Celebrating Galápagos Girl – Blog Tour

The Lee & Low team and I, plus six welcoming bloggers have been busy celebrating Galápagos Girl, which will be in bookstores everywhere September 18th, 2018!  Thanks to all. Here are links to a few more of the blogs I’ve visited.

Thanks to Dylan Teut who interviews illustrator Angela Dominguez and myself at Reading with Mr. Teut. Angela shares about her illustration process.

Thank you to Rosemary at Mom Read It! where I share some of the stories and “Words I Left Behind.” Photos of Valentina Cruz’s family are included. Valentina inspired the book, along with the wondrous animals of the islands.

I love Henry Herz’ comments sprinkled into my interview with him at his site. He asked questions about writing, my favorite quotes, superpowers I wish I had, and what authors  I’d invite to dinner. Always fun!

Two more blogs to go! Thanks for coming along with me on the journey.


Love those sea lions!


My fabulous traveling companions on the Galápagos Islands.

Celebrating National Wildlife Day with a Galápagos Girl activity sheet & book giveaway

It’s National Wildlife Day, the perfect day to celebrate my newest picture book Galápagos Girl. Today we can celebrate by promoting awareness of conservation of animals and habitats…and in two other ways: 1) Enter a book giveaway of Galápagos Girl at Celebrate Picture Books, where I’m guest blogging today, and 2) Help a child in your life enjoy the Galápagos Girl activity sheet below.

Have fun learning a bit about the unique and threatened animals of the Galápagos with this sheet, then learn lots more by reading my book.

Thank you, Kathy, for having me at Celebrate Picture Books for this wonderful celebration!

Galápagos Girl Activity Sheet copy


Galápagos Girl launches September 18th!

It’s the end of a long journey…and the beginning! My newest book, the bilingual Galápagos Girl comes out September 18th from multicultural publisher Lee & Low.

Its journey began over ten years ago in December 2007, when I fulfilled a dream of visiting the Galápagos Islands. There I met Valentina Cruz, our naturalist guide, on whom my fictional story Galápagos Girl is based.

I’ll be guest blogging about my new book throughout September, sharing Valentina’s stories about growing up on Floreana, a remote island in the Galápagos. Stay tuned!

We’ve received two wonderful reviews from Kirkus Review and School Library Journal. Kirkus says in part: “Arnold has penned a poetic love letter to the spectacular wildlife of the Galápagos, inspired by Valentina Cruz, a biologist and conservationist….Angela Dominguez’s precise and clean but lively and colorful illustrations really bring everything to life and pull the book together.”

School Library Journal says: “Dominguez’s playful pencil-on–illustration board artwork brings the child and the creatures in her world to life. The back matter includes an author’s note, more facts about the Galápagos Islands, information on each of the animals mentioned in the story, and a bibliography. The Spanish text of this bilingual book is a very adept translation. VERDICT Readers are presented here with an unsung and worthy heroine. Recommended for picture book and biography collections.”

Storymagician Newsletter. ☂️ Marsha Diane Arnold’s Book Giveaways, News, Tips



If you’d like to win an autographed copy of my newest book May I Come In?, either contact me via my website (www.marshadianearnold.com) or private message me on Facebook. Just write “May I Come In? drawing” in your message. I’ll toss everyone’s name into my Story Magician hat, pull out a name, and contact the winner. The story is about a stormy night, fear, kindness, and inclusion. I’ll be doing the drawing on Marcb 27th.



What fun I had sharing May I Come In? and other writing and book matters with K-3 Trafalgar Elementary students.



MacIntosh Books on beautiful Sanibel Island, Florida, hosted me for a May I Come In? signing on March 16th.  The above photo shows a surprise visit from my dear friend’s family, all the way from Kansas City, along with Willa, one of my hostesses at the delightful MacIntosh Books.


Valentina Cruz, who was born and raised on the Galápagos Islands, was the inspiration for my upcoming book Galápagos Girl. Her company Remote Islands Expeditions and I donated money for a much-needed projector for Amazonas, the school on Floreana Island, which was Valentina’s first school. There was much excitement the day Valentina and the projector arrived.


I recently added four interviews with editors and agent, as well as notes about two other editors and more writing tips to my Children’s Book Academy course, Writing Wonderful Character-Driven Picture Books.

Below I share words from executive editor Kate O’Sullivan of Houghton-Mifflin. Here’s what she wrote in the e-mail that accompanied her offer:

Why did the well-known, respected Kate O’Sullivan take on Waiting for Snow? 

