Wednesday, May 29, 2019

MAKING MOCHI, Article in BLAST OFF (The School Magazine, Australia)

I was pleased to have my article Making Mochi published in the March issue of BLAST OFF, one of the school magazines published by the New South Wales Department of Education in Australia. Mochi is a small sweet cake made from rice and is a traditional Japanese food. I learned to like mochi on my first visit to Japan. Now one can find it in many places around the world. I sometimes buy it frozen and eat it like ice cream. As I say at the end of the article: "There are many ways to enjoy mochi all year long. Whichever way your choose, the mochi always tastes delicious!"

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!