Saturday, February 16, 2019

NGSS Standards and GLOBAL WARMING AND THE DINOSAURS

The Next Generation Science Standards provide guidelines for science education from K-12. Based on a report produced by the National Research Council they call for a new approach to teaching science.
Books like mine can be used in support of achieving these standards, especially in Life Science (LS) and Earth and Space Science (ESS).

Global Warming and the Dinosaurs by Caroline Arnold (Clarion, 2009)
NGSS Standards for grades 3, 4 and 5:
3-LS4-2. Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
4-ESS1-1. Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.
4-ESS2-2. Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Watching Wildlife Up Close at the Huntington Botanical Garden

Cut-paper art illustration from A Day and Night in the Desert
In my book, A Day and Night in the Desert, I illustrated a scene with a barrel cactus, a desert dwelling squirrel and a red-tailed hawk flying overhead. A sidebar reads: Antelope ground squirrels often climb barrel cacti to eat the fruit. No one knows how they keep from getting stuck on the cacti’s sharp spines.
Squirrel plucking ripe fruit from a barrel cactus
On my recent visit to the Huntington Botanical Garden in San Marino, California, I had the chance to observe this unusual behavior in real life. The cactus and succulent section of the garden has a large display of barrel cacti, and they were plump from recent rains and covered with ripe fruit. I watched a squirrel nimbly hopping up the cacti to harvest the fruit. The squirrel (a common grey squirrel) seemed to be able to balance on the spines and had no trouble reaching the fruit.
On the same page spread the main text of the book reads: A red-tailed hawk circles the sky. It is looking for something to eat. The squirrel sees the hawk and dashes to safety inside its burrow.
Rather amazingly, I got to witness this part of my story too. As my friend and I walked through the garden we had seen several red-tailed hawks soaring in the sky and perching in the trees overhead. Suddenly, one swooped down beside us and just ahead attacked an unsuspecting squirrel. We could hear the thud of the impact and the squirrel squealing. Luckily, it managed to escape.
When I research the information for my books I use all available sources including other books, the internet and talking with experts. But when I can see my subject with my own eyes it becomes part of my experience. In my books I hope to convey the same wonder of discovery.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

GIANT SHARK: Megalodon Jaws at the Colchagua Museum, Santa Cruz, Chile

On my recent trip to Chile, I went with my family on an excursion to the Colchagua Museum in Santa Cruz, about a two hour drive from Santiago. The museum begins with the history of the world with fossils from the Earth's past. The fossils include the giant jaws of Megalodon, the huge, now extinct shark that roamed the seas until the beginning of the last Ice Age. It was like meeting an old friend. I had learned about Megalodon when I wrote my book, Giant Shark, published by Clarion Books, and have seen models of its jaws in various museums. It is always impressive!
 Giant Shark: Megalodon, Prehistoric Super Predator with striking illustrations by Laurie Caple is now available as an Kindle e-book on Amazon. It is published by StarWalk Kids Media .  Originally published by Clarion Books (2000), the hard cover edition is now out of print.  This has always been one of my most popular books so I am thrilled to see it available again.

For millions of years, a massive shark more than twice as huge as the modern-day great white shark cruised the depths of the ocean, attacking and devouring prey. Fossil remains reveal megalodon to have been more than fifty feet long, with razor-sharp teeth, each the size of a human hand, and jaws so large it could swallow prey larger than a common dolphin. Fluid, detailed watercolors accompany this clear and accessible account of one of the most incredible creatures to inhabit our world.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY! Illustration from my book A DAY AND NIGHT IN THE FOREST

It is February 2nd, the day that groundhogs (also known as woodchucks) are reputed to come out of their holes to check the weather. Here's a groundhog (pictured on a spring day) from my book A DAY AND NIGHT IN THE FOREST wishing you a HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY, where ever you are!

According to Wikipedia: Groundhog Day derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog (Marmota monax, also called "woodchuck"; Deitsch: Grundsau, Grunddax, Dax) emerging from its burrow on this day sees a shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early. While the tradition remains popular in modern times, studies have found no consistent correlation between a groundhog seeing its shadow or not and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

AUTHOR FESTIVAL, Huntington Beach, CA: Visit to Eader Elementary

Book signing at the Huntington Beach Author Festival, Huntington Beach, CA
Yesterday was the 31st annual Huntington Beach Author’s Festival in Huntington Beach, California, organized by the Friends of the Children’s Library (FOTCL) Author’s Festival Committee. Along with more than twenty other children’s book authors, I spent a day at a local school, followed by a reception at the Huntington Beach Library. I have been participating in this celebration of books and reading almost every year since it’s beginning.
With librarian Julie Prager at Eader Elementary School
This year I visited Eader Elementary School and was hosted by library media technician Julie Prager, who did a wonderful job organizing my day and promoting my books to the children. I spoke to four groups of children, pre-K through fifth grade, in the library. I appreciated Julie’s flexibility when my projector developed a technical problem. Luckily we were able to quickly switch to her computer and the library projector and make some adjustments to the seating arrangement and all went smoothly. All of my audiences were terrific–very enthusiastic and asking good questions. The school had not had an author visit for several years and it was great to see what an impact my visit had on students and teachers. I thank Julie and the support of the school principal for helping to make it happen.
Huntington Beach Library
After lunch at Eader and signing books purchased by students, I went to the library for the afternoon reception. Volunteers on the festival committee, dressed in red shirts, made sure everyone knew where to go and had everything they needed. 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 except for the hard work and dedication of Gail Page who has led the festival for many years. Thank you Gail! I always enjoy the chance to share my books with new readers and to see old friends.
Sign in the Eader School Library

