Wednesday, May 22, 2019

HOW BUTTERFLIES SMELL WITH THEIR FEET, Nonfiction Minute by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Painted Lady Butterfly
Did you know that butterflies can detect smells with their feet? A female butterfly will test the smell of a leaf to find out what kind it is before laying her eggs. She needs to find out if it is a type of leaf that the caterpillars will eat after the eggs hatch.
For a perfect explanation of how butterflies do this, check out children's book science writer Dorothy Patent's Nonfiction Minute (1/24/2019).
Painted Lady butterfly eggs are blue and about the size of a grain of salt. The butterflies prefer to lay them on thistle or hollyhock plants.
To learn about Painted Lady Butterflies and their life cycle, read my new book, BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

AUTHOR VISIT IN ROOM 6, Haynes School, Los Angeles, CA

Releasing painted lady butterflies with students in Room 6
Yesterday I visited Mrs. Best and her students in Room 6 at Haynes School in Los Angeles. In March I had presented my new book BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6 to the whole school. This time I did a class visit.  Earlier this spring I had raised butterflies to take to my book signings to celebrate the publication of the book. Those butterflies laid eggs before I let them go, thus producing a second generation.
Painted Lady butterfly eggs, magnified. The actual size is about as big as a grain of salt.
By yesterday the new butterflies were ready to fly free. With the students in Room 6 I went out to the school garden and the children helped me let the butterflies go.
Butterflies drinking orange juice with their proboscises.
As I took the butterflies out of their netted enclosure, some sat for a few seconds on eager fingers. Then, whoosh, they flapped their wings and took off. Some flew over the fence and others landed on flowers in the garden.
Painted Lady butterfly resting near lantana flowers
After we went back inside I read my story THE TERRIBLE HODAG AND THE ANIMAL CATCHERS. Later, the students will create their own “mixed up animals.”
Reading THE TERRIBLE HODAG AND THE ANIMAL CATCHERS. The Hodag has the head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur and tail of an alligator.
We also talked about chickens and eggs and I shared my ostrich egg, comparing its size to a chicken egg. Sitting on a shelf at the front of the classroom was an incubator filled with chicken eggs. In about two weeks they will hatch. Meanwhile, the children can read my book HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6, about a previous kindergarten class that hatched eggs with Mrs. Best.
Incubator with chicken eggs
I always enjoy visiting Room 6 and seeing all the amazing science projects that Mrs. Best is doing with her students. I thank her for taking the photos during my visit.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


The March issue of School Library Journal has another excellent review of BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6.

PreS-Gr 2.  Arnold returns to the same classroom she observed in Hatching Chicks in Room 6 (Charlesbridge, 2017). This time she joins Mrs. Best and her kindergarten students as they follow the progress of painted lady butterflies from small blue eggs to adult insects. Photos document the steps required to care for the creatures during their journey from egg to larva to pupa to adult. The intent expressions on the children’s faces reveal their engagement with the process and their delight as they watch the butterflies prepare to fly away. The close-up photos, including the sequence of a butterfly’s emergence from the chrysalis, draw readers into the transformation. The clear, straightforward text is supplemented by facts supplied in small text boxes. A vocabulary list plus suggested books and websites enhance the information. VERDICT. A solid choice for most libraries, particularly those supporting hands-on science learning.
Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

CELEBRATING EARTH WEEK, Author Visit at Pilgrim School, Los Angeles, CA

Author Visit at Pilgrim School, Los Angeles, CA
Last week I visited Pilgrim School in Los Angeles, California, and presented to two enthusiastic groups of children--grades K through 2, and grades 3 through 5. I was pleased with their response to my program and good questions. With both groups I shared my new book Butterflies in Room 6, and showed them my cup of caterpillars. Many of the children recalled raising butterflies from caterpillars at school when they were in earlier grades.
Kathie Shorkey, Science Teacher, with butterfly art projects

My visit was initiated by science teacher Kathie Shorkey as part of her Earth Week celebration at the school. She showed me an art project she did with the first graders. Using found objects–ranging from sticks, to buttons, to pop-tabs from drink cans–they formed the shape of a butterfly on photo paper and then exposed the paper to the sun. The paper was then developed and the shape of the butterfly was revealed against a background of blue.
With Carole Koneff, Elementary School Librarian

I thank Kathie and Elementary School Librarian Carole Koneff for inviting me to Pilgrim and making all the arrangements for my presentation and for the book sale. Carole gets the prize for the most creative author introductions. She does them for all visiting authors and this is the second one she has done for me. I love the way she has included so many of my books--and made the lines rhyme!

