Friday, June 26, 2009

Small Successes

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to read to over 80 kids in Folsom's Vacation Zone camp. They were really great listeners. I introduced, with volunteers and a tape measure:

1) The length a snow leopard can jump - 40 feet
2) How many muscles are in an African Elephant trunk - 100,000
3) The length of a humpback whale tail - 15 feet
4) The length of a Mekong Giant Catfish - 10 feet
5) The wingspan of a Comoro Black Flying Fox - 4 feet

It was fun to bring in new measurements, especially since there were a few kids that had heard my presentation before.

The weekend signing at the Discovery Museum went pretty well. It was a beautiful weekend and Father's day, so the turn out was a tad disappointing. Those that did come were so nice and the volunteers and staff at the museum were wonderful!

The museum pulled out some confiscated skins from illegal trading from their collection and put them on display. My heart caught in my throat when I walked into the room. It was very powerful.

It really helped bring home the message of my book. The skins helped me start conversations with people and share facts of those species that were in my book.
I handed out bookmarks and brought in some of the original artwork for the visitors to see. I was also able to do a few readings to kids.
I asked the coordinator if I could come back once a quarter to help them sell my books, it was such a great experience.

The growth of the painting

This week has been all about advancing my last painting in my five painting commission of diseases. You can barely see the outlines of the worm-like, circular and pill shaped viruses. The painting is 4 feet by 2 feet and very intimidating. I want to try to complete it in 2 weeks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Upcoming June events!

This Friday is a reading event for the Folsom Vacation Zone camps. There will be around 80 kids. I am planning to do more with groups, showing how large some of the creatures in my books. I'll ask the counselors to take pictures and then upload them.

I am going to show the size of:
1) Mekong Giant Catfish
2) The heart of the Humpback Whale
3) California Condor wingspan
4) Comoro Black Flying Fox
I'll have to think of a few other interesting ones, to shock the kids with. I love the oooo's and ahhhh's I get as a result of these demonstrations.

If I can figure out how to do an activity showing what happens when the top of the food chain disappears, that would be really cool. I'll have to really think about it. Maybe I could assign kids to be the deer healthy, sick, old, young. Then show some kids as the food. Choose other kids to be other animals that use the plants. And add a timeline. I can add signs to stick on the deer to show they are sick. I can become the story teller. I'd have to have a pretty big group to pull it off. It sounds like it would be fun though!

On Saturday and Sunday are the Discovery Museum events.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Growing Condor

The condor is filling in nicely as school kids participate in adding their feathers. I read to three kindergarten classes in Elk Grove, California last week. Children are such amazing sponges. They are so thirsty to learn.

I have a couple of events coming up in June. My big one is at the Discovery Museum of Sacramento, June 20-21st from Noon until 4 p.m. I'll be doing a book signing each day; possibly a reading and some activities. We shall see.

My publisher just had a great time at the NYCity Book Expo. It will be great if a ton of people order the book for fall curriculums. Submissions for awards will come up this fall through December, so we'll see about that as well. What ever we can do to get my book in front of as many people as possible, will be great.

I still feel strange just talking about my book to parents out of the blue. But, once I get their kids interested and asking questions, it is easy to wonder - "how can you not get this book for your children?"

I dropped my book of at the Santa Barbara Zoo this weekend. They have a lot of empty exhibits, and then they have this spectacular new California Condor exhibit. I got some incredible pictures of the condors. They are still young with their grey heads. I also walked around the zoo spotting all the species they had there that were in my book - Chinese Alligator, Channel Island Fox, Snow Leopard, Golden Lion Tamarin, Snow Leopard. Some of those are very unique species to zoos, it was nice to see them in well thought out habitats. The jury is still out on how I feel about zoos in general...I feel sad for the ones stuck in them, but again I think for education and survival, zoos are our only chance.