Saturday, January 26, 2019

NGSS Standards and A DAY AND NIGHT IN THE RAIN FOREST

The Next Generation Science Standards provide guidelines for science education from K-12. Based on a report produced by the National Research Council they call for a new approach to teaching science. Books like mine can be used in support of achieving these standards, especially in Life Science (LS) and Earth and Space Science (ESS).

A Day and Night in the Rain Forest by Caroline Arnold (PictureWindow Books, 2015)
A Day and Night in the Desert by Caroline Arnold (PictureWindow Books, 2015)
A Day and Night in the Forest by Caroline Arnold (PictureWindow Books, 2015)
A Day and Night on the Prairie by Caroline Arnold (PictureWindow Books, 2015)
NGSS Standards for grades 2, 3 and 4:
2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
3-LS2-1. Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.
3–LS2-3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

HOW TO MAKE A BOOK: Demonstration by the International Printing Museum at the LAPL Mobile Museum Fair

At the recent LAPL Mobile Museum Fair held on January 13, more than twenty Los Angeles area small museums (and a few large ones with mobile exhibits) visited the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles. 
One of my favorite exhibits was the International Printing Museum, where visitors were invited to make a book by folding handed out sheets first "like a taco" and then in half and half again to create a tiny Franklin's Gazette. The catch is how to cut the pages after they have been folded and then sew the binding. The man giving the talk showed how it can be done with an ordinary paper cutter and a device (something like a long stapler) when making a homemade book. Of course, when manufacturing large numbers of books, this is done in big machines.
I sometimes do a similar hands-on project with kids (using plain paper) in my author talks. After the paper has been folded and numbered, the kids can take their tiny book home and write their own story.
Among the quotes inside the tiny Franklin book is this: If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.
Good advice for everybody, writer or not!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

NGSS Standards and TOO HOT? TOO COLD? KEEPING BODY TEMPERATURE JUST RIGHT

The Next Generation Science Standards provide guidelines for science education from K-12. Based on a report produced by the National Research Council they call for a new approach to teaching science.
Books like mine can be used in support of achieving these standards, especially in Life Science (LS) and Earth and Space Science (ESS).

Too Hot? Too Cold? Keeping Body Temperature Just Right By Caroline Arnold (Charlesbridge, 2013)
NGSS Standards for grades 3 and 4:
3-LS4-2. Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

KIRKUS REVIEW of Butterflies in Room 6

I am pleased to have another good review of my new book, Butterflies in Room 6, this time in Kirkus Reviews.

BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6:  See How They Grow
Author: Caroline Arnold
Photographer: Caroline Arnold

Review Issue Date: February 1, 2019
Online Publish Date: January 15, 2019
Publisher:Charlesbridge
Pages: 40
Price ( Hardcover ): $16.99
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-58089-894-2
Category: Informational

Arnold revisits Mrs. Best's elementary classroom (Hatching Chicks in Room 6, 2017) for this look at the life cycle of the painted lady butterfly. Arnold uses the class's study of butterflies to present readers with solid facts about these insects in both the main text and leaf-shaped fact boxes. Mrs. Best's butterfly eggs come in a tube (she must have purchased them, though this is not addressed). The entire life cycle is both pictured and described in the next spread. The close-ups of the eggs in their different stages of hatching are sure to fascinate. On release day, each child gets to hold a butterfly that has crawled onto their hand. Though this book focuses on butterflies in a classroom, families could easily use this information to safely raise butterflies at home (several tips are given about keeping the insects alive and free from injury). The back matter includes a page of answered questions about butterflies, a glossary, and a list of both online and text resources for finding further information. Arnold's photos are a highlight, combining candid shots of the diverse students and their white teacher with pics of the insects, both in captivity and in nature. Labeled close-ups bring readers into the classroom and teach butterfly anatomy. A solid look at the butterfly life cycle that will have students asking their own teachers to host caterpillars in their classrooms. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Booklist Advance Review of BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6

I am delighted with this very positive review of my new book, Butterflies in Room 6, published by Booklist, the journal of the American Library Association. The official publication date of the book is March 12, 2019. Look for it in your bookstore!

