Published Books Presentations Contact Cris's Blog

Click the Month button to see the event


Cris Arbo received her BA from William Paterson University in New Jersey with a major in Art and a minor in Theatre Arts. She worked as a background artist on animated feature films, cartoons and TV commercials in New York and London, and as an Art Director for The Dance Centre, Covent Garden. She also performed as vocalist with the London Philharmonic and the London Symphony.

Cris has four daughters and lives in Virginia where she continues to paint murals, book and magazine illustrations, advertising and private commissions, as well as giving school and  conference presentations.



Published Books

New Book this autumn 

"The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream by Joseph Anthony, illustrated by Cris Arbo, 32 pages Publisher: Dawn Pubns (September 1, 2014)
Paperback ISBN-10: 1584694971
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1584694963

Consider the dandelion. It lives life fully, flies with beauty, survives storms, endures darkness, never gives up. It is one of nature s greatest success stories. Like dandelions, each of us can make the world a brighter place. The trick is to bloom right where we are. Back matter includes information and activities about dandelions and weeds, seed dispersal, and the theme of courage, patience, and perseverance.


What's in the Garden? by Marianne Berkes (Author) , Cris Arbo (Illustrator) Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Dawn Pubns (March 1, 2013) ISBN-10: 1584691891 ISBN-13: 978-1584691891

Good food doesn't begin on a store shelf with a box. It comes from a garden bursting with life, color, sounds, smells, sunshine, moisture, birds, and bees! Healthy food becomes much more interesting when children know where they come from. So what s in the garden? Kids will find a variety fruits and vegetables, and a tasty, kid-friendly recipe for each one to start a lifetime of good eating. A food for thought section presents interesting facts about each fruit and vegetable, and a how does your garden grow? section explains facts about gardening and the parts of plants.

Editorial Reviews
From School Library Journal  Rhythmic poetry gives one-page clues that answer the title question.. . .  Very, very close-up, realistic illustrations show children thoroughly enjoying the garden's bounty-saliva drips onto an apple being crunched, lettuce sticks out of an African American boy's teeth, broccoli drenched in dip fills the mouth of an Asian American boy. There's a recipe for each fruit or vegetable-e.g., garlic mashed potatoes, blueberry pie, and ants on a log. . . . Four pages for adults are filled with ideas for using the book with children.-Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

From Booklist The predictable answer to the title question? Fruits and vegetables! This attractive introduction to 12 edible plants is intended to stimulate healthy eating among kids. A four-line rhyme poses a question, and the next page provides the answer along with a boxed recipe and an illustration of a child preparing or eating it. For example: “It’s usually brown, way down in the soil. / You scrub it to bake it, or peel it to boil. / It doesn’t have ears, but does have eyes— / It’s really a favorite when mashed or as ‘fries.’” . . . The realistic, brightly colored paintings depict multicultural children (many missing baby teeth) and use icons for each ingredient. Safety cautions start with the section titled Lets Get Cookin and pick up with the books last two lines: “Try the recipes in this book, / And with a grownup start to cook.” . . . Grades K-3. --Julie Cummins --

"What's In The Garden?" AWARDS

Skipping Stones Honor Award, 2014
Selected for Bank Street's "Best Children's Books Of The Year”, 2014
2014 - Virginia Agriculture In The Classroom - Book Of The Year
2014 Teacher's Choice Award
(Click to read)
2014- Learning Magazine - Teacher's Choice Award

2013 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, Gold - Non-Fiction Picture Book
2013 Gelett Burgess Award (Gardening/Outdoors)
2013 NABE - Pinnacle Book Achievement Award - children's interest

2013 Mom's Choice Gold Award - Cooking & Food
2013 - Children's Literary Classics - Gold Award
2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award - winner- (Childrens Picture Book)
2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award - Honorable Mention (Children's Picture Book, Ages 6 & Older)
2013 -Florida Publishers Association -Presidents Award - Finalist (Children's Non-Fiction Category)
2013- Living Now Book Awards (Gold Award - Children's Non-Fiction)

All Cris Arbo's Books are /big>arlogo_lrg.gif (4671 bytes) Titles

Earth Heroes: Champions of the Ocean (Earth Heroes Series)

by Fran Hodgkins (Author), Cris Arbo (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 10-14 Paperback: 144 pages Publisher: Dawn Pubns (September 1, 2009)

ISBN-10: 1584691190 ISBN-13: 978-1584691198

     94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

Eight curious, passionate young people grew up to change the way we look at Earth's last frontier -- the ocean.  William Beebe descended into the inky depths and discovered fish that make light!  Jacques Cousteau invented SCUBA gear and brought the sea to the people, via television.  "The Shark Lady," Eugenie Clark, discovered that sharks aren't quite monsters.  Each of the eight made a unique contribution.  This is a very personal look at their lives and leadership.

