Jim Arnosky Has a Wild Side

Jim Arnosky may have been born in New York City, but he has spent much of the rest of his life living in wild places. He uses his storytelling skills—both words and art—to bring kids closer to nature.

Born September 1, 1946, Jim grew up in the Pennsylvania countryside. He knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a cartoonist! He realized that ambition, but along the way, he joined the Navy. After his service, he started drawing for Ranger Rick magazine. Wisely, he took the advice of a more experienced artist who told him to keep a journal alongside his drawings.

It's Okay to Learn and Play

Jim started writing nature books during the 1970s with a mission in mind. He realized that the country was going crazy about Lyme disease—a painful Wild Tracks!condition brought about by the bite of deer ticks. So many parents weren't letting their kids out to play in the woods anymore that it seemed a whole generation was missing out on all that nature had to offer.

Jim's first book, I Was Born in a Tree and Raised by Bees! introduced a loveable woodland character named Crinkleroot who showed and told kids how to have fun exploring nature safely. Crinkleroot advised that with just a few sensible precautions such as wearing boots, a hat, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt, kids could start learning about the outdoors.

Something for Everyone

He has written many, many books—about four each year. Most teach some kinds of outdoor skills, such as fishing, drawing from nature, or identifying birds or animal tracks. Jim (and Crinkleroot) teaches kids to become wildlife watchers. Even the youngest watchers will find a book to suit them. And, kids from most parts of the country will find books that tell about animals in their backyards—or deserts—or mountains.

Jim raised his own family on a farm in Vermont, where he still lives with his wife Deanna. Oftentimes he goes traveling to visit schools, guitar in hand, spreading the good word about the beautiful, wild side of life.

Fancy That!

Shimmer and SplashTeachers and scientists and science teachers have come to appreciate Jim's good work. In 2005, he received an award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his lifetime contributions to science. He has also received the Christopher Medal, an Orbis Pictus Honor, the Eva L. Gordon Award, and outstanding science book awards from the National Science Teachers Association.

Go exploring with one of Jim Arnosky's books today. Click here for a list of his books that are owned by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Rambles on the Web:

Answers.com: James Edward Arnosky
Here is a really nice, lengthy look at his life and work.

Book Page Interview: Jim Arnosky
Jim talks about his early influences and what he believes his job to be as a nature book author.Monster Hunt

Jim Arnosky's Web Site
Crinkleroot's Fact Pages and Wonder Pages are fun for young kids. Also check out his coloring book, 100 Animals Every Child Should Know (color and collect them all). He also has illustrated travelogues of his trips around the country to visit schools.

Meet the Authors and Illustrators: Jim Arnosky
A biography and reviews of some of his works.