By Carole Koneff
160 books or more have been researched and written down.
She's traveled far and wide and is often out of town.
Dinosaurs, Global Warming, Butterflies, Chicks,
Rain Forest, Easter Island, Things in Room 6,
Taj Mahal, Desert, Eagle, Warmer World,
Many facts and figures have gradually unfurled.
Skeletal, octopus, shockers, hot, cold,
Words from many titles of books that she has sold.
Wombat, Penguin, Zebra, Kangaroo,
Just a few of the animals she's written about for you.
She's retold a famous folk tale and has a story about worms,
A book about the sniffles that surely features germs.
It's her second trip to Pilgrim and we are glad she's back
To refresh our smarts on nonfiction and keep our brains on track.

Thank you Carole!  I also thank the Upper School Librarian Kris Williams for her help with my visit. I had a nice lunch with Carole and Kris before my talks. I had a great day at Pilgrim and enjoyed it very much!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

AUTHOR VISIT to WPC Preschool, Los Angeles, CA

Two weeks ago I made my annual visit to the Westwood Presbyterian Preschool in Los Angeles, California, making two presentations–one to the three-year-old classes and one to the four-year-old classes. With the three-year-olds I read A Zebra’s World and we went on a “Lion Hunt” together. I also read Wiggle and Waggle while one of the teachers wore my Wiggle and Waggle sock puppets and acted out the story as I read. With both groups of children I shared my new book, Butterflies in Room 6. In a week, they will be getting their own caterpillars and raising their own butterflies, just like the children in my book. Then they will let them go.
It has become a tradition that I always end my visit with the four-year-olds by reading The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers. Each time I come to the description of the Hodag, the children join me to chant that the Hodag has the “Head of an OX, Feet of a BEAR, Back of a DINOSAUR, and the Tail of an ALLIGATOR.” As the story ends, the children are all relieved to learn that the animal catchers go back to the city without the Hodag, and that the Hodag continues to live in the forest. “It is his home, and where he belongs.”

Friday, April 19, 2019

AUTHOR VISITS at ECOLE BILINGUE Lower School and Middle School, Berkeley, CA

Wiggle and Waggle art project at Ecole Bilingue, Berkeley, CA
In late March I spent two very enjoyable days at Ecole Bilingue, a bilingual French/English school in Berkeley, California.  (My presentations were in English.) My granddaughter Paige has attended Ecole Bilingue since preschool. I visited the school several times when she was in the Lower School, but this was my first time speaking at the Middle School.
My books on display at the EB Middle School library.
At the Middle School, I was in the school library with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. I talked about both my writing and illustration process, with a focus on my books for older readers such as Easter Island and Global Warming and the Dinosaurs.
My book about the platypus and the translation by students at EB
Many of the 8th grade students remembered the project they had done when they were in second grade, translating my book A Platypus' World into French. It became Le Monde de Ornithorynque. The students’ English teacher gave them cards to write down questions as I talked and we had a lively discussion at the end of each session. One student wanted to know if I was ever worried about running out of ideas. The answer is no! My problem is having the time to pursue all the ideas I have. Another student wanted to know how I have the patience to do all the cutting for my cut-paper illustrations.
With EB Middle School librarian Olga Popova
I thank Olga Popova, the Middle School librarian, for arranging my visit and making sure that everything was ready. My books were on display and there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the front of the room. Afterward, we had a lovely lunch together at the café across the street.
In the EB Lower School MPR
My second day at Ecole Bilingue as at the Lower School where I did presentations to all the grades except for 4th. My program varied by grade level, ranging from more interaction with the younger students–singing the Wiggle and Waggle song, going on a lion hunt–to more discussion of the writing process with the older students.
Wiggle and Waggle art projects by EB second graders
There was a wonderful display in the hallway of art made by the second graders. They had read Wiggle and Waggle and made stick puppets to go in their garden pictures. I was pleased that so many students had ordered books. During lunch and at the end of the day I autographed them. I thank the Lower School librarian, Sophie Lemeur, for arranging the book orders and schedule of the day and coordinating all the arrangements. It was a full day, but very satisfying. Many thanks to everyone at Ecole Bilingue for a wonderful visit!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