Butterflies in Room 6
By Caroline Arnold. Illus. by the author
Mar. 2019. 40p. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (9781580898942). PreS–Gr. 3. 638

In this attractive science book, writer and photographer Arnold presents the life cycle of a butterfly as observed in a Los Angeles kindergarten classroom. The teacher brings tiny painted lady butterfly eggs to school and places them in a box with food. As the eggs hatch, the caterpillars crawl, eat, and climb to the top of their containers, where they enter the pupal stage within chrysalises. Transferred to a large netwalled enclosure, they begin to emerge eight days later as butterflies. Outdoors, each one crawls onto a child’s finger, rests, and then flies away. Arnold comments on each step of caring for the animals, as well as each stage of their life cycle. Along the way, she provides just enough information and detail for young children who want to know more. It’s enlightening to observe the butterflies' stages of life in the clear, color photos, but it’s also a pleasure to see the children’s reactions: curiosity, caution, rapt attention, surprise, excitement, and joy. An appended page answers pertinent questions. An amiable, eye-opening introduction to metamorphosis.
— Carolyn Phelan

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

THE PUZZLE OF BOOKS: How Writing a Book is Like Solving a Crossword Puzzle

    I am fond of doing crosswords.  Nothing is quite like the burst of satisfaction I get after filling in that last square to make the puzzle complete.  I particularly like the Sunday crosswords, which not only have a theme, but usually employ some sort of word play to “get” the theme related answers.  Writing a book is not unlike doing a crossword puzzle.  There is a topic or theme that threads its way through the manuscript, there is the network of clues used to create the skeleton, or support, for the theme, and often there is a twist, which creates the “aha” moment of discovering something new.
    Crossword puzzle creators are people who constantly play with words, assembling them into lists of potential theme clues, e.g. common phrases whose meaning changes with the addition or subtraction of a letter; famous names that can be turned into puns; switched word orders, and so on. When one of these lists gets long enough, they start making a puzzle. 
    In the same way, I collect piles of  information as I research a book.  Some of that information never gets used.  It may be off topic, for another age group, or it just may not fit.  Some of it may get saved for another book.  But when I think I have enough for my project, I take what I have and sort it into its various topics or chapters.  My next step is always an outline.  I plan my book page spread by page spread.  This provides me with the overall structure of my book, but nothing is ever set in stone.  As I work, the details of the plan may change, and I may rearrange parts if it makes sense to do so.   
    One thing I like about crossword puzzles is the symmetry of the grids.  The puzzle has to have a balanced overall pattern made by the black and white squares. Typically, one half of the puzzle is a mirror image of the other.  One of the challenges in creating theme answers must be finding pairs that have an equal number of letters so that they can be placed opposite one another on the grid. In the same way, the structure of a book has to be balanced.  It doesn’t have to be exactly symmetrical, but it needs to feel as if each part has relatively equal weight.  And just as there are many grids for the puzzle creator to choose from depending on the requirements of the theme answers, the structure of a book can take many forms as well.
    In solving crossword puzzles, everyone has their own technique.  I start in the upper left and work my way to the lower right.  One of my friends answers all the theme clues first and then fills in the other squares.  I would like to do this, but  generally I need a few hints, so I  wait until I’ve filled in enough squares with the regular clues to figure out the key to the week’s theme.  The puzzle title sometimes helps, usually involving another level of word play. 
    When I write my books, I work like my friend, and start with the main themes and gradually add the smaller details.  Just like solving a puzzle, the completion of the manuscript goes bit by bit, with periods when I surge forward, and other periods when I sit stumped, until I suddenly I see how a missing piece pulls everything together.
    I am sometimes asked when I do author visits at schools, “What is your favorite part of the writing process?”  My answer is always the same.  My favorite part of the writing process is when I am finished. Just as I breathe that sigh of satisfaction as I fill in the last square of a crossword puzzle, I have that same sense of accomplishment when the last word is written in the manuscript.  Then I know that everything is in its proper place and, hopefully, will cause my readers to say “Aha! I’ve learned something new.”

This article was originally published in the Summer 2008 issue of the SCBWI/LA Kite Tales magazine.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

SCIENTIFIC ILLUSTRATION IN THE 19TH CENTURY: The Animal Kingdom Illustrated by S.G. Goodrich

I love this drawing by S.G. Goodrich for the preface of his book, The Animal Kingdom Illustrated, published in 1867. The elephant doesn't look too thrilled about having his portrait painted! But perhaps S.G. Goodrich identified more with the owl as he worked to accurately portray the animal subjects of the book.
The rest of the 1400 drawings in the book are serious scientific illustrations, providing an exhaustive look at what was known about the animal world at that time. I came across the drawings in a box of old books when I cleaned out my attic. In the days before photographs, drawings like these were the only way that people learned about exotic animals except for those that they saw in zoos.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Every New Year’s Eve in Taiwan, Taipei 101, the tallest building in the country (and until recently the tallest in the world) is the center of an impressive fireworks display. When we were in Taipei in October, we went to the top for the view. As a souvenir we had our photo taken with a picture of the tower and the New Year's fireworks in the background.
Now it is the beginning of a new year. Wherever you celebrate I wish you a very

                              HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!