Label: New Books

October 15, 2012

Boy peers over iPad with SWK Logo

Did you notice that we had a very quiet week on the Seymour Science blog last week? That is because we were busy launching StarWalk Kids Media, the new eBook collection for Schools, Libraries and Families! I am the founder and one of the partners, along with my wife, Liz Nealon, who is the former creative director of Sesame Street.

I started publishing my own eBooks several years ago, and this past year we decided that it was time to work with other authors, as well. I started calling my friends who are children’s book authors and illustrators - people like David Adler, Johanna Hurwitz, Kathryn Lasky, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, and many others. Like me, all these authors have wonderful books that are still perfectly relevant and interesting to children, and which have been allowed to go out of print for one reason or another. We began to scan, adapt, update, record narration and publish their books as eBooks. Pretty soon we had 150 titles - 10 of which are digital originals like A SHIPMATE’s GUIDE (at right).

And so begins StarWalk Kids Media. Some of the advantages of the StarWalk Kids collection are:

1.    It’s affordable. I was a teacher for many years, and I know how important this is. In a typical school of 400 students, the entire collection costs less than $1.50 per student for the first year.

2.    It’s multi-user. A whole class can read the same book at the same time without check-in/check-out delays or waiting lists.

3.    It works on virtually any device. We’ve built gorgeous eReader software, called the StarWalk ReaderTM. Kids access this reader through their browser - so they can read on any device that has Internet access. We’re still working on special software for the iPad - that should be available within a month.

Cover of FIRE CAME TO THE EARTH PEOPLE, by Susan L. Roth, as seen in the StarWalk Reader software


4. We offer Advanced Search Features for Educators and Parents. You can search for books by author, title, keyword, subject, Lexile® level, Alphabetic reading level and Common Core State Standard (CCSS) links.  This provides an easy and accurate method for selecting the right ebook for each reader.

5.  Any time, anywhere access. Students can log in and read anywhere that they have Internet access - at home, at school, or otherwise.

The StarWalk ReaderTM and streaming StarWalk Kids eBook library are available as of this week (60-day Free Trials for Schools & Libraries; $5.99/month for family subscriptions). Please visit our website - - so that you can see what we have been doing, and try it out for yourself!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, eBooks, Seymour Simon, StarWalk Kids, Technology   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 5, 2012


If you haven’t yet had a chance to read my new book, SEYMOUR SIMON’S EXTREME EARTH RECORDS, you can check out some of the powerful photographs and extreme facts in this new slideshow on the Huffington Post Book Blog. 

Which of the seven Extreme Earth Records in this slideshow do you think is the most interesting, beautiful or surprising? 

Click here to view!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Cool Photo, Earth Science Books, Earth, Extreme Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 26, 2012

Welcome to an Out of This World Writing Wednesday!

When Seymour Simon was in second grade, he wrote his first book, called SPACE MONSTERS. He loved to imagine that there were aliens living on Mars, and he wrote and illustrated a science fiction story about it.

When he grew up, Seymour wrote and published a real book called SPACE MONSTERS, about Martians and other aliens as they appeared in books, movies and television series. That was long ago - the book is long out of print, and all the photographs inside were in black and white.

  This year, Seymour Simon decided to go back to his favorite topic one more time, this time working with his friend and collaborator Dennis Kendrick on a new eBook called SILLY SPACE MONSTER JOKES AND RIDDLES. They had a lot of fun working on the book, because it allowed them to imagine all sorts of crazy and funny ways that you might draw a space monster.


So today, for Writing Wednesday, we’d like you to look at both panels (below) of this joke from SILLY SPACE MONSTER JOKES AND RIDDLES, and think about all the things that make it funny. How are the words that Seymour Simon has chosen unexpected, surprising or funny? And tell us about the details in Dennis Kendrick’s illustrations that make you laugh.

When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" button below to post your writing.

Happy Silly Writing Wednesday!


















Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise is designed to use in support of CCSS Language Standard #5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings; Reading/Literature Standard #1: Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events. SILLY SPACE MONSTER JOKES AND RIDDLES is one of the digital exclusive, recorded eBooks available in the StarWalk Kids digital collection. Click here for more information about signing up for a free, 60-day trial for your school.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, New Books, eBooks, Jokes, Jokes, Space Monsters, Science Fiction   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 29, 2012

Imagine exploring the most extreme parts of our amazing planet - trekking through the driest desert, climbing the snowiest mountaintops, and diving to the deepest regions of the ocean floor.

