Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dr. Seuss' Birthday: Link to Crafts

Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day) is Saturday, March 2, 2013.  Celebrate by reading a book!
Dr. Seuss, whose real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel, was born on March 2, 1904. (He died in 1991, but if he were still alive he would be 109 years old!) Here is a link to suggestions for 44 fun crafts you can make to celebrate his birthday and his books.  Ranging from Cat in the Hat marshmallow lollipops (there are a lot of food ideas) to costumes and printable posters, you could use these ideas for a child's birthday party or for a class party to celebrate reading.
I remember my first introduction to Dr. Seuss's books as a very young child when my parents read to me And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo. They were among the many books we checked out on our weekly trips to the public library. I loved those books and got hooked on reading for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Author Chair: LA's Best Young Author Program

Every author needs a special chair!  I found one waiting for me when I arrived at Micheltorena School in Los Angeles last week to meet with kindergarten, first and second grade students in the LA’s Best Young Author program.  Each one of the students had a book in progress and was becoming a young author and illustrator.  In my presentation I shared how my process of creating a book is much like theirs.  At the end of the hour I asked the students to share some of their favorite pages from their books.  I was impressed by their lively examples, their use of comparisons, their imaginations and their overall creativity! Here are some examples from their books:

I like dinosaurs because they play with me.
I am riding my skateboard because I do tricks.
I am a dancer because I practice and practice, and then I become one, and I show every body.
My sister is like a star.  She is pretty like a butterfly.  She is smart and I love her.
Dedicated to: my Dogs and cousins and Brother and Mom and Dad and Tia and sister and friends.
I am growing up to be a Firefighter because I help people.

The author visits to students in the LA’s Best Young Author program are funded by Target and coordinated through California Readers. California Readers is a group of educators, librarians, authors, artists, parents, book sellers, and business representatives whose mission is to connect California children, young adults, and their school communities with California authors, artists, and their creative works.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Caroline with Red-tailed Hawk, Goshute Mountains, Nevada
I love learning about birds.  My first published book was Five Nests, which came out in 1980 and was illustrated by Ruth Sanderson.  It was an easy-read book about five species of birds and their different modes of parenting.
Birds have been a favorite topic in many of my books and have always been part of my life.  As I child I used to get up early to go birdwatching with my father and for many years my husband, Art, studied birds in his research at UCLA.  My book, Birds, Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines, focuses on flight and all the ways that a bird’s body is adapted to make it an expert flyer.
The picture above, of me holding a red-tailed hawk, was taken at a banding station on top of a mountain in eastern Nevada when I was researching my book, Hawk Highway in the Sky: Watching Raptor Migration (Harcourt Brace, 1997).  Every fall thousands of birds pass over this mountain top on their way south for the winter.  A few of the birds are caught, banded, and released.  My plan had been to spend a week at the site and take notes that I would later use to write the book.  As it turned out, the banding station was so busy that week they needed my help, so I got to learn what I needed to know by doing it myself.

For my Measuring Your Wingspan activity, go to my post for April 30, 2012.

My most recent bird book is A Bald Eagle’s World (Picture Window Books, 2010), illustrated with my own cut paper art. My older books are out of print, but you can look for them in your library.  My other titles about birds include: 

  • A Penguin's World (2006)
  • Dinosaurs With Feathers: The Ancestors of Modern Birds (2001)
  • Ostriches (an Earlybird Nature Book) (2001)
  • On the Brink of Extinction: The California Condor (1993)
  • House Sparrows Everywhere (Carolrhoda, 1992)
  • Flamingo (Morrow Junior Books, 1991)
  • Ostriches and Other Flightless Birds (a Nature Watch Book) (Carolrhoda, 1990)
  • Penguin (Morrow Junior Books, 1988)
  • Five Nests (Dutton, 1980)
  • Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    Author Festival, Huntington Beach, CA

    Arriving for Author Day at Hope View School, Huntington Beach, CA
    Almost every year for the past thirty years I have participated in the Huntington Beach Author Festival, a day that includes a school visit during the day and then a celebration at the Central Library, where children and their parents come to meet the authors, buy books, and to receive awards. Many authors participate, going out to schools throughout the community.  For the authors, the afternoon library reception is a chance to meet students and their families, catch up on news with one another, and to renew friendships from previous years.
    At Hope View School with Jenni Bielecki, Parent Volunteer

    This year I was one of three authors visiting Hope View Elementary School in the Ocean View School District.  I spoke to four groups of very enthusiastic second and third graders.

    Presenting in the Hope View School Library

    Most of them had had a chance to read some of my books in the library and some of them had even looked me up on the internet.  I am always pleased when the children are prepared for my visit because it means that they get so much more out of my presentation. I thank all the teachers and staff who helped prepare the students and the wonderful PTA parents who helped organize the day, providing a delicious lunch and helping with the book sale. 

    Signing books at the Huntington Beach Library
    I also thank Gail Page and her amazing hard working volunteers at the Friends of the Children’s Library in Huntington Beach for all the work they do to put on the Author Festival and to keep it going all these years.  There used to be many author festivals.  This is one of the few that still exist. The children of Huntington Beach are lucky to have such good support for books and reading.

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    Zoo Animal Series Now Digital

    These six books in my Zoo Animals series were published by Carolrhoda (Lerner) in 1999 but have been out of print for some time.  I am always sad when my books go out of print so I am thrilled to have this series available again, now in a digital format.  The new versions, published by StarWalk KidsMedia, can be downloaded from Amazon for your Kindle.  They are also in the StarWalk KidsMedia catalogue available for school and library and home subscription.  They are perfect as read-alouds for young children and to be read alone by children in the primary grades.

    The books in this series are illustrated with wonderful photographs by Richard Hewett.  We spent many hours together at zoos watching animals and waiting for just the right moment to take a picture. It is important to have LOTS of patience when photographing animals. You can't ask an elephant to "just turn a little more this way, please!" Even though the photos look as if we were close to the animals, we were always safely on the other side of a fence or inside a vehicle. Richard used a telephoto lens to make the animals seem close-up. While he took pictures, I watched and listened to the animals and took notes that later helped me to write the books.

    Click on the links below for the Amazon pages for these books.
    You can go also directly to Amazon from the book pages at StarWalk KidsMedia or you can find the links to the books on my website .