Marsha is represented by the amazing
Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary.

Hello! I’m Marsha Diane Arnold and I write children’s books.

Official Bio

Called a “born storyteller” by the media, Marsha Diane Arnold is a multi-award-winning picture book author whose books have sold over one million copies. Her books, which reviewers have called “heartwarming,” “uplifting,” and “great read-alouds,” have been published by such notable publishers as Penguin, MacMillan, Lee & Low, and Sleeping Bear Press, and have won honors from Smithsonian Notable to Golden Kite finalist to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Popular recent releases include Lost. Found. (starred reviews, JLG,) Badger’s Perfect Garden (Florida Book Awards Bronze Medal) the bilingual Galapagos Girl (Bank Street Best Book, Campoy-Ada honor book, Green Prize in Sustainable Literature) and Lights Out (Golden Kite finalist). Her newest release Armando’s Island won the Riverby Award for exceptional natural history books for young readers.

When Marsha’s not creating new stories for readers or visiting schools, you may find her playing fetch with her dog Sailor or board games with her grandchildren. You might also find her practicing yoga, scuba diving, traveling the world, or on her backyard swing watching the birds. She currently lives in the tiny town of Alva, Florida with her husband, dog Sailor, and the wild birds all around.

For more information about Marsha, visit her at

Personal bio for my readers

Born and raised in Kansas, land of dairy cows and wheatfields. That’s me!

My first home had no indoor bathroom! In winter, my brother and I took “baths” in the kitchen sink. In summer, we trekked to the “wash shed” beside our windmill. My brother and I sat in big, metal washing tubs as Mother poured warm water over us.

I was a shy child, but I had a special affinity for animals. Luckily, my father and his family were farmers. There were always plenty of animals around!

Many Sundays after church, our family had dinner at my Grandparent Krehbiels’ farm. Grandmother, the aunts, and my mother filled the table with fried chicken, freshly baked pies, and more. On those Sundays, I had up to twenty-eight cousins to play with!

My Grandparents Lippincott lived in Colorado. My brother and I visited them every summer. We only had three cousins to play with there, but had great fun riding horses, feeding pancakes to chipmunks, and wading in mountain streams.

From first through sixth grade, I went to school in a two-room country schoolhouse, filled with thirty-five farm kids. My favorite activity was reading. I felt books were my best friends! Later when I attended Kansas State University, I studied English Literature and graduated with honors. At Kansas State University, I met my husband, Fred Arnold, who played basketball there under the legendary Tex Winter. When we married, we moved back to his home in Northern California.

We lived for nearly forty years in beautiful Sonoma County. Our children had an idyllic childhood, growing up in Sebastopol. My daughter grew up to graduate from New York University’s Tisch School of Performing Arts. Today she performs, directs, and choreographs musical theatre. My son grew up to play basketball at the Ivy League school, Dartmouth, and went on to graduate as a Tuck Scholar from the Tuck School of Business.

When my son and daughter were small, full of joy and curiosity, I wrote about their daily adventures in a weekly newspaper column, “homegrown treasures.” It won three Best Local Columnist awards from the California Newspaper Association. Families read the column together – adults and children. I still believe that the best stories are for all ages.

I wrote “homegrown treasures” for 10 years! That experience taught me a lot about writing. I went on to write for children’s magazines, but my dream was to write picture books. As I worked on my first book, Heart of a Tiger, the main character, Little Four, taught me about having a dream and taking action to reach your dream. Heart of a Tiger won many awards, including the Ridgway Award for Best First Book by a New Author. More books followed. My dream had come true!

Today I live in Alva, Florida, with my husband and our dog, Sailor. I belong to the local gardening club and still enjoy yoga, snorkeling, and scuba diving when possible. My daughter’s family lives nearby and my son’s family lives in Connecticut. I’m happy we are all on the same coast! The road trips to see my son’s family takes me through beautiful places. My husband and I love road trips! Maybe someday we’ll come see you.

