2009 California Agriculture in the Classroom Conference

October 23-24, 2009 - Rohnert Park, CA

Author Panel

Marsha Dianne Arnold was raised on a farm in Kansas and attended a two-room country schoolhouse. Her favorite activity was reading; she loved borrowing books from Mr. Donaldson's 4th-8th grade room. However, she didn't start writing until she began to chronicle the daily adventures of her two young children. This led to her weekly newspaper column, "Homegrown Treasures," winner of three Best Local (Sonoma County) Columnist Awards from the California Newspaper Association. Marsha has authored 11 picture books ranging from the soulful Ridgway award winner, Heart of a Tiger, to the Smithsonian Notable, The Pumpkin Runner. Currently, Marsha is working on a chapter book and has a novel on the back burner. She is known, not only as an award-winning author, but as a powerhouse speaker.

Gerald Haslam is a native of Oildale, California, a small town north of Bakersfield. His involvement in the agriculture industry began as a 12-year-old, working as a cotton-chopper in the Great Central Valley. California's rich agricultural heritage continues to influence his writing as he explores his Valley home and its complex identity through stories. He has published nine collections of short fiction, four novels, three essay collections, three non-fiction books, and edited eight anthologies. Haslam served as a Professor of English at Sonoma State University for 30 years and currently resides in Penngrove. He has one wife (enough), two dogs (enough), five kids (enough) and 11 grandchildren (not nearly enough).

Lynne Tuft has been living in the Napa Valley for more than 17 years. In that time, she has worn many berets: artist, teacher and author/illustrator/publisher. She is also an artist whose work appears in galleries and in private and corporate collections. Her vibrantly illustrated children's book, The Grapes Grow Sweet A Child's First Harvest in Wine Country, received the Benjamin Franklin Award for excellence in independent publishing. Lynne also received the prestigious Monteith Trophy for her contribution to viticulture education. Her book provides teachers and families with a way to connect children to our agricultural roots by telling the story of the vine through the experiences of four-year-old Julian Rossi. Lynne teaches in private and corporate settings and participates in the Arts Council of Napa Valley's Artist in the Schools program. She is an art mentor to many—and is currently expanding her after-school art programs in Napa's elementary schools.