December 13, 2017

I grew up in New York City and never really had much to do with horses. (Though I do have a photo of me when I was a kid alongside a cute pony.  I don’t really remember much about the photo though I do know that the pony was not a regular part of my life.)

My author’s copies of my book HORSES came yesterday. This book is a revision of the original book with new photos and new text, but I was reminded of what happened when I wrote the original book a dozen years ago. For the original book, I was photographing horses in farms in Columbia County in New York State where there were many horse farms. I was just motoring around casually, looking at horses and photographing them when I could get close enough to them from country roads. What often happened though, is that I spent a lot of time just looking and enjoying watching them. And I thought of the cowboy movies and chariot races I had read about and seen in movies. In my mind and in my book, seeing horses galloping about a field is like watching a bit of history playing out in front of you.

Here’s what I wrote in my book:

horse galloping from Seymour Simon's book

I would enjoy reading about your own thoughts about horses in your life. 


The updated edition of Seymour Simon’s book HORSES, cited by the Common Core Standards as an Exemplar Text, will be published on December 26, 2017, and is now available for pre-order. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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December 12, 2017

The outbreak of fires in California remind me of the photography and research I did before I wrote my book WILDFIRES. I spoke at a conference in Fresno and decided to photograph nature in  nearby Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. While photographing I followed a crew of forest rangers and firefighters clearing brush to retard the growth and speed of any future fires. Sometimes that works, other times there is no stopping the explosive growth of wildfires, which is what’s happing now.

 

As I wrote in my book, “A raging wildfire is a frightening thing. Living trees burn as fast as cardboard boxes in a bonfire. Flames race through the treetops, sometimes faster than a person can run, burning at temperatures hot enough to melt steel.”

But then I wrote, “But not all fires are bad. Fires in nature can help as well as harm. A burned forest allows young plants to begin growing. And fire is necessary for some trees, such as sequoias, to release their seeds. Instead of being an ending, fire is often a new chapter in the continuing story of the natural world.”

I think that it is a good thing to teach children that in nature, things are often neither good nor evil, but part of the natural rhythms of the world.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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December 11, 2017

yellow leaf with raindrops

This is one of the excellent photos in my new book WATER. But this photo is something special. It’s a photo taken by Liz Nealon, my wife and partner in research. Liz is an award-winning producer of children’s TV programs such as The Famous Jett Jackson and Ghostwriter. She was also Creative Director of Sesame Street. Now she is a literary agent specializing in digital children’s books as well as my photo research partner in finding the best photos for my new books as well as revisions of my older books. But this photo was chosen just because she loved the design and then used for my book because it fit the text perfectly. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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December 10, 2017

All about the water cycle, precipitation, why we need water, and more!

Seymour Simon holding WATER

My brand new book Water was published on October 31, 2017. Water is all around us. It is the most common liquid on our Planet Earth.  It is in the air and in the clouds, in oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams, in ice, in plants and animals, in soil and below Earth’s surface in the top few miles of the crust. Yet water cannot and should not be taken for granted. A person may be able to survive several weeks without food but only several days without water.

Water is the one substance that we are always looking for on other planets and exoplanets. A "Goldilocks Planet" is a planet on which water can exist In liquid form, is is not too hot nor too cold, it is "just right" for the possibility of life. Without water there would be no life.

On a personal note, I thought that water would be a simple subject to write about. But no, water turned out to be both challenging and fascinating. I hope you and your students and children find this book to be a be a captivating introduction to what is the most important substance for living things, water! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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July 20, 2017

Seymour Simon’s striking new book, ROCKS AND MINERALS, is being published on August 15th (available for pre-order now on Amazon). Here’s an interview with Kirkus about his connection to rock-hounding, the process of making this book, his views on teaching nonfiction, and more. 

Click for Kirkus Article

Posted by: Liz Nealon

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July 5, 2016

Happy Publication Day to @Seymour Simon for his new book, INSECTS!

Cover of Seymour Simon's book INSECTS

The photographs are amazing, and you will learn some fascinating things in this book:

  • All bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. 

  • There are at least four times more kinds of insects than all other animals combined.

  • The number of insects alive at any given moment is approximately 10 quintillion (that is 10 followed by 18 zeros!)

  •  
    Available on Amazon

     

     

    Posted by: Liz Nealon

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    April 22, 2016

    Happy Earth Day to all my readers. I’ve just come back from a long walk outdoors, and I hope you will get out and enjoy nature today, too.

    I have written many entries in this blog about Earth Day over the years. There are activities, reader input, suggestions for reducing your carbon footprint, and even recipes to help you contribute to improving our environment. You can read all of these earlier articles by typing "Earth Day" into the search box at the top of this page. Enjoy!

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

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    January 28, 2016

    Martian peaks with streaks running down slopes

    Did you see the recent announcement from NASA (America’s space agency) about finding evidence of water on Mars? Scientists have long thought that there may have been water on this desert planet in the past, but these latest images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are extraordinary because they show evidence of water flowing today.

    Do you see the dark streaks in this image? These streaks are from the minerals left behind when briny (salty) water flows down the slopes in the Martian "summer."

    Why is this important for us? If there is liquid water on Mars, then it makes it much more possible that we can travel there to explore Mars ourselves. The rocket needed to carry astronauts on the year-long trip to Mars will be much lighter if it doesn’t have to carry water. There is currently no Mars mission planned…but I bet there will be soon.

     

    Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona    

     

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

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    January 27, 2016

               

    Did you see the video that the Smithsonian’s National Zoo captured after last weekend’s blizzard? When male giant panda Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) woke up to a lot of snow, he was pretty excited about it.

    Unlike you and me, Tian Tian did not need to bundle up to be comfortable in the snow. Giant pandas have thick woolly coats that keep them warm in the snowy mountains of China.

    Since it is Writing Wednesday, let’s take this opportunity to do some descriptive writing. Watch this video of Tian Tian in the snow, and imagine all the sensations he is feeling. Describe what he was smelling, seeing, feeling, tasting…..all the things that made him want to roll over and over in the big white stuff!

     Be patient while the video loads below. If you are using a tablet you may not be able to see this video. Try viewing it on a desktop computer. 

    When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" button at the bottom of this post to share your work with others. Happy Writing! 

     

    "Tian Tian in the Snow," from Smithsonian's National Zoo

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

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    January 5, 2016

    As anyone who has read my PAPER AIRPLANE BOOK knows, I love folding and flying paper airplanes. I’ve been doing it since the days when I was teaching middle school science and teaching about the properties of air.

    This video captures one of the best paper airplane flights I have ever seen. Look how the plane rides the air currents, slowly, slowly down to the ground.

    Enjoy the video, but remember, you should never try this at home (nor should you ever go near an open window).

    Be patient while the video loads below. If you are using a tablet you may not be able to see this video. Try it on a desktop computer.

     

     

    "New York Paper Airplane Flight," by Sam Fuller

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

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