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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

School Visits in Winston-Salem, NC

Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC
Last Wednesday I had two very successful school visits in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, sponsored by Bookmarks, a local nonprofit literary organization.
With library Alexandra Randall at St. Leo's
The first visit was at St. Leo’s Catholic School where I spoke to first, second and third graders in the school library. Librarian Alexandra Randall did a great job getting everything ready, setting up the SmartBoard for my powerpoint slides and finding two of my older books in the library collection. I was pleased with the enthusiasm of the students and the good questions at the end. My favorite question was: What kind of bird are you? This is was after I had talked about birds and  measured the students’ wingspans. Most of them were red-tailed hawks. I have the wingspan of an osprey.
With the upper school librarian and principal Andrew Lester-Niles at the Downtown School
The second visit was at the Downtown School, a magnet school in the heart of the downtown where I spoke to a very lively group of kindergarten and first graders. We went on a lion hunt, sang Wiggle and Waggle and did a number of other activities. I thank principal Andrew Lester-Niles for arranging the visit.
With Bookmarks volunteer Kathy Pounds
At both schools I was assisted by Bookmarks volunteer, Kathy Pounds, who brought copies of my books for signing and took photographs. At the end of my visit she took me to the Bookmarks store in its brand new location where I had the chance to meet other volunteers and learn more about the organization, which sponsors a variety of literary events in the community.

Friday, February 23, 2018

And the winner is.....HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6, CYBILS Award for Elementary Non-Fiction

HURRAY! Hatching Chicks in Room 6 is the winner of the 2017 Cybils Award for Elementary Non-Fiction. I am delighted. Many thanks to all the judges!
The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.

Here's the description of my book on the Cybils site: (Take a look at the site for winners in all the categories.)
Elementary Non-Fiction
Hatching Chicks in Room 6
by Caroline Arnold
Nominated by: Claire Annette Noland
Simple yet fascinating, this book takes the reader inside a diverse kindergarten classroom as they watch chicks hatch from eggs and learn about the life cycle of chickens. The simple text makes this title accessible to younger readers, yet there is enough information inserted into the story to make sure they, as well as older readers, learn new information. The once common experience of having animals in the classroom is much rarer these days, and this book captures the thrill of hatching and raising the chicks all the while introducing new vocabulary related to the endeavor. The photography captures both the delight of the students as well as funny expressions on the chickens themselves. The lively and informative text and intriguing photographs make this a perfect choice for younger elementary kids.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

AUTHOR VISIT at Circle View School, Author Festival, Huntington Beach, CA

Autographing books at the library at the Huntington Beach Author Festival
Tuesday January 30th was the annual Author Festival in Huntington Beach, California. I have been participating in the Huntington Beach Author Festival almost every year since it started in 1989, with a morning visit to an elementary school and an afternoon reception and book sale at the Huntington Beach Library.
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This year I was at Circle View School and spoke to three groups of enthusiastic students, kindergarten through third grade. I thank teachers Jo Marie Costello and Glenda Mooradian for coordinating my visit and Pam Justice in the library for setting up the room and equipment and for my snack "goody bag."
Thanks also to the PTA for a delicious lunch in the teacher’s lounge and for supporting a purchase of books for the library. I always enjoy the chance to chat with teachers and staff at lunch.
After lunch I joined authors who had been visiting other schools for a gala reception at the Huntington Beach library. Volunteers on the festival committee, dressed in red shirts, made sure everything ran smoothly. Students who had won prizes for their stories were honored in the auditorium, with their proud parents and teachers watching in the audience.
This event would not go on year after year except for the hard work and dedication of Gail Page who has led the festival for many years and her hardworking committee of volunteers. Thank you! I always enjoy the chance to share my books with new readers, to see old friends, and to make new ones. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

YOSEMITE: CSLA Conference 2018--Elevating Learning Through Reflection

Yosemite Valley
I had a great weekend at the California School Library Association conference at Tenaya Lodge just outside Yosemite National Park, presenting with Jeri Ferris and Kathy Krull and hiking and sightseeing in Yosemite Valley with Gretchen Woelfle.
The theme of the conference was Elevating Learning through Reflection. It was great to spend time with school librarians and other authors. Virginia Loh Hagan did a great job keeping all the authors organized and well fed! There were twenty-eight of us!
Lobby of Tenaya Lodge
The author events were all on Saturday and included presentations, panels, autographing, a mix and mingle with librarians, culminating with the Young Reader Medal dinner followed by more autographing.
At book signing after my presentation
With librarian and Jeri Ferris
The California Young Reader Medal was awarded this year to author Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen for their book Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. Mac Barnett was the featured speaker at the dinner. Jon Klassen couldn’t make the dinner and had sent a video but, unfortunately, technical difficulties prevented it from being heard. Mac compensated by giving a very entertaining and inspiring speech for the both of them. Tables were decorated with charming centerpieces made by students at a nearby school.
Centerpiece: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
I went to the conference with fellow author Gretchen Woelfle. We went a day early so we could do some sightseeing. We hiked to the Vernal Falls bridge--more uphill than I planned but we both made it. The weather was perfect and the park wasn't crowded. It was truly inspiring and a wonderful addition to the conference.
With Gretchen Woelfle at the tunnel view of Yosemite Valley

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Four Fun Art Projects at the BOOK TALK TEA, An Afternoon with Four Children’s Book Illustrators

Last Sunday afternoon I joined three other author/illustrators--Priscilla Burris, Joe Cepeda, and Tim Egan--for a BOOK TALK TEA at the Thousand Oaks Library in Thousand Oaks, California, to talk about our books and how we illustrate them. While we talked, attendees sipped tea and enjoyed delicious tea cakes and fruit. Each of us had been asked to “teach” one of our illustration skills to the audience as part of our presentation to provide some insight into our creative process. Paper and pens were provided.
Tim Egan demonstrated how to draw a moose, guiding us through the simple shapes needed to draw the head and bumpy antlers. (Tim created the charming animal tea party poster art for the event.)
My rendition of a moose following Tim Egan's instructions
Joe Cepeda showed how one can use simple shapes such as rectangles, circles, triangles and a couple of moon shapes to draw a dog.
My rendition of a dog following Joe Cepeda's instructions
Priscilla Burris passed out a worksheet of blank faces to be filled in according to the emotions listed underneath.
Expression worksheet by Priscilla Burris
Since my cut paper art would be too messy to do as a group, attendees were given a baggie filled with the ingredients to “Put the Stripes on the Zebra” to take home and do later. I demonstrated how this can be done in a larger format after downloading the template from my website.
Packet to put your own stripes on the zebra
Thanks so much to the Ventura Reading Association for inviting me to be part of the Book Talk Tea! The hard working committee did a fantastic job of putting on a great program--I loved listening to the other illustrators talk about their process--plus the delicious refreshments, raffle and table decorations. Everyone wore a creative alter ego name tag--mine was Emerald Sun Bee! I enjoyed talking to the people who came--librarians, teachers, aspiring book illustrators–who all said they really enjoyed the event.
The Book Talk Tea committee
Thanks to the committee for all their hard work and to the library staff for helping to solve equipment problems and making sure that it ran smoothly. And thanks to Connie Halpern of Mrs. Figg’s Bookworm  for supplying the books for autographing.
The Book Talk Tea was sponsored by the Ventura County Reading Association, the Thousand Oaks Library and Friends of the Thousand Oaks Library.