AUTHOR VISIT and DINOMITE BOOK FAIR at Wood Ranch Elementary, Simi Valley, CA

Every year the PTA at Wood Ranch Elementary school in Simi Valley, California, invites an author to present at the school in conjunction with the book fair held in early April. This year I was that author. I gave presentations in the MPR to three groups of students–4th and 5th graders, 2nd and 3rd graders, and lastly, the K-1 students. Everyone was enthusiastic and I was impressed by the excellent questions.
After being treated to a tasty lunch by the PTA, I stayed after school so that I could talk with parents and students at the book fair and autograph books. The book fair, operated by Scholastic, had ordered two of my books, Hatching Chicks in Room 6 and Living Fossils.
I enjoyed my day at Wood Ranch and thank the PTA for sponsoring my visit, especially book fair chair Ilse Blanda and all the other hard working committee members and volunteers, for  making sure that everything ran smoothly. I also thank Principal Kate Snowden, for helping with the technical set-up, and Kim Holden, the office manager, for coordinating the arrangements and setting up the schedule.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


A week ago, on April 6th, at the KidSpace Museum in Pasadena, I had an enthusiastic crowd of kids and their parents, who came for my reading of Butterflies in Room 6. Everyone gathered in the Storyteller Studio in Roberts Pavilion--kids seated on a rug on the floor and parents on comfortable sofas.
After listening to the story, the kids watched my butterflies fly around in their netted cage, looked at them through a magnifying glass, and created their own butterfly artwork with coloring pages, while I answered questions and signed books.
Many thanks to Susan in the museum book store, Vince Dominguez, the floor manager, and the staff of the KidSpace museum, for organizing the event and selling my books! And thanks to my husband, Art, for taking the photos.
Looking at the butterflies through a magnifying glass. At home I raised painted lady butterflies from caterpillars and brought them to my presentation. After the butterflies emerged from their chrysalises, I gave them orange slices for food. (In nature, butterflies feed on flower nectar.) After my presentation at KidSpace, I released the butterflies in my backyard.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

LITERACY NIGHT: SCIENCE EDITION at San Gabriel Avenue Elementary School, South Gate, CA

Mural at San Gabriel Avenue School Literacy Night: Science Edition
Last week on Friday, I was the guest of honor at the San Gabriel Avenue Elementary School in South Gate, California for their annual literacy night, this year focusing on science. Children and their families filled the school playground, exploring various booths with science exhibits, turning in their raffle tickets for free books, competing in the champion pinewood derby races, listening to music, and enjoying pizza and other snacks on picnic blankets and lawn chairs.
With fourth grade teacher Mr. De Santos
I had a table for my books behind the stage area where I displayed my books. As a backdrop there was a wonderful mural depicting scientists learning about caterpillars and butterflies just as the children do in my book, Butterflies in Room 6. The kindergarten classes at San Gabriel were also learning about butterflies and on another table their butterflies were on exhibit, sitting next to the incubator where they were hatching eggs. I enjoyed the chance to talk with children and their parents as they came to my table to look at and buy my books, peer through my magnifying glass, and get a closeup look at my ostrich egg.
View from my table of the crowd and DJ
At the end of the afternoon the San Gabriel Mighty Angels Dance Team performed to music and then I did a presentation, talking about my books and life as a writer. The final event was a drawing for prizes.
With teachers Lauren Cantu (left) and Cindy Taylor (right)
The whole afternoon was a wonderful celebration of literacy, with a special emphasis on science. I thank kindergarten teacher Cindia Curiel-Taylor for inviting me and the San Gabriel PTA for sponsoring my visit. Cindy did a great job of organizing and directing the activities and was helped by other teachers at the school. In the spirit of the day, all were wearing white scientific lab coats. I wore my butterfly t-shirt: "Soar into Reading with science books for kids!"

