Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Author Visit and Book Signing at Overland School, Los Angeles, CA

With bags of signed books at Children's Book World ready to go to students at Overland School
Last week I did two presentations in the auditorium of Overland Avenue School for Advanced Studies in Los Angeles, California--one to the kindergarten students and one to the first and second graders. Both groups were enthusiastic audiences and had good comments and questions. Many of the children had purchased books to be autographed which I did afterward at Children’s Book World, a local bookstore. The books I signed were Hatching Chicks in Room 6, Wiggle and Waggle, and Living Fossils.
Overland Avenue Elementary School, Los Angeles, CA
My visit to Overland brought back many memories. My own children attended Overland forty years ago and I remember going to many events in the school auditorium–which has not changed in all these years. The library, on the other hand, has changed a lot, doubling in size and now with Mary Mittelbach, the librarian, running a wonderful library program. (In my day, the library was only open if a parent could be recruited to sit behind the desk and check out books. I was one of those parents. There was no school librarian.) I thank Mary for organizing my visit and doing such a great job promoting my books to the students. I had an impressive pile to sign when I went to Children’s Book World. Students received their books the following day. And I thank Sharon Hearn and her staff at Children’s Book World for ordering the books and helping to make the signing go quickly and smoothly.
Entrance to Children's Book World, Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Author Visit with Kindergarteners at Westwood Charter School in Los Angeles

Westwood Charter School, Los Angeles, CA
Yesterday I had a fun visit with the kindergarten students at Westwood Charter School in Los Angeles, California, and shared my book Hatching Chicks in Room 6. It was an appropriate choice because they are also hatching eggs–except that they have duck eggs in their incubator. Several of the eggs already had pips so it won’t be long before the ducklings hatch. (Duck eggs take 28 days to hatch whereas chicken eggs hatch in 21 days.) I had a lively discussion about birds with the students, showed them my feather collection, and measured their wingspans. I found out that they will be celebrating Audubon’s birthday later this month. At the end of my visit I read the first two stories of Wiggle and Waggle and the children helped me sing the song.
Thanks to kindergarten teacher Sherry Kaufman for inviting me to her classroom. I enjoyed my visit.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Further Reading about Chicks and Chickens

When you finish reading a book, are you curious to find out more?  At the back of many books these days you will find a list of further reading. In my book, Hatching Chicks in Room 6, I list four books:

Chicks and Chickens by Gail Gibbons (Holiday House, 2004)
All about the behavior and development of chicks and chickens.

From Egg to Chicken by Anita Ganeri (Heinemann, 2006)
Life cycle of the chicken, illustrated with photographs.

Tillie Lays an Egg by Terry Golson, photographs by Ben Fink (Scholastic, 2009)
Fictional story about a chicken who lays her eggs everywhere but in the nest box.

Who You Callin’ Chicken? by Thea Feldman, photographs by Stephen Green-Armytage (Abrams, 2003)
Photographs of the amazing variety of chicken breeds.

Here are four more:

A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl by Robin Page (Beach Lane Books, 2015

Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (HoughtonMifflinHarcourt, 2015) 

Chicks! (Step into Reading) by Sandra Horning (Random House)

Busy Chickens by John Schindel (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Caroline Arnold interview with Cybils:

After my book Hatching Chicks in Room 6 won the Cybils Award for Elementary Non-fiction, I did an interview with Cybils blog editor Melissa Fox. It was published on the Cybils blog on March 27, 2018. Caroline Arnold interview with Cybils:

Do you have plans to keep chickens after learning about their care along with Room 6?

A number of years ago, before I moved to Los Angeles, I lived in the country with my family and we kept a flock of chickens. Watching the children in Room 6 care for their chickens reminded me of this experience. Now that I live in the city, it is not practical to keep chickens, so the answer is no, I do not have plans to keep chickens.

What do you think is the most valuable thing students learn from studying chickens in the classroom?

Among the many valuable lessons learned from hatching chicks in the classroom is being able to witness the life cycle process–from incubating the eggs, to seeing the shells break open, to watching the chicks grow from fluffy balls to fully feathered chickens. It is one thing to be told that chicks grow in eggs, but another to actually see an egg hatch with your own eyes.

How do you keep your research organized?

I have a box system to keep my research organized. Each book I write has its own box, which is where I put my notes, letters, brochures, print-outs from my computer, and anything else pertinent to the book. My digital photos are kept in folders in my computer.

What challenges did you face working with photos instead of your usual collage illustrations?

Every photographer will tell you that the two most difficult subjects are children and animals-- because they don’t stay still and they don’t take direction! My secret was to take LOTS of pictures. The challenge of a book like this is that the story takes place in real time so I had to get the photos I needed as they happened. There was no going backwards. Photographs give an immediacy to the story and help make the reader feel part of the action.

If you don’t mind telling us, what’s next for you?