Published today by Chronicle Books, Seymour Simon’s newest book, EXTREME EARTH RECORDS, investigates Earth’s biggest, smallest, deepest, and coldest environments, animals, plants and most severe weather. These mind-bending facts and photographs invite readers on an exciting and sometimes unbelievable, scientific exploration of Earth’s most amazing records!

Here’s an excerpt from a section in the book, about the Highest Place on Earth: Mt. Everest.



More than 4,000 people have tried to climb the mountain but fewer than 700 have actually reached the summit. Mt. Everest is dangerous; approximately 150 people have died on the slopes of the mountain. Besides the lack of oxygen and the winds, Everest is also very cold. Temperatures often drop to -100 degrees F. Even on a nice summer day, temperatures are well below zero. The climb is also very difficult because men and women lose their footing on the unstable snow and ice. Climbers often use aluminum ladders to go up and down the icy sides. 

Look for Seymour Simon’s EXTREME EARTH RECORDS in bookstores, and on and, starting today!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Cool Photo, Earth Science Books, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 16, 2012


An old favorite of mine is back in print. Dover Books has just published a new print edition of THE SECRET CLOCKS. In it, I look at all sorts of unexpected animal behaviors and answer questions like: Why do some plants blossom only during the day? How do certain birds know when and where to migrate? And what about humans? Why are some of us "early birds" (like my wife) and other of us "night owls" (like myself).

I always loved this book, and I’m so pleased to see it available again! We will also be publishing a digital edition, with narration, later this year.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, New Books, Plants   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 30, 2012



Today is El Día Del Niño (Children’s Day), celebrated in many Latino cultures around the world. April 30th is also widely celebrated here in the U.S. as El Día de los Libros - Children’s Book Day.


I am so pleased to be able to tell you that in honor of El Día Del Niño, today I have published my first Spanish-language eBook for Kindle Fire. It is called LOS PLANETAS ALREDEDOR DEL SOL, and it is available for English language readers, too, as PLANETS AROUND THE SUN.

This book is one of my SeeMore Readers series, and it has been newly updated, since what we know about our solar system is constantly changing.

And, we have created great looking trading cards for both books, which you can download and print out. Click here to get yours!

¡Feliz Lectura! Happy Reading!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, eBooks, Holidays, En Espa, Trading Cards   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 18, 2012


Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday, where every week there is a new opportunity to publish your creative writing on the Seymour Science blog. This week, in honor of Earth Day, we are giving you a sneak preview of Seymour Simon’s upcoming book, SEYMOUR SIMON’S EXTREME EARTH RECORDS! After you read this excerpt, we’re going to ask you to do your own descriptive writing, and imagine what it would be like if you could visit the Coldest Place on Earth! 





     When you step off the plane onto the rocky ice, you will immediately struggle with challenges that will last anywhere from one to eight weeks, as you acclimate yourself to the coldest place on Earth, Vostok Research Station in Antarctica.

     Vostok Station is a lonely, windblown outpost 621 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the South Pole. It holds the record for the lowest recorded temperature on Earth, -128.6ºF (-89.2ºC), recorded in July 1983. Twice a year, tractor-train (a train of tractor trucks) expeditions take as long as a month to crawl dangerously over the cracked, icy landscape carrying food and supplies to about a dozen Russian, American, and French scientists who live there during the winter conducting a variety of experiments.


Your assignment: Read the excerpt above from Seymour Simon’s new book, and think about what it would be like to be at the Vostok Research Station. How would you feel? What would you see around you? Or hear all around you? Write at least three sentences that use your own words to describe a visit to the Coldest Place on Earth

When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" at the bottom of this post to enter your writing!


Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise is designed to use in support of CCSS Writing Anchor Standard #9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, New Books, Common Core, Earth Day 2012, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 4, 2012

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday, where every week there is a new opportunity to publish your creative writing on the Seymour Science blog. This week, we are asking you to read an excerpt from Seymour Simon’s new book BUTTERFLIES, and explain in your own words what he is saying and how he uses details to express his idea more powerfully.


From BUTTERFLIES, by Seymour Simon:

     Throughout human history butterflies and moths have been the subject of stories, myths, poetry, art, drama and dance in many cultures. The Hopi Native Americans perform a ceremonial dance in homage to the butterfly. An Irish saying goes: "May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun and find your shoulder to light on, to bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow, and beyond." For many of us, butterflies are symbols of the wild loveliness and wonder of nature.


