Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Projects for Kids: A GARDEN IN YOUR KITCHEN, Fresh Vegetable Seeds

Fresh peas can be dried and planted to grow more pea plants.
Look around your kitchen. Some of the things we eat are seeds. Some of the things we eat have seeds in them. And some, such as pineapples and carrots, will sprout new leaves if placed in water. Now, at a time when many schools are closed, I will post a new simple gardening project each week that kids can do at home. Have fun watching things grow!

Fresh Vegetable Seeds
You can try growing the seeds of some fresh vegetables. The seeds inside fresh beans and peas, cucumbers, and squashes will grow if you dry them out first. These will grow best if planted outside.
Cucumber and pepper seeds are small. Remember to dry them out before planting them.
You can experiment with other seeds and plants around your house. It’s fun to discover how things grow–and you’ll end up with a beautiful garden in your kitchen!

Look for all the kitchen garden projects in these posts:
Dried Beans and Peas 3/25/20
Fresh Vegetable Seeds 4/1/20
Herbs and Spices  4/8/20
Birdseed  4/15/20
Avocados  2/22/20
Citrus Fruits  4/29/20
Carrots  5/6/20
Pineapple  5/13/20

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Projects for Kids: A GARDEN IN YOUR KITCHEN, Dried Beans and Peas

Sprouting a bean seed
Look around your kitchen. Some of the things we eat are seeds. Some of the things we eat have seeds in them. And some, such as pineapples and carrots, will sprout new leaves if placed in water. Now, at a time when many schools are closed, I will post a new simple gardening project each week that kids can do at home. Have fun watching things grow!

Dried Beans and Peas
There are many kinds of dried beans and peas--navy beans, lima beans, kidney beans and more. Usually, these are cooked and used in soups or hot dishes. But you can also plant them and watch them grow. Only dried beans will grow. Any bean that has been cooked will not grow.
You will need a glass jar or clear plastic cup. Line it with a piece of damp paper towel. Put beans between the towel and the glass. Fill the inside with potting soil.* Keep the dirt and towel moist and warm. In a few days you will see your beans begin to grow. The root will grow down, and the sprout will grow up. Soon leaves will develop from the sprouts. The roots grow longer each day. Measure them each day to see how fast they grow.
*You can omit the soil and still watch your bean sprout as long as you keep the towel moist.
If you plant your sprouted bean seed (paper towel included) in a pot of soil, it will grow into a leafy plant. After the bean sprout has used up the food in the seed, it uses nutrients in the soil to continue growing.
You can experiment with other seeds and plants around your house. It’s fun to discover how things grow–and you’ll end up with a beautiful garden in your kitchen!

Look for all the kitchen garden projects in these upcoming posts:
Fresh Vegetable Seeds 4/1/20
Herbs and Spices 4/8/20
Birdseed 4/15/20
Avocados 4/22/20
Citrus Fruits  4/29/20
Carrots  5/6/20
Pineapple  5/15/20

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


My friend Judith Stiehm, a professor at Florida International University in Miami, has written a memoir,  A Pilgrimage through the Churches of a Small American Town, an account of her stay in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for a year and a half in the late 1990s when she was doing academic research at the Army War College. During that time she went to services at all 30 churches in Carlisle. After each service Judith wrote a short essay about her experience. Those essays are this book.

My connection with the book is that I helped Judith publish the book on Amazon. (I have published one of my own books on Amazon and know how to use the program.) After many months working on the book on weekends when Judith was at home in Los Angeles, we finally got it uploaded and officially published. It is now available both as a paperback and as an e-book on Amazon. As I worked on the book and read the chapters, I was reminded of my numerous visits to Carlisle to visit my husband’s parents who lived in a retirement community just outside the town and going to church with them at Second Presbyterian (Chapter 24 in Judith’s book.)

This project made me appreciate all the work my publishers do to publish my books. For Judith’s book I was copy editor, designer, type setter, proof reader and tech expert. Along the way, I got a fascinating snapshot of life in the Carlisle community as seen through Judith’s eyes.

