Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Gardening Project: DO PLANTS FEEL GRAVITY?

One of my first illustration assignments was for a book about gardening activities with children.  At that time, most books for children were illustrated with black and white art so I made pencil drawings.  Here is one of the activities.

Do plants know which way is up and which way is down? Can they detect Earth’s gravity? Here is an experiment that will help you find out.

You will need:
radish seeds
clear glass jars
paper towels
box with a cover

Soak the radish seeds overnight in water. Line a clear jar with a damp paper towel and place the seeds between the towel and the jar, 1 inch from the lip. Keep the towel moist. Stand the jar in inside the box and close the lid to make it dark. When the seeds have germinated (a few days) and their stems extend an inch beyond the top of the jar, place the jar on its side as illustrated. Leave the jar in the dark again. Check the seedlings in a day.  Have the stems and roots changed direction? Do you think that plants can feel gravity?

The effect of gravity on plants is called geotropism.

From Children’s Gardens: A Field Guide for Teachers, Parents and Volunteers by Elizabeth Bremner and John Pusey, Illustrations by Caroline Arnold

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Peregrine Falcon Art
I have been cleaning out old files and came across this wonderful song created by the First Grade Class at Mission Avenue Open School in Sacramento, California in 1993. They had read my book, Saving the Peregine Falcon, used the information to create the song, and then performed it for me when I did an author visit to their school in April 1993. Afterward, they presented me with a copy of the words for the song along with a torn paper art project of a peregrine falcon. I have treasured it for many years.
Here is the song:

Peregrine Falcon

We are strong falcons,
We are strong falcons,
We are mighty, mighty, mighty, mighty, mighty birds!
But we need your help!
We need your help!
We need your help right now!

We are little peeps,
We are little peeps.
We don't like the DDT that's in our mother's meat!
'Cause it breaks our shells,
It breaks our shells,
It breaks our shells apart!

We are scientists, we are here to help.
We are scientists, we are here to help.
We will save you from the DDT!
We'll work together, you will surely see!

Thank you very much!
We were in "double Dutch",
But we're doing better now, we're better, better, now!



The good news is that peregrine falcons are now (in 2016) no longer on the endangered species list, thanks to no more DDT and the dedicated work of many scientists. My book, Saving the Peregrine Falcon, illustrated with photos by Richard Hewett, is out of print but you may be able to find it in the library.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Review of LIVING FOSSILS in Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

I was pleased to receive this very nice review of my book LIVING FOSSILS: Clues to the Past in the August 3rd issue of Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews.

Living Fossils: Clues to the Past

Caroline Arnold
Illustrator:  Andrew Plant
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Charlesbridge, 2016   ISBN: 978-1580896917
 Many of us have seen fossils in museums; the trilobites and other insect-like creatures, and the dinosaurs, both small and large. For the most part these animals looking nothing like any animal that is alive today. They went extinct long ago and their very distant modern-day relatives are quite different.

However, there are a few animal species living in the present day that are very similar to their ancient relatives. Their kind survived extinction events and climate change, and they have even survived the assent of mammals. These animals are often called living fossils, and in this book readers will meet a few of these singular creatures.

Perhaps one of the most famous living fossils is the coelacanth. Before the 1930’s scientists thought that this large, marine, lobed-tailed fish had died out sixty-five million years ago. Then a fisherman found a coelacanth in the Indian Ocean and the scientific community went wild speculating about how this animal had survived for so long.

Another species that has remained remarkably unchanged is the horseshoe crab. This animal lived on Earth a hundred million years ago, and it still lives here in the present day.

Many of us will probably never see a live coelacanth or horseshoe crab, but there is one living fossil that most of us are familiar with because they are found all around the world. Two hundred and eighty million years ago large crow-sized dragonflies zipped around marshes preying on smaller insects and other animals. Dragonflies today are a lot smaller, but they still favor environments where there is water, and they are still predators.

