Sunday, December 28, 2014

50,000 Page Views!

Today marks a total of 50,000 page views since I started posting regularly a little more than three years ago.  Thanks to all of you who have been following my blog and to those of you who stop by occasionally! Stay tuned for the announcement of my new books that will be officially published in January.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

HOLIDAY GREETINGS! Nativities from Iberoamerica

Chess set with facing Nativities, on exhibit at Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art
Every year at holiday time I get out our collection of creches, or nativity scenes, that we have accumulated over the years.  They come from all over the world and often have memories of travels associated with them. We have no new nativities this year.  However, I have photos of some amazing pieces currently on exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in a terrific show, Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art. They are among more than 1500 items in an exhibit of crafts ranging from clay and wood to fibers and textiles. The exhibit is from the collection of Fomento Cultural Banamex.
Clay nativity from Mexico, on exhibit at Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art

             I am looking forward to celebrating the holidays with family and friends.
                                            With very best wishes to you for a
                     HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


My book Stone Age Farmers Beside the Sea: Scotland's Prehistoric Village of Skara Brae has recently been republished as an e-book at StarWalk Kids Media. and as an Amazon Kindle book.  It has been redesigned and has a new cover, which depicts the Ring of Brodgar, a circle of standing stones and ancient henge monument. The hardcover version is out of print so I am pleased to have this book available again.
Skara Brae is one of Europe's oldest known prehistoric settlements.  For about 600 years, from 3100 B.C. to 2500 B.C. people farmed, herded, hunted, and fished there, raising families in houses built of stone and supported by midden--a mixture of trash, soil, and plant matter.  A violent storm uncovered Skara Brae in 1850.
In 1992 I visited Skara Brae with my husband Art, whose photographs illustrate the book. 

Read more about my visit to Skara Brae at my travel blog The Intrepid Tourist.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FOCAL Luncheon Honoring H. Joseph Hopkins, Author of TREE LADY

H. Joseph Hopkins with puppet of Kate Sessions created by Jesse Kingsley
On Saturday, December 6th, 2014, the annual luncheon honoring the winner of the FOCAL Award was held at the Border Grill in downtown Los Angeles across the street from the Los Angeles Central Library. As always, it was a gala event with delicious food, great company, and an inspiring program. The tables were decorated with wonderful centerpieces created by students of art teacher Ray Moszkowicz at Noble Middle School after reading The Tree Lady.  A looping slideshow created by Mara Alpert at LAPL of past FOCAL winners played at the front of the room.
Centerpiece depicting Kate Sessions planting a tree created by Noble Middle School students
As a member of the award committee I had the pleasure of sitting at the head table with the author, H. Joseph Hopkins, and the four winners of the essay contest, who had won the opportunity to meet the author and engage him conversation over lunch. The students (grades 3, 4, 5 and 8) read their essays as part of the program. I was impressed at the excellent job the students had done. As one of them wrote: "Kate Sessions was a woman with guts." Clearly she is a role model.
Tribute to Puppeteer Carol Onofrio
A special part of the program this year was a tribute to puppeteer Carol Onofrio who, until this year, had created all the puppets inspired by the winning book–one to give to the author and another for the permanent collection of the Children’s Literature Department of LAPL’s Central Library.  Sadly, Carol passed away this past year.  This year’s puppet, a wonderful rendition of Kate Sessions, the “tree lady” of the book, was created by Jesse Kingsley. After receiving the award, H. Joseph Hopkins gave a presentation about how he created the book and about the life of Kate Sessions.
Renny Day, VP Correspondence and Membership, and Caroline Gill, President of FOCAL
After four years as part of the FOCAL Award Committee and I am going to miss reading the books and going to the meetings. But I will always look forward to the luncheon. And I want to thank the award committee and  Caroline Gill, Renny Day and all the members of the FOCAL Board for all the hard work that makes the luncheon such a success and one of the highlights of my year.

The FOCAL Award was instituted in 1980 and is presented annually for a book of merit that features some aspect of California history and/or geography.
Friends of Children and Literature (FOCAL) is a support group of the LAPL Children’s Literature Department at the Central Library.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

ABFFE Holiday Auction on EBay--ONE DAY LEFT TO BID!

Just one more day to go! Don't forget to check out the ABFFE holiday auction on EBay of wonderful art by children's book illustrators!  It's a great chance to get a unique holiday gift for someone you know and support the freedom to read at the same time.
There are 97 terrific items to choose from in the auction. Scroll down to find my giclee print of a mother eagle feeding her eaglets (from my book, A Bald Eagle's World.)
Click on this link to go to the auction page:

UPDATE December 13:
ABFFE Holiday Auction Is a Success  
      NEW YORK, NY, December 11, 2014--The bidding was fast and furious in the final hours of the holiday auction of children's book art sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE). When the final gavel fell in the eBay auction yesterday, more than $14,000 had been raised to support ABFFE's defense of the free speech rights of kids, an increase of 40 per cent over the previous year. The auction included nearly 100 pieces by leading illustrators. The highest prices were paid for works by Jon Muth, Jared Chapman, William Wegman, Melissa Iwai, Eric Carle, Adam Rex, LeUyen Pham, and Leslie Patricelli. One sold for $2,750. "We are delighted by the success of this year's holiday auction. We are so grateful to the artists who donated and to the booksellers who helped us promote the auction," ABFFE President Chris Finan said
The children's art auction is a mainstay of ABFFE's fundraising for the Kids' Right to Read Project (KRRP), which it co-sponsors with the National Coalition Against Censorship. The auction, which is also held at the ABA Winter Institute and at BookExpo America, will continue after ABFFE becomes the ABFE Group at ABA next year. The ABFE Group will support KRRP as well as Banned Books Week, the national celebration of the freedom to read.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NEW BOOK! How Smart is a Lemur?

Brain power: Lemurs are amazing animals. These small creatures look like a cross between a cat and a squirrel. Scientists at Duke University are testing them to find out how smart they really are. Find out what they are discovering in this book.

Illustrated with spectacular color photographs, this 24 page book is written for fourth grade readers.  It is part of the Fountas Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention program. Like my book Octopus, Escape Artist of the Sea, How Smart is a Lemur? is in the Intriguing Animals series. My book Sneezes and Sniffles is also in the Fountas Pinnell LLI program.

I visited the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina to learn about lemurs and meet with some of the people who work with them.  You can read about my visit at my travel blog, The Intrepid Tourist.