Articles & Press

A Few Stops With Marsha Around The Web


Whenever my books are honored, I do a happy dance.

Here are some Awards/Honors my books have received:

  • 2023 Florida Book Awards Silver Medal
  • 2024 Green Earth Honor Award
  • 2023 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award
  • Riverby Award, exceptional natural history, John Burroughs Association – Armando’s Island
  • Golden Kite Award finalist for Picture Book Text (SCBWI) – Lights Out
  • 2019 Florida Book Awards Bronze Medal – Badger’s Perfect Garden
  • 2020-2021 Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Award nominee – Badger’s Perfect Garden
  • 2020 Growing Good Kids Excellence in Children’s Literature Award (selected by the American Horticultural Society and National Junior Master Gardener Program) – Badger’s Perfect Garden
  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids & Teens 2019 – Mine. Yours.
  • Campoy-Ada honor book, North American Academy of Spanish Language 2018 – Galápagos Girl
  • Bank Street Best Books of the Year 2019 – Galápagos Girl
  • Junior Library Guild Selection – Galápagos Girl
  • Green Prize for Sustainable Literature 2019 – Galápagos Girl
  • Little Read Lakeshore Community Read 2019 – Galápagos Girl
  • Junior Library Guild Selection 2015 – Lost. Found.
  • Bank Street Best Books of the Year 2016 – Lost. Found.
  • L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights Celebration Storywalk – Lost. Found.
  • Winterkids’ of Maine Storywalk 2019 – Lost. Found.
  • Firefly Scholastic Book Club – Lost. Found.
  • Nerdy Book Club Award 2015 – Lost. Found.
  • Northern CA Book Award nominee – Roar of a Snore
  • Bank Street Best Books of the Year 2008 – Roar of a Snore
  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library 2010, 2011, 2012 – Roar of a Snore
  • Family Choice Award 2006 – Hugs on the Wind
  • IRA-CBC Children’s Choice List – Prancing, Dancing Lily
  • Mississippi Mockingbird Award nominee – Prancing, Dancing Lily
  • Missouri Master Reading List – Prancing, Dancing Lily
  • 150 Best Kansas Books, selected for 2011 Kansas Sesquicentennial – Prancing, Dancing Lily
  • Society of Illustrators Original Art Show juried exhibition, NYC – Metro Cat
  • Atlanta Parent Monthly Best Books – The Bravest of Us All
  • Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award nominee – The Bravest of Us All
  • Missouri Show Me Readers Award nominee – The Bravest of Us All
  • Missouri Reading Circle – The Bravest of Us All
  • Tennessee Volunteer State Award nominee – The Bravest of Us All
  • Mississippi Magnolia Award nominee – The Bravest of Us All
  • 150 Best Kansas Books, selected for 2011 Kansas Sesquicentennial – The Bravest of Us All
  • Smithsonian Notable Book – The Pumpkin Runner
  • Outstanding Book, Westchester Library Master List – The Pumpkin Runner
  • Missouri Show Me Readers Award nominee – The Pumpkin Runner
  • Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award nominee – The Pumpkin Runner
  • First story in Houghton Mifflin 4th grade reader for over 10 years – The Pumpkin Runner
  • American Bookseller’s Pick of the List – The Chicken Salad Club
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Book – The Chicken Salad Club
  • Maryland Children’s Book Award nominee – The Chicken Salad Club
  • Ridgway Award Best First Book – Heart of a Tiger
  • IRA Children’s Distinguished Book – Heart of a Tiger
  • Junior Library Guild Selection – Heart of a Tiger
  • Houston Chronicle “Best Books of ’95 Roundup” – Heart of a Tiger
  • Missouri Show Me Readers Award Winner – Heart of a Tiger
  • Washington Children’s Choice Award Winner – Heart of a Tiger
  • Young Hoosier Book Award Winner – Heart of a Tiger
  • SCBWI Book List for Children in Crises – Heart of a Tiger