Wednesday, November 28, 2018

CELEBRATING READING at Scholarship Prep in Santa Ana, CA

Reading Room at Scholarship Prep, Santa Ana, CA
Two weeks ago I visited Scholarship Prep school in Santa Ana, California, and gave two presentations, one to third graders and one to seventh graders. We met in the beautiful new reading room furnished by the Carson Scholars Fund. Every year, in November, the Fund celebrates with its partner schools a National Day of Reading in conjunction with American Education Week.
The Carson Scholars Fund is an educational non-profit organization that provides financial grants for schools to create leisure reading spaces for students in the belief that developing a love for reading at a young age is a key to success. At Scholarship Prep the reading room has comfy chairs, pillows, book cases and a beautiful mural echoing the sea life theme of the decorations.
I appreciated the students' enthusiasm for my presentation and their good questions. I hope that my visit will inspire their future reading and writing! Each classroom at Scholarship Prep has the name of a major university. The third graders were excited when I showed a picture of my childhood in Wisconsin, since their university is Wisconsin. I told the seventh graders that my cousin graduated from Northwestern University, their classroom name. Perhaps in a few years, some of the Scholarship Prep students will go to one of these universities.

Scholarship Prep School: "Reach Higher. Dream Bigger."
I thank Marcos Rodriguez, the California Expansion Coordinator of the Carson Scholars Fund for arranging my visit and Principal Dennise Allotey for welcoming me to the school. Reading has always been important to me, so I was pleased to be able to share my love of books and reading with the students at Scholarship Prep.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

BABY WHALE RESCUE: The True Story of J.J., now available as an E-Book

BABY WHALE RESCUE: The True Story of J.J., is now available as an E-Book on Amazon. It was originally published by Troll/Bridgewater Books in 1999 and is out of print. BABY WHALE RESCUE is illustrated with color photographs by Richard Hewett and photos from the Sea World of California Department of Photo Services. I am happy to have the book now available to new readers as an e-book. You can read it with a Kindle app on various devices (I use my iPad) or on your computer. 

The dramatic story was told on the evening news. Separated from her mother, a baby gray whale had been hopelessly stranded on a California beach. Fortunately, the whale was rescued and brought to SeaWorld of California in San Diego, where she was named J.J. and nursed back to health.

J.J. was the first baby gray whale to be raised in a marine park, and for months she was the park’s star attraction. But her caregivers knew that this gray whale would someday grow too large to live in captivity. Could J.J. be returned to the ocean–and learn to live on her own?

January 11, 2017 was the twentieth anniversary of J.J.’s rescue. It is considered one of the most successful rescue and rehabilitation stories in SeaWorld history.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Welcome sign in Mrs. Oasay's 4th Grade Class at Esperanza School
A week ago I had a terrific visit at Esperanza Elementary School in Los Angeles, California, with two groups of Mrs. Williams students in the library (3rd and 4th grades) and with Mrs. Oasay's 4th grade students in their classroom. I could tell that the students enjoyed meeting a "real live author" and I was glad to hear what they have been learning from reading my books. Each group had been reading one of my recent books in advance of my visit. Mrs. Williams' third graders had read Watching Desert Wildlife and the fourth graders had read Birds: Nature's Magnificent Flying Machines.
With teacher Elizabeth Williams in the library. A life-size cutout of P-22 peeks out behind us.
Mrs. Williams also shared the students' pollinators books that they are working on as they learn in the school's natural habitat garden. What a great project!
A book made by one of the students about plant pollinators
She also showed me the story boards the students made for P-22 Day. (P-22 is a mountain lion that lives in the Santa Monica Mountains.) I loved the illustrations and what they wrote. They had presented their story at the P-22 Day in Griffith Park in October.
With Mrs. Oasay in her classroom
Mrs. Oasay's class was a very enthusiastic audience and had a lot to share about what they were learning in my book Too Hot? Too Cold?. I loved their own Too Hot? Too Cold? books, done backwards and forwards.
My book Too Hot? Too Cold? and one of the student's books with facts about animal adaptations for keeping warm and keeping cool.
The board in front of Mrs. Oasay's room was filled with questions the students had prepared to ask me. They were great questions, ranging from "What inspired you to write about animals?" to "Did you have any challenges as a kid?" I didn't have time to answer all of them, but we had a great conversation.
I thank super Principal Brad Rumble for arranging my visit and making it possible.  During my visit, Assistant Principal Mrs. Lexus Lee took good care of me and made sure everything ran smoothly.

Friday, November 16, 2018


I just went to my favorite neighborhood bookstore, Children's Book World to participate in the national LoveYourBookstore Challenge. I bought two books: If Animals Celebrated Christmas by Ann Whitford Paul and Hanukkah Hamster by Michelle Markel. They will make perfect holiday gifts.
Love Your Bookstore is an industry-wide celebration of all brick-and-mortar bookstores across America. It's a way for book lovers of all sorts to share their love for their favorite local bookstore!

Bookstores are community centers and more than just selling books, they provide a place for people to connect with your books, with you, and with each other. Let's create a celebration of these amazing brick-and-mortar bookstores with all book-loving partners (authors, readers, publishers, booksellers, and more!) during this holiday season and beyond.

You have two more days to participate! Deadline is Sunday, November 18th. 
Go to your favorite bookstore and take a picture with your favorite book and post it on Twitter or Instagram.
Hooray for brick and mortar bookstores!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

PRINTS and CARDS–Perfect for Holiday Giving

Prints and Cards at my Etsy site
My prints and cards are still available from my Etsy site ( and make an ideal gift for the holiday season. Each image is a high-quality giclee print of one of the cut-paper art illustrations from my Day and Night books or my Animal World series.
Take a look and check it out!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

CONNECTING CULTURES MOBILE MUSEUM Open House at RFK Community School, Los Angeles, CA

Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum (CCMM) display at RFK Community School, Los Angeles, CA
Last week I went to the annual Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum (CCMM) open house held in the library of the Robert F. Kennedy Community School near downtown Los Angeles, CA.  Hundreds of colorful items–clothing, hats, games, toys–displayed on panels and across table tops showed middle school students the multiple everyday connections we share with people from all over the world.
Everyday Connections was this year's theme (the focus rotates on a three-year cycle)
During the school day for the week the exhibits are up, students in grades six through eight come into the library to hear presentations from CCMM volunteers. They then have the opportunity to interact with the exhibits–trying on clothes, playing games, examining toys.
A sample of board games from around the world
Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum has a long history of working with Los Angeles-area schools, having started at Palms Middle School in West Los Angeles in 1995 and expanding to 24 schools by 2015. Since then, CCMM has enriched the cross-cultural education of more than 100,000 student visitors.
Valerie Lezin, founder of CCMM
Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum believes that exploring our shared human needs, values, and practices will lead to broadened world views. Through its educational programs and resources, CCMM develops awareness and acceptance of the diversity within our increasingly interconnected global communities.
Julia Goldman (right) with Open House visitors
I have been supporting CCMM for many years through participation in their fund raisers and donations of some of the many things I’ve collected in my years of travel. It is always a pleasure seeing them get a new life in the CCMM displays and to know they are helping to enrich students' lives.