“I just love how it goes about its business, especially that it’s a story as much about friendship and togetherness as it is about cultivating patience (love how it’s a child-centered illumination of that old proverb, Nature does not rush, yet all is accomplished). Marsha beautifully captures the eternal longing for the first flakes of winter – what child hasn’t yearned for the year’s inaugural snow (and then, later in the season, snow that means snow days etc.)? Parents have been there as kids, too! The gentle build of tension gives way to a satisfying conclusion; text is spare, beautifully composed, and fun to read aloud. So yes, it has all the ingredients that I look for when considering a manuscript. And it just happens that I think Renata Liwska would make the perfect illustrator for this as she’s able to communicate complex emotion and humor so effortlessly with her animal characters.”

The important points here are spare text, fun to read out loud, and good pacing with a build of tension. So many writers fail to read their writing out loud. By reading aloud you catch many things you might otherwise miss – a rhythm that’s not working, overuse of a particular word, or an excess of words…which keeps your story from being spare.

That’s my tip for this newsletter.
Write on, writers.
Read on, readers. 
And may every door you knock on open and a friend reply,
“Come Right In.”  ☂️

Buffalo Commons, The Haverfields, and Prairie Dogs

My very first post on Earthsvoices was about the heroic stand of Larry and Bette Haverfield and their work for the grasslands and the black-footed ferrets.  What many ranchers in western Kansas see as a “prairie dog problem” to Larry is really a problem of the lack of predators.  The destruction of prairie dog villages has destroyed the predators.  It’s all about balance, you see.

Larry’s daughter, Cathy, keeps me up to date on her father.  She recently emailed me an article by Wil S. Hylton in Harpers Magazine entitled Broken Heartland.  Larry and the prairie dogs‘ story begins at the bottom of page 11.

English: Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys lud...

English: Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) at in Washington, D.C., USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On a side note, Larry’s teacher and mentor, Allan Savory, is up for a 2013 TED talk.  The talk will focus on a wildlife grazing system that has been proven to reverse desertification of land.  Important stuff.  You can vote for him here.

Flavors of Spring

Five mile training run this morning.  Jasmine, roses, eucalyptus, and evergreen flavors filled the country air.

Artists in the Back Country

During John Muir‘s time, artists, writers, and scientists went into the back country, into the wilderness.  When they returned, they shared their findings and feelings with the public.  “Artists in the Back Country”, a program of the Sequoia Park Foundations, has the goal to replicate that in today’s world.

In 2008, I was invited to be one of seven artists to spend 9 days in the Sierra Nevada wilderness with this amazing group.  The 2008 group included Hugo award winner Kim Stanley Robinson and National Geographic photographer, David Liittschwager.  I was excited, to say the least.

Arriving at the Cottonwood Backpack Station, we watched the packers pack hundreds of pounds on the 15 mules.

I was one of five to ride on a horse to our campsite of over 10,000 feet.

My horse Dennis was big and sure-footed.   Thank goodness.  We rode over lots of rocky trails.  I adored Dennis!

When I visit schools, one of the workshops available is “Artists in the Backyard”.  Using photos from my Sierra Nevada trip and others, I lead students into creating stories from the images.  Here are a few of those amazing images from high in the Sierra.

Land Trusts, Toluma Farm, and lots of goats!

Land.  Growing up in a Kansas farming community I was surrounded by lots of it – beautiful, flat plains full of golden wheat.  Here in California, my friend Jean and I often walk the land in Marin and Sonoma County, both havens for farms, ranches, and open space.

We can thank MALT (Marin Agricultural Land Trust) for much of this sanctuary.  MALT has permanently protected nearly half of the working farms and ranchland in Marin County.  Nearly half!

A number of the ranches and farms offer wonderful tours and events through MALT.  It’s a grand way, especially for children from the suburbs and cities, to spend an afternoon in the country.  When Jean and I visited Toluma Farms, near Tomales, there was goat milking, tours of the milk parlor, cheese making, hikes, kite flying, and views that went on forever.  Not a suburb or a Walmart in sight. Plenty of room for the goats, sheep, cows, deer and other wildlife.  Thank you MALT and all the individuals and agencies that support them. Maybe you’d like to support them too.

Goats! Lots of goats…on lots and lots of land.

30 years of helping the Black-footed ferret

September 26th marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of what was believed to be the last 24 wild black-footed ferrets in North America.  Hooray for our beloved black-footed ferrets.  The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute has learned so much about ferret husbandry; this year fifty-one kits were born at SCBI.  Fifty survive. You can watch a ferretcam at the National Zoo here.

Black-footed Ferret Mustela nigripes at Louisv...

Image via Wikipedia

Blessings to Gaia on Earth Day

Each of us is part of the earth.  With that blessing comes responsibility. Each of us must do our part to protect our earth, its resources, its wildlife. Some people celebrate Earth Day on March 20th, the first day of spring. Some celebrate on April 22nd.  We should really celebrate every day. Look outside at Sky, Trees, Flowers, Birds.  Celebrate our blessings. Happy Earth Day, Mother Earth.  May your Beauty endure for 7 generations and beyond.



Glory of the Acacia Tree

Glory of the Acacia Tree

Red Fox

Red Fox