When I was in Mrs. Best’s classroom working on Hatching Chicks in Room 6, I noticed that the children were also learning about insects and the process of metamorphosis. It occurred to me that this could be the topic of another book. So the following year I was back in Room 6 learning about painted lady butterflies and how they grow from tiny eggs to beautiful adult butterflies. That book, Butterflies in Room 6, will be published in January 2019.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


With Jennifer Best, Teacher (left) and Susan Bougetz, Librarian (right)
A week ago I had a very enjoyable author visit at the Platt Library in West Hills, California. My visit was organized by children’s librarian Susan Bougetz who promoted the event to all the local elementary schools and collected a huge pile of my books available in the library for check-out.
Some of my books from the Platt Library shelves

We met in the community room where I had a nice audience of parents and children who all enthusiastically participated in singing the Wiggle and Waggle song and having their wingspans measured. I ended by telling the story of how Hatching Chicks in Room 6 had been inspired by my visit to Haynes School, which is not very far from the library. Earlier in the afternoon I stopped by Haynes to visit Mrs. Best and this year’s students in Room 6. Outside the classroom I saw the pen where the chickens (who once had been chicks) have now grown up and are laying eggs.

Platt Library

I thank Susan Bougetz for inviting me to the Platt Library and doing such a good job of organizing my visit.

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.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Save the date! Book Talk Tea, Thousand Oaks Library, CA

I will be joining three other author/illustrators--Priscilla Burris, Joe Cepeda, and Tim Egan--for a BOOK TALK TEA at the Thousand Oaks Library in Thousand Oaks, CA, on Sunday, January 28 at 2:00 pm to talk about our books and how we illustrate them. The event is sponsored by the Ventura County Reading Association, the Thousand Oaks Library and Friends of the Thousand Oaks Library.
Please join us if you can!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chicken and Egg Jokes: Part 2

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Here are some more chicken and egg jokes to celebrate the one year birthday of the publication of HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6.

Why are chicks so neat?
Because they always have a comb.

Why did the chickens sit on their eggs?
Because they didn’t have any chairs.

How did the egg get up the mountain?
It scrambled up.

How do comedians like their eggs?
Funny side up.

What do you call an egg that goes on safari?
An egg-splorer.

Who wrote the book, Great Eggspectations?
Charles Chickens

(For more chicken and egg jokes, check out last week's post.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Chicken and Egg Jokes: Part 1

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Today is the one year birthday of the publication of HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6. Let's celebrate by telling some chicken and egg jokes.
I'd love to hear your chicken and egg jokes too. Write them in the comments section.

What do you call a chicken that crossed the road, rolled in mud, then went back across the road?
A dirty double-crosser!

What do you get if you cross a chicken with a cement mixer?
A brick layer.

Which side of a chicken has the most feathers?
The outside.

How do chickens get into a hotel?
They chick-in.

How do chickens get strong?
They egg-cercize

What do you get when chickens lay their eggs on the roof of a barn?
Egg rolls.

Why did the chicken cross the playground?
To get to the other slide.

What do you call a chicken at the north pole?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Cut-Paper Animals by Students at Coastal Grove School

I was away for the month of December and came home to a pile of mail including an envelope with wonderful cut-paper art and note from Jenny Hales, the Education Coordinator at Coastal Grove Charter School in Arcata, California. I had visited the school in October as part of the Humboldt County Author Festival. After my visit, the fifth grade students were inspired to create their own cut-paper art in the same manner I use for my books. I absolutely love the art--the students did a fantastic job of making the animals realistic and colorful. I especially like the texture of the paper and the use of watercolors to create various color shades.
Thank you so much for sharing!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

CYBILS Literary Award: Hatching Chicks in Room 6 is a Finalist

Happy New Year! I am back at my desk after a month away and opened my email this morning to discover (via a post on Facebook from Melissa Stewart) that Hatching Chicks in Room 6 is a finalist for the Cybils Award in the elementary/middle grade nonfiction category.
I wasn't aware of the Cybils Awards before, but they are nominated by people who blog about children's books. I am so pleased that my book is on the list!
Thanks so much to Claire Annette Noland for the nomination and to Ellen at On the Shelf 4 Kids for the excellent review:
You don’t need an egg tooth to crack this book open! Caroline Arnold’s photography documents the hands-on science happening in Jennifer Best’s kindergarten classroom. The book is organized chronologically by key days in the 21 day process of hatching chicks and once the hatching has occurred, the learning continues. The layout of the book includes full size photos and “eggs” of information. The backmatter includes online resources such as videos of different steps of the process and suggestions for further reading. Hatching Chicks in Room 6 offers an opportunity for students who might not have an incubator in their own classroom to get a close-up look at the life cycle of a chicken. Readers will scramble to get their hands on Hatching Chicks in Room 6.

Congratulations to all the Cybils finalists!