Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ABFFE Holiday Auction Begins Dec 1

Illustration of Eagle and Eaglets from A Bald Eagle's World
Once again I have contributed a piece of my art to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the bookseller's voice in the fight against censorship,  to help raise money to defend the free speech rights of kids in an online auction that launches on December 1. The week-long eBay auction will include work by Eric Carle, Rosemary Wells, Jon J Muth, Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Steve Light and many others. I have contributed a giclee print of one of my cut paper art illustrations for A Bald Eagle’s World.

Proceeds of the auction help support the Kids' Right to Read Project (KRRP), which is co-sponsored by ABFFE and the National Coalition Against Censorship. Since the start of the school year, KRRP has been fighting a rash of book challenges in school districts from Texas to New York. KRRP helped reinstate seven banned books in Highland Park, Texas, including The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Working Poor: Invisible in America, Siddhartha, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, An Abundance of Katherines, The Glass Castle: A Memoir and Song of Solomon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Arriving at Thomas Jefferson on a Snowy Morning
On Friday, November 14th, I had a wonderful author visit at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Eastlake, Ohio (near Cleveland).  I spoke to three groups of very enthusiastic students and teachers in the auditorium and then had a lively young author question and answer session with representatives from all the classrooms.

In the school auditorium
Before my visit the students had been introduced to my books Wiggle and Waggle, Too Hot? Too Cold?, A Warmer World and The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers, purchased by the PTO for the school library, as well as numerous other of my books checked out from the public library, so they were well prepared. Questions ranged from “How do you get a book published?” to “Have you ever written a book about snakes?” (Yes.)

With Tim Hammon, Principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary
I thank the principal, Tim Hammon, for coordinating the schedule, for introducing me at each presentation and making sure that everything during the day ran smoothly. I was also pleased to meet the school superintendent and assistant superintendent, who came to observe the young author session. And I thank Laurie in the office for ordering a very delicious lunch! And most of all, I thank Julie Pattie, PTO President, and her husband Chris for working so hard to raise the funds to make my visit possible, for arranging my stay at the Radisson Hotel (graciously donated), and for driving me to and from school and the airport in below freezing weather.
With Julie Pattie, PTO President, in the school library
I arrived in Cleveland in the midst of a snowstorm and, miraculously, the school district was the only one in the county not closed for the weather.  After a year of planning, it was a great pleasure to spend the day at Thomas Jefferson and meet all the people who make it such a great school. Thank you PTO for making it possible!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ANCIENT CLIFF DWELLERS OF MESA VERDE: One of 13 Great Books at StarWalk Kids Media Celebrating Native American Month

I was delighted to learn that my book ANCIENT CLIFF DWELLERS OF MESA VERDE is featured in this month's newsletter from StarWalk KidsMedia. From Maine to Hawaii, North Carolina to Alaska, StarWalk Kids Media has more than a dozen books that feature Native American history, culture and folklore. There are picture books with legends, myths and folktales illustrated by Indian artists, nonfiction for middle school with primary source documents, and exciting historical fiction. 
THE ANCIENT CLIFF DWELLERS OF MESA VERDE, is about the Anasazi, Native Americans who inhabited the cliffs and mesa tops of Mesa Verde, Colorado, a thousand years ago.  It is illustrated with beautiful photographs by Richard Hewett.  This book was originally published in 1992 as a hardback and paperback book by Clarion Books. It is now available again as an e-book at StarWalk Kids. You can also find it at Amazon as a Kindle book.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: The Ancient Cliff Dwellers of Mesa Verde
Grade 4-6-- Sharply focused and dramatic full-page, full-color photographs are an outstanding feature in this book on the Anasazi people of the American Southwest. Mesa Verde serves as the backdrop and focal point. Photos of the spectacular cliff dwellings can be found throughout, but there are also pictures of archaeologists at work and many of the artifacts that have been found there. Chapters include a description of the discovery of the area by ranchers in the late 19th century and the development of the area into a national park. Readers will also see how painstaking archeology has re-created the probable scenario of how people lived when the area was at its height of development and various theories concerning the fate of the Anasazi. An engrossing introduction to the culture, the place, and the time, and how we have learned about them. --David N. Pauli, Missoula Pub . Lib . , MT

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sign up NOW for the December 6 FOCAL Award Luncheon

You may now register now for the December 6 FOCAL Award Luncheon!!!   And tell your friends.

FOCAL (Friends of Children and Literature, the support group of the Children’s programs of the Los Angeles Public Library) has chosen  The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins as the award winner for 2014. This beautifully written book chronicles the life of Kate Sessions, who led a campaign to plant trees in San Diego, California, thus turning the city from a seaside desert to a urban garden. Colorful illustrations by Jill McElmurry convey Kate Session’s passion for plants. 
Don't delay.  The luncheon is just four weeks away!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

BOOK QUILT: Treasured Souvenir of Author Visit to Taft Primary School Many Years Ago

Detail of Quilt made by students at Taft Primary School, Taft, California
One of the most treasured souvenirs of my many author visits to schools through the years is the book quilt made for me by the students and parents of Taft Primary School in Taft, California. Well in advance of my visit, students had read a variety of my books.  They then chose a topic or scene from one of the books and made their own drawings which were then transferred to fabric by some very hardworking parents and sewn into a quilt.
Scenes from the Winter Olympics
The visit was made almost thirty years ago, around 1985. I can tell because many of the drawings feature events from The Summer Olympics and The Winter Olympics, books that were published at the time of the 1984 Summer Olympics which were held in Los Angeles.

Scene from My Friend From Outer Space
Some of the other quilt squares feature scenes from my book about giant sequoia trees, The Biggest Living Thing, which was illustrated with my own drawings and printed using preseparated colors. Other squares feature one of my favorite and most popular fiction books, My Friend From Outer Space, a story inspired by the imaginative games of my own children. All of the books pictured on the quilt are long out of print.  But every time I get out the quilt, I am not only reminded of the books, but of my wonderful visit to Taft Primary and the tremendous love of books and reading promoted throughout the community.
Scene depicting a page in The Biggest Living Thing