Your assignment: Write a paragraph or two explaining the main idea that Seymour is trying to express on this page. Use your own words to express his theme. And, give examples of telling details that he uses to support his theme.

When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" at the bottom of this post to enter your writing!


Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise is designed to use in support of CCSS Reading Anchor Standard #2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, Butterflies, New Books, Common Core, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 24, 2012

On a recent blog post about Snakes, I received this very smart comment from one of our readers:

Dear Seymour Simon,

I read your SNAKES book and I found a mistake! Snakes are venomous, not poisonous. Venomous means to inject venom and poisonous means to touch or absorb it. I learned this at Lake Pleasant in Arizona. It was my field trip. My name is Jack R. I’m a student at Wildfire Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona. I still love snakes and reptiles.

Thank you, Jack, for taking the time to write. You clearly learned a lot on your field trip!

In fact, I have received several letters lately because one of my old favorites, a book called POISONOUS SNAKES, has just been re-published. Since it is a book for kids and almost all kids (as well as adults) refer to snakes as ‘poisonous’ or ‘non-poisonous’, we decided to use that term in the title of the book when I wrote it years ago. These are also the words used in searches by kids. So, my intention was not to deceive anyone or use incorrect words, only to make the book easier for kids to fine, and to plainly label what the book is about if they were to look it up.

Jack is correct, though. Venom is injected by snakes and other animals, and poison is ingested (eaten), like when birds eat some kinds of butterflies. So technically, snakes are not poisonous or non-poisonous….they are either venomous or non-venomous.

Here are two examples, to help you understand the difference.




This is such a beautiful photograph of a lionfish, but you can’t always trust your eyes. This lionfish is venomous and dangerous to humans as well as other marine animals, because it uses those sharp spines to inject paralyzing venom.



A monarch butterfly, on the other hand, is poisonous because its larva eats milkweed, which contains a poisonous chemical. If a bird or other predator eats a monarch, it eats the poison. But you can touch a monarch without any danger - you’re safe as long as you don’t swallow it!




Notice that both the lionfish and the monarch have bright colors and patterns on their bodies. These are known as "warning colors," which keep predators away.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, New Books, snakes, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 27, 2012

Thank you, Center Moriches students, for all your thank you notes and great comments after my visit this week. I loved meeting you all, too.

Makayla, Claire K., Richie and the kids in Room 30 all wrote to ask the same question, so I thought I would answer it here. The question is: WHAT IS MY FAVORITE OF ALL THE BOOKS THAT I HAVE WRITTEN?

I have written so many books that I am not sure of the exact count….but I know it is getting close to 300! I can never say which is my favorite book - it is like a parent picking his favorite child. If I say which one is my favorite, all the other books will be mad at me!

Actually, whatever book I am working on at the moment is my "favorite," because I get caught up in how fascinating each topic is. I’ve just finished a book on CORAL REEFS, and I learned so much about these busy "cities under the sea" - you would be amazed at the diversity of life that thrives in a coral reef. So at the moment, that is my "favorite book."

If you click on "play" in this photograph, you can see a little bit of video of all the living creatures in a coral reef. Isn’t it magnificent?

Makayla added a few other questions which I will answer for you here, too.

1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?  Since I was a kid I have had two favorite colors, and they are both the colors of nature. One is almost indescribable - the warm, pumpkin-like, mix of orange colors that you see in autumn. My other favorite color is the deep purple that you sometimes see in sunset clouds.

2. DO YOU HAVE ANY CHILDREN?  My two sons are both grown - one is a television director, and one is a college professor, in Computer Sciences. My stepdaughter is still in college, studying Literature and History. And I have four grandchildren whom I try to visit as often as I can.

3. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BE AN AUTHOR?  I read a book called THE SEA AROUND US, by Rachel Carson. She is a wonderful writer, I absolutely loved the book, and by the time I finished it, I had realized that I wanted to write about the natural world. I started writing for children because that is where my area of expertise was - I was a middle school science teacher for many years.

Thank you to all the book lovers at Clayton Huey Elementary School for your very warm welcome. I loved your caution to "Drive Safely!" when I left. What a warm, caring group of students and teachers. Keep reading, and please click on "Comments" and write to me any time to tell me what you are reading and thinking about.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Becoming a writer, New Books, Coral Reefs, School Visits, Seymour Simon   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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