition of the award, he was presented with a puppet of the main character of the book. A second identical puppet will go on display in the children's room of the library, joining puppets from previous years. The puppets were created by Jesse Kingsley and Moira MacDonald.  

Jesse Kingsley and Puppet of Efren

The program was introduced by Marilyn Robertson, FOCAL President, followed by a warm welcome from Valerie Lynne Shaw, President of the Board of Library Commissioners. The introduction to the book was by Basya Samuels, Chair of the Award Committee. After a short speech by Ernesto Cisneros about how he came to write the book, essay contest winners--Ted Won, 4th Grade Melrose Elementary, Cruz Cortez, 6th Grade, Sutter MS, and Haily Kim, 7th Grade, Burroughs MS--read their excellent essays to the audience. They wrote about how they responded to the book, a favorite part or character, and why they would like to meet the author. The program ended with a Q & A session with Ernesto Cisneros led by Dewi Ochoa, Chair of Social Media for FOCAL. Then we all enjoyed churros, chocolate chip cookies and other treats.

I have been a member of FOCAL for many years. After three years of the FOCAL Award presentations online because of the pandemic, it was good to be back again in person.

In order to be awarded the FOCAL book award, the book must be of the highest literary and artistic quality, and must have California content. I know how hard it is to choose a winner–I served on the committee for four years. This year’s choice is excellent and a fitting book to celebrate.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

SCBWI BOOKSTOP: Buy your copy of My Friend From Outer Space here!

The holidays are here! Purchase a wonderful book by SCBWI members. Find amazing stories in our members’ novels and picture books, and discover intriguing nonfiction – all make great gifts for the kids and young adults in your life and also for you! Go to to browse, buy, and enjoy a new book.

I have created a page for my book

At my BookStop page you will find links to Amazon where you can buy the book (paperback and Kindle), to the YouTube book trailer, and to my website where you can find more information about the book and its inspiration.

BookStop goes live to the book-buying public on Tuesday, November 14 through December 22. The goal is to give new books by SCBWI members the exposure they deserve during peak holiday buying season.
Check it out and leave a comment!

Monday, November 13, 2023

THE SCHOOL MAGAZINE (TSM) Contributors Luncheon

I was invited to attend The School Magazine Contributors’ Luncheon held last Monday in Sydney. Australia. I have contributed a number of articles to The School Magazine over the years. Most recently, my story about sea turtles was republished in Blast Off last August. (The School Magazine is produced by the New South Wales Education Department and is read by school children all over Australia and, now that it is online, throughout much of the world.)

Flying to Sydney was out of the question for many contributors, including me. Instead, we were given the opportunity to attend online for a celebration of the wonderful contributions of writers and artists to The School Magazine, far and wide. Participants included authors from the United States, New Zealand, and as far away as Austria. (Because of the time change, the event was actually Sunday evening in California where I live.) While it took some time to get all the technology in order, the program began and we were introduced to the staff and  treated to a summary of the history of The School Magazine, from its beginnings in 1916 to the present day. Here are a few examples of the changes that have taken place over the years. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023


Richard Hewett, 1987, photographing penguins at the San Francisco Zoo

The story of the Room 8 cat has been making the rounds on Facebook. Among the things that led to the cat's fame was a photo story in Look Magazine (November 1962) by photographer Richard (Dick) Hewett. I met Dick Hewett nearly twenty years later, when his career was shifting from that of a magazine photographer to that of a children's book illustrator. I began working with Dick (I as a writer and Dick as a photographer) and together we published nearly fifty books, many of them about animals, Dick's specialty. Dick also collaborated with his wife, children's book writer Joan Hewett. Dick Hewett passed away in 2006. He would be pleased to know that his story about the cat in Room 8 is still being told.

“Room 8” ( 1947–1968 )

Room 8 was a neighborhood cat who wandered into a classroom in 1952 at Elysian Heights Elementary School in Echo Park, California. He lived in the school during the school year and then disappeared for the summer, returning when classes started again. This pattern continued without interruption until the mid-1960s.

News cameras would arrive at the school at the beginning of the year waiting for the cat's return; he became famous and would receive up to 100 letters a day addressed to him at the school. Eventually, he was featured in a documentary called Big Cat, Little Cat and a children's book, A Cat Called Room 8. Look magazine ran a three-page Room 8 feature by photographer Richard Hewett in November 1962, titled "Room 8: The School Cat". Leo Kottke wrote an instrumental called "Room 8" that was included in his 1971 album, Mudlark.

As he got older, Room 8 was injured in a cat fight and suffered from feline pneumonia, so a family near the school volunteered to take him in. The school's janitor would find him at the end of the school day and carry him across the street.

His obituary in the Los Angeles Times rivaled that of major political figures, running three columns with a photograph. The cat was so famous that his obituary ran in papers as far away as Hartford, Connecticut. The students raised the funds for his gravestone. He is buried at the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park in Calabasas, California. (Facebook)

Dick Hewett and me with cheetah "Damara" at Wildlife Safari Park in Oregon, 1988

Sunday, November 5, 2023

VIDEO BOOK TRAILER now on YOUTUBE for My Friend from Outer Space


A short (1 minute 40 second) video book trailer of MY FRIEND FROM OUTER SPACE is now on YouTube.

Take a look, then read the book and find out what Sherry really looks like on the Planet Tinbambam.

You can purchase MY FRIEND FROM OUTER SPACE ON  on Amazon.

Paperback     $9.99

Kindle            $6.99

Order your copy now!