Smithsonian Magazine 2010 Notable Books For Children

LA's Green Book Festival Honorable Mention (biography)

Disney's iParenting Media Award

Nashville Book Festival Honorable Mention (non-fiction)

New England Book Festival Honorable Mention (non-fiction)

Mom's Choice Award, Gold

Missouri State Teachers Association Reading Circle Program

Editorial Reviews

"In addition to introducing us to some remarkable 'oceanauts' like my father Jacques Cousteau, this book takes us on a journey of their lives through engaging stories about how they became who they are and why.  It's a reminder that everyone has a contribution to make to improve the world just by being themselves."
--Jean-Michel Cousteau, Founder, Ocean Futures Society.

"The stories of these scientists and explorers can inspire young people to become stewards of our ocean planet - as they have inspired me.  I count several of these ocean heroes as friends; their passionate commitment to healthy oceans offers us all hope for the future."
--Julie Packard, Executive Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium

I In the Trees, Honeybees!
by Lori Mortensen (Author), Cris Arbo (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 School Library Binding: 32 pages, Publisher: Dawn Publications (CA) (March 2009)


 ISBN-10 158469114X ISBN-13: 978-1584691143
  94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

Paperback ISBN-10: 1584691158 ISBN-13: 978-1584691150

  94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

This inside-the-hive view of a wild colony of honeybees offers close-up views of the queen, the cells, even bee eggs. The reader is left with admiration for the remarkable lives of honeybees, whether in the hive or in the field.
Skipping Stones Honor Award

CBC/NSTA Science Trade Book

Disney's iParenting Media Award

The National Izaak Walton League Book Of The Year Award

The Moonbeam Children's Book Award, Silver

Mom's Choice Award, Gold

Florida Reading Association Children's Book Award Nominee
Editorial Reviews
Vibrant colors, lyrical rhyming couplets, and accurate science all make this NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2010 ideal to share with younger students. By peeking inside a tree, you can watch a wild colony of honey bees working together, each doing a specific job. The illustrations, supplemental text, and photos at the end of the book will lure stronger readers and more curious young scientists back again and again.

Despite its target audience, both text and illustrations have been rated highly accurate by biologists and beekeepers. Teachers will use this book to illustrate life cycles, model good observational skills before nature walks, and encourage enthusiastic informational reading. The book includes a supplemental bibliography and list of websites for teachers and students.  Reviewer: Suzanne Flynn, National Science Teachers Association

From Ann Harman, President, Virginia State Beekeepers Assn.,
"...truly a beauty ... This book is sheer enjoyment for all ages."

From Liz Rosenberg, Boston Globe  -
"... , a close-up look at the lives of honey bees in a nice new oversize paperback edition.  Cris Arbo's big, bright illustrations are in the spirit of fine old botanical prints, lovely. . ."

-From Lori Titus, "The Bee Lady", 
I consider it an excellent book... well-designed for a wide range of reading abilities....  I cannot speak highly enough of the illustrations." 

-From Eric Brown, Beekeeper, Milk & Honey Farm -
"It's rare, very rare, to see children's books about bees that portray bees in a simple, fun-spirited, child-accessible way without falling into misinformation and misrepresentations.  I love all the artwork!"

-From Kirkus Reviews-
"Simple rhymes and striking full-bleed illustrations introduce the daily lives of honeybees to very young readers and listeners.  Arbo's detailed paintings show vistas of a bucolic farm visited by oversized honeybees, glorious flowers, and close-ups of a hive inside a tree."

-From Kim Hutmacher, Chicken Spaghetti - "This book would make a nice addition to any classroom unit on insects, the honeybee life cycle or animal families."

-From M.A. Butler, Artist, Author, Educator, (N Hollywood, CA) - "This little book is a gem-the colors are so vibrant, and I just love the artwork. I really appreciate it when a children's book also has appeal for the adult who is reading it aloud, over, and over, and over, again! This one's a classic!"

All Around Me, I See (Sharing Nature with Children Book)by Laya Steinberg, Cris Arbo Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover: 32 pages
Dawn Publications (CA)

(March 1, 2005) ISBN: 1584690682   94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)
Paperback: ISBN: 1584690690
 94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

With eyes wide open to the mysteries of nature, a child on a hike discovers that "a leaf is a boat for a beetle" and that "a nest is a cradle for eggs." Tired from her long walk, she sleeps-and in her dream she flies like a bird and marvels at the beauty around her. This planet that is home to so many creatures is magical when seen through the eyes of wonder.

