Monday, October 28, 2019

AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

I have just learned that Butterflies in Room 6 has made it to the longlist for the 2020 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books in the Children’s Science Picture Book category! The book is one of eight books that were selected. Out of this list, the judges will chose four finalists. 
The Prize celebrates outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults and is meant to encourage the writing and publishing of high-quality science books for all ages. I am so pleased and honored to have my book on this list.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

DIVE INTO BOOKS: Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival 2019

The theme this year at the Humboldt County Children's Author Festival, Eureka, CA, was Dive Into Books
I am just home from the bi-annual Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival in Eureka, California, and it was as fabulous as ever. This was my seventh time to participate, and each time it gets better and better. The theme this year was Dive into Books. A giant octopus welcomed people to the library on the day of the book signing.

With my cut-paper illustrations  at the Morris Graves Museum of Art
The four day festival (October 16-19)  included author visits to schools, a gala banquet, book signing at the library, and an exhibition of children’s book art at the Morris Graves Museum of Art. I had two pieces of original art from my book A Day and Night in the Rain Forest in the exhibit.

The Morris Graves Museum of Art is located in the beautifully restored Carnegie Library building
On the opening day of the festival there is always a welcome reception for the authors and volunteers at the museum--a chance to see the art exhibit, to meet the wonderful volunteers who organize the festival and to mingle with the other authors. This year there were 25 of us!
Display of my books at Jacoby Creek School
Thursday and Friday are devoted to author visits in the schools and I had two wonderful school visits. The first was to Jacoby Creek School (grades K-8.) Librarian Marci Barker had done a great job preparing the students. I spoke to two groups of students in the morning, then had a delicious lunch from the restaurant across the street from the school, and then two presentations after lunch.
Joan Williams, Festival volunteer; Marci Barker, Librarian at Jacoby Creek School; Evelyn Bertell, my driver to the schools.
My driver for both days was Evelyn Bertell, an enthusiastic supporter of the Author Festival and whose children attend Jacoby Creek. On Friday afternoon, after we finished, she took me for a lovely walk at the bird sanctuary in Arcata.
Student performers and Alexis O'Neill, whose book The Recess Queen was one of the stories performed.
Thursday evening at the festival is always a potluck dinner (yummy food provided by the many festival volunteers) followed by a Readers Theater performance by students from the arts high school in Arcata, who did a brilliant presentation, weaving together stories by three of the Festival Authors and a book by Festival Committee member Byrd Lochtie, based on a story her mother told her when she was a child.
With Vicki Childress, teacher at Arcata Christian School
On Friday morning I went to Arcata Christian School where I did three presentations, one to the kindergarteners in their room, one to grades 1-4, and another to grades 5-8. Teacher Vicki Childress coordinated my visit and did a great job, including making a most impressive cake decorated with a large painted lady butterfly. The children in all the classes did artwork and writing projects that filled the walls in the room where I was presenting.
The Ingomar Club where the banquet was held
On Friday evening everyone gathered at the Ingomar Club (the historic Carson mansion) for a gala dinner. Entertainment was from the authors–each of us got three minutes at the podium--a challenge to decide what to say, but everyone always manages to be entertaining and different. Our timekeeper was Shirley Santino--dressed in keeping with the undersea theme.
Shirley Santino with her undersea props
The final event of the Authors Festival is a book signing on Saturday at the beautiful county library. Many thanks to Eureka Books for ordering and supplying all the books! We all wear our festival t-shirts as we chat with visitors and autograph books.
With author Mary Nethery at the book signing at the library
I do many author events but nothing is quite like the Humboldt County Children's Author festival. I can’t give enough thanks to all the people who put so many hours into planning and coordinating all the different moving parts. (The Festival website has a complete list of these amazing people and much more.) You all do a fantastic job! Thank you for making me a part of this unique and wonderful festival!
Theme poster for the festival.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

GLENDALE ASSISTANCE LEAGUE, Author Visit to Monte Vista Elementary, Glendale, CA

Signing books at Monte Vista Elementary School, Glendale, CA
On Monday, a week ago, I was one of five authors visiting classrooms at Monte Vista Elementary School in Glendale, California. The day was sponsored and organized by the wonderful hard working volunteers of the Glendale Assistance League, a service organization that arranges four such events in the Glendale schools every year. My fellow authors at Monte Vista were Carter Higgins, Tim Egan, Vincent X. Kirsch, and Julie Berry, each of us assigned to a different grades. It is so nice for the authors to have the support of all the volunteers--from guiding us to the classrooms, doing introductions, providing us with a delicious lunch and organizing the book sale after school.
I spoke to students in first and second grade, going to four classrooms during the day. I was pleased that the children in the classrooms I visited were so responsive. They were excited to hear about my new book Butterflies in Room 6 and were amazed to see how tiny the butterfly eggs are. I also read part of my book Wiggle and Waggle and we all sang the Wiggle and Waggle song together. I also shared my book A Day and Night in the Rain Forest and demonstrated how I create my cut paper art illustrations. At the end of the day I joined all of the authors in the auditorium for the book sale and signing.
Monte Vista has received the Gold Ribbon School award
I thank all the members of the Glendale Assistance League that make this program possible for the children of Glendale. I especially thank Karen Saunders for inviting me to be part of the visit to Monte Vista and Linelle Vincenti for organizing the schedule of the day, and Maureen Palacios of Once Upon a Time bookstore for providing the books for the book sale.
Monte Vista Elementary School
I do many author days, but usually speak to large groups of children. It was a treat to be in the classroom with smaller groups and have the opportunity for a more personal interaction with the children. Not only does the Assistance League provide the children of Glendale with the opportunity to meet authors and illustrators, but it also gives funds to the schools to purchase books for the library and classrooms. Thank you Glendale Assistance League for a wonderful Authors and Illustrators Day and for your support of books and reading in the Glendale community. I know it takes a lot of preparation! The schools of Glendale are very lucky to have you!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

SCBWI BOOKSTOP Promotion Now Live!

I have created a page for my book Butterflies in Room 6 on the SCBWI BookStop site. BookStop features new titles in 2019 by SCBWI members.
BookStop will go live to the book-buying public on Tuesday, October 8 through Cyber Monday on November 25. The goal is to give new books by SCBWI members the exposure they deserve during peak holiday buying season.
Check it out and leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Los Angeles Times Guide to READING BY 9

Each time a child picks up a book, he or she enters a world of learning. It doesn’t matter if the main character is a boy wizard, a famished caterpillar or a fancy young girl who dreams of Paris. The key to building a strong foundation in literacy is allowing children to pick up the books they love. When children read, they discover new places and new ideas and develop literacy skills they will continue to use as they make their way through high school and beyond. 

Check out the 2019 Los Angeles Times Guide to Reading by 9, a bilingual guide for parents to developing reading habits and skills with their children. It it includes a short list of recommended books, links to articles about reading, and more. And, you'll find connections to Los Angeles libraries--the best source to find all the books you want to read!