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!