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Wiggle and Waggle puppets help sing the Wiggle and Waggle digging song
Last Thursday, I had a wonderful visit with second and third graders at Echo Horizon School, Culver City, California, in the beautiful school library. I was impressed by the children’s enthusiasm and their excellent questions. Claudette Brown, the school librarian, had helped them prepare by reading my books and having the third graders make pyramid animal poems inspired by some of my animal books (directions are at my website).
Caroline with Claudette Brown
With both groups I read the first two stories in Wiggle and Waggle and we all sang the Wiggle and Waggle song together–accompanied by my worm sock puppets. (Wiggle has googly eyes, Waggle has glasses.)  After that I talked about my illustration process.
Ostrich Egg
Then I shared Hatching Chicks in Room 6 and we had a discussion of what makes a bird–all birds lay eggs, and all birds have feathers. I shared my ostrich egg (the largest of all bird eggs) and everyone had a chance to touch it. Then the children had a chance to measure their wingspans. Finally, I shared my new book, Butterflies in Room 6, and we talked about the recent painted lady butterfly migration in Southern California.
Pages from Butterflies in Room 6
I thank Claudette for inviting me, coordinating my visit, and for taking photos. I also thank the school tech person for making sure that everything worked for my slide show. And thanks to Children’s Book World for providing the books for autographing. This was my second visit to Echo Horizon and it was another great morning!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

BOOK SIGNING of BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6 at Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, CA

This morning I had a fun book signing and storytime at Children’s Book World, a wonderful children’s bookstore in Los Angeles, California, not far from where I live. I had an enthusiastic crowd of children with their parents as well of some of my personal friends.
While we waited for the program to begin, children came up to the front to see the painted lady butterflies that I had grown from caterpillars and had brought in a netted enclosure. Most had come out of their chrysalises just a day or two ago. I had eleven butterflies flying around and feeding on orange slices. I explained to the children that the butterflies drink the orange juice through a long tube called a proboscis, which is something like having a built-in straw. In about a week I will let them go.
The program began at 10:30 with a reading of my new book BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6. Afterward Sharon passed out painted lady butterfly coloring sheets, drawing boards and crayons. Everyone was invited to take one of the butterfly cookies that I had brought. (Sugar cookies decorated with white and chocolate frosting and orange sprinkles.) While the children were coloring and eating cookies, I autographed books. It was a fun morning for all! Thank you Sharon and everyone at Children's Book World for helping me to promote my book and for making this a successful event!
And thanks also to my husband Art for taking the pictures!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6: Where Do Ideas Come From?