As Judith says in her introduction, the book is probably best read just a few chapters at a time. I think you will find it interesting.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

THANK YOU CARDS from Nevada Avenue School

Cards from 2nd Grade students at Nevada Avenue School
I love receiving cards and letters from students after I do an author visit at their school. These wonderful thank you cards came from the second graders in Room 5 at Nevada Avenue Elementary School in Canoga Park, California, after my recent visit. I love that each student chose something different to illustrate. Projects such as these help to reinforce the value of an author visit.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

TIME ZONES OF THE WORLD: Paper Plate Project from The Geography Book

Did you turn your clocks forward one hour last Sunday?
As we change our clocks to Daylight Savings Time, it is a good time to look at the time zones of the world. You can also make your own "World Clock" to see what time it is in other parts of the world in relation to the time where you live.
How to Make a World Clock
You will need:
  • scissors
  • 2 paper plates
  • ruler
  • pen
  • brad
1. Cut the rim off one paper plate to make a flat circle.
2. Use the ruler and pen to divide the circle into 24 equal pie-shaped sections. Start by dividing the circle into quarters and divide these in half to make eighths. Then divide each of these into three smaller sections.
3. Write “London, Greenwich Mean Time” in one of the sections. Then, continuing clockwise find a city in each succeeding time zone and write the name in the following sections.
4. Place the circle with the city names on top of the other paper plate. Fasten them in the center with the brad.
5. On the rim of the plate, above the section that says “London,” write “12:00 Midnight.” Continue in a clockwise fashion writing 1:00 am, 2:00 am, 3:00 am, and so on, above each pie section, until you come back to “12:00 midnight.”
6. Look at the time on the rim above the time zone where you live. That is what the time is when it is 12:00 midnight in London. When you rotate the circle so that the time on the rim is your current time, the other pie sections will tell you what time it is in other cities in the world.

It takes 24 hours, or one day, for Earth to make one complete turn, or revolution, in space. As each hour passes, Earth rotates approximately 15 degrees of longitude. At the 1884 International Meridian Conference, it was agreed to divide the world into 24 time zones of 15 degrees each, measured from the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, England. All other times around the world are based on the time set in Greenwich, called Greenwich Mean Time (or GMT.) The halfway point around the Earth, centered on the 180th meridian, is called the International Date Line. This is the point at which one day ends and a new day begins. The lines separating the time zones do not always follow the meridians exactly. Some of the divisions have been shifted to keep countries or communities in the same time zone. In some parts of the world, such as India and central Australia, the zones vary on the half hour so that noon occurs when the Sun is at the highest point in the sky.

You can find this project and many other fun activities for exploring, mapping and enjoying your world in THE GEOGRAPHY BOOK by Caroline Arnold.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020


On Monday I spent a full and exciting day at Nevada Avenue School in Canoga Park, California, helping to launch a week celebrating reading. As I arrived, I found my parking place, marked by a beautiful sign made by my host, librarian extraordinaire, Najma Hussain, who did a terrific job preparing the students and organizing my day.
Welcome poster in the school hallway
At the start of the school day the students assembled on the playground and recited the pledge to reading in honor of Read Across America week. Then I was introduced and said a few words. After that my day began with three assemblies in the auditorium.
The room was decorated with wonderful artwork made by the students. Each class had focused on a theme inspired by one of my books. Most had chosen to learn about one of the habitats from my Day and Night series.
There were pictures of rain forest toucans and jaguars, bison on the prairie, forest animals peeking through the trees, lions in Africa, polar bears in the arctic and much more.
Butterflies made by ETK students
Several of the younger TK classes learned about butterflies, and one class, Room 10, had real caterpillars and butterflies in their classroom. During a break I made a special visit to see them. (The students told me that they wanted me to rename my book "Butterflies in Room 10"!)
With ETK teacher, Room 10
After the assemblies I spent the rest of the day visiting classrooms, where the students had the chance to ask questions and get a close-up look at my butterfly materials and my fossil mammoth tooth.
Najma Hussain, librarian at Nevada Avenue School
I thank Najma Hussain for making this a special day for me–for organizing the schedule, for providing a big selection of my books in the library, for arranging time for me to chat with teachers and Principal Tanya Nott, and for delicious snacks and lunch to keep me going through the day. My visit was made possible by funds raised from the school book fair, organized by Najma. Nevada Avenue School is lucky to have such a devoted and enthusiastic librarian!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