Selected for Bank Street's "Best Children's Books Of The Year"

Click Here for Free Teachers Guide
Another Free Teachers Guide Here

Editorial Reviews

From Glenn Perrett, Metroland, North, Canada 
"Beautiful illustrations complement the simple text providing the young reader with a glimpse of the natural beauty of the planet."

From Arizona Networking News, Editor's Choice, Scottsdale, AZ 
"This is the exuberant tale of a child's first nature discoveries... celebrated in a realistic fantasy of nature from a child's point of view."

From OC Family Magazine, Newport Beach, CA -
"The beautiful illustrations convey the sense of wonder that an innocent child has when beholding the world." -Craig Reem

From New Age Retailer's National Review Network, Bellingham, WA -
"The bold colors, sharp detail, and active illustrations are captivating.... The book is recommended for children ages 3 to 8. However, both adults and children will enjoy it. Place it face front, and watch people pick it up!" Jean E. Hansgen

From Church Educator, Prescott, AZ -
"All Around Me, I See is to see from a child's point of view, fresh and new.... this is truly a book that belongs in the hands of those who love and care for God's creation."

From Parents' Express, Philadelphia, PA -
"Save this picture book for a read aloud treat on a quiet summer night... The pictures are as lush as the rhymes are; readers and listeners will easily be lulled into the proper mood." -Bobbie Combs

From Learning Explorations, Dayton, Ohio, -
"This book captures the eye, mind, and imagination - and you feel that exuberant joy of childhood"
Barbara Geiger, President

From The Center For Place-Based Education, Keene, NH -
"Immersed in a child's eye view of the world, the reader feels the child's joy in nature..." -Prof. David Sobel, Co-Director

From Library Media Connection, Worthington, OH -
"The words match the pictures, which are beautifully reflective of nature, with vibrant colors and realistically portraying the animals and child's family.... The pictures alone could be used as a teaching tool to learn about animals' habitats and the wonders of nature."

From, Westport, CT -

"Illustrator Cris Arbo truly captivates with her colorful artwork, and evokes the emotions of childhood delight. Her techniques of fantasy realism portray the child's eye view with magic and vitality."

The Dandelion Seed
written by "Joseph Patrick Anthony. Cris Arbo (Illustrator), Reading level: Ages 3-10 (September 1997) Publisher: Dawn Publications

Edition: Paperback ISBN: 188322067X  94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

Edition: Hardcover  ISBN: 1883220661   94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

Publisher: Econo-Clad Books; Library Binding
ISBNP: 0613065476; (October 1999) 94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

Also published in Italian, Chinese, and Korean

Click Here for a teachers guide

The humble dandelion, by roadside or mountainside, it flowers every month of the year throughout the world, a fitting symbol of life. Its journey is our journey, filled with challenge, wonder, and beauty. Joseph Anthony's story of mystery and truth, and illustrator Cris Arbo's stunningly detailed illustrations make this book a joy for all.

Winner of Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal Award for Children's Picture Books

McGraw/Hill ‘early reader program’ for New York City public schools.

Editorial Reviews

From Scholastic Book Wizard -
"Joseph Anthony's story of mystery & truth and illustrator Cris Arbo's stunningly detailed illustrations make this book a joy for all." 

From Education Clearinghouse -
"What an impressive work I hold in my hand. This book is intended for the age range of 3-10, but even an adult will find it warmly written and easy to embrace as the story unfolds, a bit at a time, page by page... This book has won numerous awards and after reading it, I can see how and why. It is beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written. A true treasure for every child and family to enjoy."

From NAPRA Review 
"This beautifully illustrated story is profoundly simple and wise."
East Sound, Washington From Children's Literature  

From Children's Literature
"Autumn has arrived and there's one last dandelion seed left to be carried away by the wind. The seed tries to resist, but the wind is just too strong. During its adventure in the air, the dandelion seed discovers that the world is made up of many things- some frightening, some beautiful. It takes this discovery for the seed to find out its purpose and where its roots will lie. This is a "spread your wings and fly" story with nature again serving as the great metaphor for life. Fabulous detail-oriented illustrations make this a must have."
- Sheree van Vreede

InANutshel.jpg (25994 bytes)In a Nutshell (Sharing Nature With Children Book)
by Joseph Anthony, Cris Arbo (Illustrator), Reading level: Ages 3-10, Publisher: Dawn Publications; 
Edition: Paperback ISBN: 188322098X; (September 1999)
 94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)
Hardcover (2003) ISBN: 1883220998
 94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

  • Who we are, why we are here, where we come from and where we go. Every child ponders life's greatest questions. Here, in a nutshell, is a tale about life.