Young readers who are interested in fossils and in creatures that lived long ago are going to thoroughly enjoy this book. Readers are shown what six ancient animal species looked like and then they are shown their modern-day counterparts. In addition to telling us about these animals, the text also explains how fossils are formed and how living fossils provide scientists with “clues to the past.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review in Grinnell Magazine

I am pleased to have my books reviewed in the summer issue of the Grinnell Magazine on page 15. I studied art and literature at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, and graduated with a major in Art. An almost complete collection of my books can be found in the alumni section of the college library.
Here's the announcement of my recent books in the Grinnell Magazine:

A Day and Night in the …
Prolific children’s book
author/illustrator Caroline Scheaffer Arnold ’66
has published two series of animal board books that were rewritten for younger readers. From the habitat series: A Day and Night in the Rain Forest, A Day and Night in the Desert, A Day and Night on the Prairie,and A Day and Night in the Forest (Capstone: Picture Window Books, 2015). From the animal series: A Zebra’s World, A Panda’s World, A Polar Bear’s World, and A Penguin’s World (Capstone: Picture Window Books, 2015). Arnold also authored Living Fossils: Clues to the Past, illustrated by Andrew Plant

Note: Books in the Habitat series are available in hardback, paperback and as e-books; the new books in the  animal series are board books, adapted from my earlier series Caroline Arnold's Animals.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


My Workshop at the 45th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference, Los Angeles, CA
The SCBWI summer conference, held this year in the elegant Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, was fantastic as usual with amazing keynote talks, workshops and more. It was three days of inspiration that will last the whole year. Talks from authors, illustrators, editors and agents were terrific. And I loved the chance to spend time with writer friends both old and new.
Book Sale and Stairway to the Biltmore Bowl
On Sunday morning I conducted a workshop “Creating Eye-Catching Nonfiction for the Very Young” in which I talked about the relationship between text and illustration and how they work together to tell the whole story. My theme was “let the illustrations do the work.” I then showed–briefly–the process I go through when illustrating one of my books using my cut-paper technique. I thank Liz Mertz, SCBWI Regional Advisor from Texas, for introducing me at my workshop and making sure everything ran smoothly.
Some of the many SCBWI nonfiction writers at the Nonfiction Social
An incredible team of SCBWI bloggers kept a running account of conference events.  For a close-up look at all the many events of the three-day conference, I recommend going to the conference blog. Because all the workshops ran concurrently, it was impossible to see everything in person. But by reading the blog you can get highlights of the various presentations. I thank SCBWI blogger (and amazing and prolific author/illustrator) Don Tate for the photos of me at my workshop and at the nonfiction social.
Lin Oliver, our extraordinary leader and co-founder of SCBWI
In addition to listening to the keynote speeches, panels and Golden Kite speeches in the large Biltmore Bowl I attended three excellent workshops: The Picture Book Process with Saho Fuji, art director at Little Brown; Crafting the Narrative Nonfiction Biography with Bonnie Bader, author/editor at Penguin Books; and Facts Meets Feeling: Narrative nonfiction that informs, entertains, moves, and convinces audiences by Melissa Manlove of Chronicle Books. The final event of the conference was the autograph party in the Crystal Ballroom where I signed my books Living Fossils, A Zebra's World and A Day and Night in the Rain Forest.
Book Signing in Crystal Ballroom
I have been going to the SCBWI summer conference since 1977 (then it was just SCBW, no I) and have seen it grow and become better and better. This year more than 900 people attended!  In 1977 I was an unpublished writer. A year later I sold my first book. I credit the SCBWI for helping me to become a successful writer and I am pleased and honored to have had the chance to be a speaker this year at the conference. Who knew 45 years ago, when Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser started the Socity of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, that it would become the largest and most influential organization for children’s book writers and illustrators in the world.
Thank you Lin and Steve!
Chocolate pyramid dessert at Golden Kite Awards Dinner