Jennifer Best, Kindergarten teacher at Haynes School for Enriched Studies
Several years ago, when I was doing an author visit at a school in Los Angeles, I met Jennifer Best, a kindergarten teacher. Each spring, her students learn about life cycles. Two years ago I spent time in her classroom while they were hatching chicken eggs in an incubator. That resulted in my book Hatching Chicks in Room 6. At the same time, the class was also raising Painted Lady butterflies from caterpillars, watching the caterpillars grow in a jar, turn into chrysalises, and, after a week or so, emerge as beautiful butterflies. It seemed like the perfect sequel to Hatching Chicks in Room 6.
As with the book about chicks, I realized that the best way to tell this story was with photographs. I had taken photographs for some of my other books, so I decided to do it myself. I embedded myself in Jennifer Best’s classroom, which enabled me to follow the process and get the photos I needed. (A challenge in taking the photographs was that neither the children nor butterflies stayed still for long!) Spending so much time in the classroom also allowed me to interact with the kindergarten students, which helped me to target my text at the right level. The children’s enthusiasm was contagious as they learned about butterflies and had the thrill of releasing them outdoors and watch them fly into the neighborhood. I am extremely grateful to Jennifer Best for her cheerful cooperation in this project and for being my expert reader. I couldn’t have done this book without her.
Butterflies in Room 6 is a book for primary age children about raising butterflies in the classroom. This photo essay follows the process of metamorphosis from a tiny egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, and finally to the emergence of the adult butterfly. Children observe each stage up close as they learn firsthand about a butterfly’s life cycle. Then, when the butterflies are a few days old, the children release them in the school garden.
Raising butterflies from caterpillars is a popular project at home and in school, with supplies easily available on the internet or at many museums and nature centers. The book includes scientific information that is written at a level understandable to young children. It is ideal to use with STEM or STEAM curriculums.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

CELEBRATING BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6 with Mrs. Best, the Children and their Families

Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Best and Me in Room 6, Haynes Elementary, LAUSD
Last Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Best, the children in Room 6, their families and I celebrated the publication of BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6 with a gala party in Mrs. Best's classroom at Haynes Elementary.
Mrs. Best's students in 2017, whose pictures are in the book
The kids were thrilled to receive their books, find the pictures of themselves in it and remember the thrill of raising painted lady butterflies. Afterward, we all enjoyed treats and special butterfly cupcakes. Many, many thanks to Jennifer Best, her students and their families. I couldn't have done the book without them!
Cupcakes with sugar butterflies

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Charlotte Huck Children’s Literature Festival, Redlands, California

The Charlotte S. Huck Children's Literature Festival is held every year at Redlands University, in California
A week ago, on March 8 and 9, I participated in the 23d Annual Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival at the University of Redlands, in Redlands, California. This was my third time to be a speaker at the festival, an annual event that celebrates children’s books and is a wonderful opportunity for teachers and librarians to get together and have a chance to meet authors and other professionals in the field. Featured speakers this year were Joe Cepeda, Sharon Draper, Bethany Hegadus, Richard Michelson, Doreen Rappaport and Joyce Sidman–an impressive array of authors and illustrators. The Festival is chaired by Dr. Marjorie Arnett and a very hard working planning committee makes sure that everything runs smoothly.
Signing books at the Festival
At one of the Festival breakout sessions I gave a workshop called Butterflies and Chicks: Hands on Science in the Classroom. I worked with two classes at Ramona Alessandro School in San Bernardino, California, who had been reading my books. The classes completed writing and art projects in a unit they called “Feathers and Forests, Wings and Wombats, an author study of nature and animal books by Caroline Arnold."
Samples of art and writing projects by Ramona Alessandro students that were displayed at the Festival
Their teachers, Kristy Forsythe and Arlene Asuelime, had done a fantastic job with the children. The visit to the festival was coordinated by parent volunteer Stephanie McNairy. I thank them all for helping to make my session a special experience for all. Two weeks earlier I had had the pleasure of visiting the children in their classroom where I got to see their penguin projects and we talked about the other books in my black and white animal series. Both classes had a chance to act out the story of A Polar Bear's World. They had also read Hatching Chicks in Room 6. I was impressed by their art projects showing a chicken’s life cycle and the stories they wrote to go with them. At my workshop session I shared my new book Butterflies in Room 6.

One of the special parts of the festival for me was meeting Joyce Sidman, who has a new book called The Girl Who Drew Butterflies, How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science. Her book, meant for older readers than my butterfly book, is the fascinating story of a young woman who was the first to understand the process of metamorphosis. Like me, Joyce Sidman raised her own painted lady butterflies while she was working on her book so she could see the process up close.
Joyce Sidman, Author
I always enjoy going to the Charlotte Huck Festival and find it inspiring on so many levels. This was another great year! Thank you, Marjorie, for inviting me!
Dr. Marjorie Arnett, Chair of the Charlotte Huck Children's Literature Festival