An acorn drops from a great oak and grows. Animals nibble at it, a fire threatens it, but overcoming many challenges it eventually towers high in the forest, observing the changing human scene below. Eventually its energy passes into many other life forms--even the cherry pie enjoyed by the boy in the house below.

Also Published in in Chinese and Korean.

A Parent Council, LTD "Outstanding Selection" 2000

Virginia State Reading Association's "Children's Choice" List 2002-2003

Editorial Reviews

From London Diocesan Board For Schools - "A spectacular book with clear text and fabulous illustrations. Highly recommended." 

From Hearthside Books "Dawn finds the most eloquent writers, the best storytellers, the finest illustrators. Books such as 'In A Nutshell'... mesmerize children with their thrilling account from nature, and their breathtaking illustrations..."

From Midwest Book Review "Highly recommended"

From Charlottesville Weekly" Gloriously Illustrated . . . A spiritual story about life from sprouting to rotting and beyond."



MVC-031S.JPG (21313 bytes)


MVC-014S.JPG (38765 bytes)

  • Elementary Schools: For younger children, I place a special emphasis on the joys and challenges of being an artist by   concentrating on the step-by-step phases of illustrating a children's picture book.

  • Secondary and Post Secondary Schools: Here my focus shifts to the nuts and bolts of the business of illustration, including self-promotion, markets, contracts, and specific questions.

  • School Formats are based on a full-day visit and include classroom sessions from 30 - 90 minutes in length. Although I do present to large groups, I prefer a more intimate setting of 50-70 kids so they can have a hands-on experience. I show sketches, drawings, original paintings and models up close, and also do a question & answer-type approach to keep them involved. A presentation with a big screen is okay for adults, but I don't want the kids to feel like they're watching a movie or TV.
     I want to keep it real.

  • The Professional Fee is $500 per day, plus mileage. For locations farther from Buckingham Courthouse than 120 miles add hotel expenses. "I choose to keep my fee reasonable in consideration of those schools who otherwise might not be able to afford a visit under these current economic conditions." A good way for a school to share travel expenses is to team up with other area schools for a several-day visit.
DAWN PUBLICATIONS offers a 40% discount to schools when Cris visits

School Visit Critiques

"They loved it!  You were wonderful to all groups.  The teachers were excited and very complimentary." -- Ann Peltier, Reading Specialist, Edward G. Clymore Elementary, Fort Defiance, VA
"Wonderful!  Everyone enjoyed the presentation!" --  Elaine Eberly, Reading Specialist, Verona Elementary, Verona, VA
"Your visit was a great success.  Our students enjoyed seeing your beautiful illustrations up close and in detail, and then being able to connect them with the sample books you provided.  You showed them exactly how your art has evolved from childhood to adulthood, from sketches and models to finished product, in a fascinating and entertaining way.  They GOT it, and we loved it!" -- Nancy Segal, Library Assistant, A.M. Davis Elementary, Richmond, VA
"Cris Arbo presented a vibrant and educational program for our students... I highly recommend (her) as a presenter to elementary students." -- Diane Langston, Librarian, Amelia County Elementary, Amelia, VA
"You are an incredible speaker. Your love of art and illustrating shows through your excitement and enthusiasm." -- Rhonda Johnson, Coordinator, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library System In-Service Day, Charlottesville, VA
"The kids loved you!" -Regina Hart, Pocahontas Elementary, Powahatan, VA
"A great job. (The visit) was so enjoyable and informative." -- Diane Lawson, Grandin Court Elementary, Roanoke, VA
"Your talks were truly inspiring." -- Susan Guerrant, Art Teacher, Sutherland Middle School, Charlottesville, VA
"You did such a great job exciting the teachers about your book, and your behind-the-scenes discussion about illustration was fascinating." --
Lisa Kilczewski, Barnes & Noble Educator Night, Virginia Beach, VA
"The students especially appreciated your thoughtful consideration of their many questions." -- Christine Bachmann, Media Specialist, Marguerite Christian Elementary School, Colonial Heights, VA
"What a treat" -- Terry Cox-Joseph, Coordinator, Christopher Newport University Writers Conference, Newport News, VA


Cris Arbo
3977 Oak Hill Road
Buckingham, VA 23921

Phone (434) 969-2014


Mailbox.gif (1210 bytes)

Chris's Blog

Visit Cris' husband and collaborator, author Joseph Patrick Anthony,


date this page was last edited      Click HERE to return to state page