REBUILDING NATURAL HABITAT: A Visit to Esperanza School, Los Angeles

The garden at Esperanza School is part of the Schoolyard Habitat Program (supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Last week I returned to Esperanza School in Los Angeles (which I visit every year) to talk with the fourth graders in Mrs. Elizabeth Williams’ natural science class. They meet twice a week, both in the library, where I made my presentation, and in the school’s natural habitat garden. The students love to learn about animals and have been reading my books.
With teacher Elizabeth Williams in the school library
As I arrived at the school I was greeted by Principal Brad Rumble, who shared with me some of the many activities going on at the school. He is an enthusiastic bird watcher and passes on his love of birds to the students. In the hallway outside the main office is a bulletin board where students are recording their observations about red-tailed hawks, large birds that they often see soaring over the school playground.
Esperanza Elementary School is located at the edge of downtown Los Angeles
Several years ago Brad Rumble initiated the conversion of part of the school’s asphalt playground to a natural habitat garden area for plants native to southern California. I have visited the garden every year and seen the progress from scattered plants surrounded by dirt to a garden bursting with growth. As students visit the garden throughout the year they are learning to identify plants, insects and other wildlife, and observe the differences in growth during each season.
This was my first visit to the garden in spring. Bright blue lupins were blooming everywhere and hundreds of bees were buzzing around the blossoms collecting nectar and pollen. A few orange California poppies brightened one corner and numerous other spring flowers were also in bloom.
Thermometer and Rain Gauge
In one corner, a thermometer showed the temperature to be in the seventies, a warm day for February. Next to it, the rain gauge was empty. Although February is typically the rainiest month of the year, this year there has been almost no rain. A drip system and hose can be used to water the plants during dry periods.
I always enjoy my visits to Esperanza and seeing the evolution of the garden. This year I was delighted to see new garden areas that have been planted in the main courtyard of the school, with trees for shade and other native plants. With each new bit of natural space, the school is becoming a true oasis for wildlife in the heart of the city.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


I am pleased to have my article, LOST AND FOUND: WHERE ARE THE HULA PAINTED FROGS? published in the February 2020 issue of Touchdown Magazine, one of the publications of The School Magazine in Australia. It is the story of a rare species of frog found in Israel, once thought to be extinct. It was rediscovered in 2011.
I first learned about the Hula painted frog when I was doing research for my book LIVING FOSSILS: Clues to the Past. It turns out that the Hula painted frog's closest relative is an ancient frog known only from its fossil remains, and is thus a living fossil. I was intrigued by the story of its discovery and the connection to its ancient relatives.
I thank the editors of The School Magazine for publishing my story, and illustrator, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, for her artwork that brings this tiny amphibian and its environment to life.

Sunday, February 16, 2020


I have recently updated my Etsy site. My prints and cards are still available ( and make an ideal gift or decoration for your home or classroom. Each image is a high-quality giclee print of one of the cut-paper art illustrations from my Day and Night books or my Animal World series.
Take a look and check it out!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


Ten years ago I launched this blog, Caroline Arnold Art and Books, with the plan of putting up a new post once a week. (Almost always the posts go up on a Wednesday--some weeks there are two.) Originally the blog was meant to feature my cut-paper art illustrations that I was doing for my animal books. But I quickly expanded the blog to include all my books and my activities as an author and illustrator.
For me, this blog is a way to keep track of my book and art related activities, including school and library visits, publishing, reviews, activities for children and teachers, announcements of prizes and awards and more.  Since January 2010 I have posted more than 500 items that have been viewed by more than 200,000 visitors!
Thank you to all of you who have been following this blog either on Google or by email. I appreciate your support.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


Star View Elementary School, Huntington Beach, CA
Yesterday, on a bright windy day, I visited a second school in Huntington Beach, California, as part of the annual Huntington Beach Author Festival, this time at Star View School. (They weren’t able to have me to come last week on the official day, so we scheduled it a week later.) I spoke to three groups of very enthusiastic students grades TK to Five, doing my usual program for each age group. As always, the kids enjoyed having their wingspans measured to find out what kind of bird they would be. And, as always, the third graders tended to be red-tailed hawks; it took two kids to be as wide as the wingspan of a bald eagle! All the kids were intrigued by my huge fossil mammoth tooth, which I show in connection with my book Trapped in Tar.
After lunch, I signed the books that had been ordered. I know the kids were eager to get their books after school. For those who didn’t buy books, they can always go to the library to read my books.
I thank teacher Sandy Wahrenbrock for coordinating my visit, organizing the book orders, and providing me with a delicious lunch. I also thank Andrea Van Holt in the office for taking care of the official details of my visit. I enjoyed my visit to Star View!
It's Authors Day at Star View!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


At the Huntington Beach Library
Yesterday was the 32nd 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.
Welcome signs made by the Student Council greeted me all over the school.
This year I visited Golden View Elementary School and was hosted by PTO parent LeJarie Noguchi, who did a wonderful job organizing my day and promoting my books to the children. I spoke to three groups of children, pre-K through fifth grade, in their meeting room called Toad Hall. All of my audiences were terrific–very enthusiastic and asking good questions. The PTO put on a delicious lunch, which was a time for me to meet and talk with the teachers.
The garden is a learning area.
A highlight of my visit to Golden View was a tour of The Farm, a two and a half acre outdoor education area with garden plots, animals, a pond and large grassy areas, and sheds for tools and other equipment.
Sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and geese are among the animals that live at The Farm
During my tour, led by Principal Lori Florgan, I saw an enthusiastic group of upper grade students busily taking care of the animals and working in the garden. What a wonderful way for students to do “hands-on” science–and be able to eat the vegetables they produce.
The lettuce is ready to harvest!
After lunch at Golden View 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.
Signing books at my table at the afternoon reception at the Huntington Beach Library
This event would not go on except for the hard work and dedication of the Friends of the Children’s Library. For many years Gail Page has led the committee and I thank her for her dedication over all the years of the Festival. This year, under her guidance, the torch has passed to Larry Hersh, who did a terrific job of coordinating the many facets of the Festival. I always enjoy going to Huntington Beach and having the chance to see old friends and share my books with new readers.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Review of BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6 in Grinnell Magazine

I am pleased to have the following review of Butterflies in Room 6 in the Winter 2020 issue of Grinnell Magazine.
For children ages 4–8, Butterflies in Room 6 (Charlesbridge, 2019) by Caroline Scheaffer Arnold ’66 follows a kindergarten class as they raise butterflies — from a tiny egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, and finally to the emergence of the adult butterfly. The children’s enthusiasm was contagious as they learned about butterflies and had the thrill of releasing them outdoors and watching them fly into the neighborhood.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Herma Sue Silverstein, 1945--2019
I first met Herma in the spring of 1978 when we both took a class taught by noted children’s book author Eve Bunting in the UCLA Writer’s Program. Soon after Herma and I became writing partners and co-authored two books together. After that Herma went on to write many of her own books and I continued to write as well. In 1997 Herma graciously hosted a party for me at her house in Santa Monica celebrating my 100th book.
Herma and I always got together to celebrate our birthdays and were often joined by our friend and teacher Eve Bunting. Many of our gifts to one another had writing themes, or in Herma's case, a connection with her beloved pet dogs. One year Herma gave me what I thought was a rather unusual birthday gift–a small artificial pine tree to decorate the living room of my new house. During most of the year the tree sits in a corner, but at Christmastime I bring it out and decorate it with lights and ornaments. It will always remind me of all the good times I had with Herma.
A few years ago Herma moved from Santa Monica to Palm Desert and we met less often, but we still kept in touch. Every year I send a Christmas card to Herma. This year the card came back so I looked her up on the internet and discovered on her Facebook page that she had passed away on May 23, 2019. The announcement was made by her brother, who wrote that her illness was unexpected. He wrote that she went into hospital in early March and was in hospice care by mid-May. Herma was always so full of life. I loved her Texas accent and infectious laugh. I will miss her.
When I looked up Herma on the internet, the first thing that came up was her books, listed on Amazon. She will live on through her writing and in the memories of her family and many friends.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Science Magazine Review of Butterflies in Room 6

I was pleased to get this excellent review of Butterflies in Room 6 in the December 6, 2019 issue of Science Magazine in their article, Wishlist-worthy Books for Young Readers, a list of the finalists for the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books.

Metamorphosis—of ugly ducklings into swans, of jellylike spawn into frogs, of caterpillars into butterflies—always seems miraculous. In this book on insect metamorphosis, Caroline Arnold tells the story of Mrs. Best, a kindergarten teacher who brings a tiny vial of butterfly eggs into her classroom. Her students supply a vivarium with special caterpillar food so they can watch the metamorphosis of the eggs into caterpillars, then pupae, and finally glorious adult painted ladies. The book takes the reader through the course of the children's project, with a series of fine photographs showing the details of each stage in the life cycle of the butterflies. The exciting anticipation of each transformation is summarized in carefully considered text and culminates, of course, with the day the exquisite adults emerge from the pupal case, unfurl, and stiffen their patterned wings. Beautiful close-up images let the readers examine details of the insects' anatomy and learn about butterfly biology.

Finally, a warm day arrives, and it is time to release the butterflies. The dazed insects first walk onto the children's hands before lifting off to disappear over the horizon. Fortunately, some hang around to appreciate the school garden's flowers.

It would have been good for Butterflies in Room 6 to say a little more about why insects are having such a tough time now, as well as more about their role in pollination and human food security. Still, it is an excellent book, sure to generate discussion and flights of imagination among humans who are similarly poised for big changes.
By Caroline Ash