Label: New Books

February 3, 2011



People all over the world are celebrating Chinese New Year with parades, huge fireworks displays, and delicious feasts. Every family has thoroughly cleaned the house to sweep away any ill-fortune and make way for good incoming luck. Children receive red envelopes with money inside, representing the passing of good luck to the person who receives it.

The Chinese Lunisolar Calendar marks the new year on the second new moon of the winter solstice, which is based on the phases of moon. 2011 is number 4709 in the Chinese lunar calendar, and is the Year of the Rabbit.

With all this excitement, I think that rabbits all over the world must be doing binkies! 

What is a bunny binky, you might ask? Rabbits, who are generally very quiet, sometimes jump in the air unexpectedly when they are feeling playful. And when a bunny twists and jumps into the air, it is called a binky. A new, fascinating animal fact for you in celebration of The Year of the Rabbit!

This photograph is from my upcoming eBook, FUN FACTS ABOUT PETS. It is full of little known facts like bunny binkies, hamster magicians, and parakeets who spit for love! 

"Kung Hei Fat Choy" to all, which means "May you be prosperous in the New Year!"


Photo Credit: Emma Payne 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, New Books, Rabbits   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 20, 2010


I love to photograph at this time of the year. The sun never rises high in the sky, and even in the middle of the afternoon, the fields are bathed in long, purple shadows.

The Native American people call the December moon the "Long Night Moon." A child might think that the longest night of the year is dark and quiet, both animals and plants resting and still. But even on the longest night, the winter solstice, life goes on all around us.

I’ve been tinkering with an idea for a book called THE LONGEST NIGHT. I like the idea of writing about the simple science behind the poetry and beauty of the longest night of the year. Snow crystals dance in the air and settle slowly down on the ground…starlings and nuthatches feed at the bird feeder in the last bit of twilight…a red fox moves through the moonlit night…the full moon reflects on the snow, making it seem as though all the world glistening.

It might start something like this:


What do you think? Is this a book you would like to read with your family?

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Writing, Winter, Solstice   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 17, 2010


Now you can see a preview of one of the original eBooks that you can download from Seymour’s new SCIENCE FUN TO GO app. At only $3.99, it’s fun and it builds early literacy skills for your favorite elementary schooler! CLICK HERE to view a sample of how the "Read to Me" functionality works for younger kids.

We’ve also heard rumors that there may be some price discounting before Christmas. Keep checking back here (or on the app itself) for details!


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, eBooks, App, DInosaurs, Digital Books   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 27, 2010

As I continue to edit and update my Science Dictionary , I’m loving the fact that it is a living, online document which I can improve and expand as kids are exposed to new scientific ideas, language, and breakthroughs. 

Giant Leopard Moth

The fact that I can add images makes it even more fun! This gorgeous creature is a Giant Leopard Moth, also called the Eyed Tiger Moth (Hypercompe scribonia). It is found throughout Southern and Eastern North America, from New England to Mexico. This species is a big one, with a wingspan of almost 3 inches (8 cm). Like most moths, it is nocturnal and only flies after nightfall.


If your kids (or students) haven’t yet discovered my online Science Dictionary, check it out with them today. It’s there as a resource for them to use with their homework, as well as to entice them to browse, enjoy and learn. 



Photo Credit: Wikimedian Kevincollins123 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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October 20, 2010

'The Universe' cover

People often ask me how I choose the subjects for my books. Titles come about in all sorts of ways.

Sometimes it is simply a topic that I am very passionate about (hence all my books about Space and exploring our universe - this has been a fascination for me since I was a little kid). At other times, my editor and I decide what is needed to "fill out" an existing series. For example, my recent Collins/Smithsonian books have been dealing with environmental topics like Global Warming and Tropical Rainforests, and now I’m just beginning research on a third topic for that environmental strand, about Coral Reefs.


'Silly Dinosaur Riddles' coverOften, I will decide to do a book simply because it is on a topic that I know kids will love. I’ve just finished up a new book with my good friend, the illustrator Dennis Kendrick. It’s called Silly Dinosaur Riddles, and it hits two enduring hot spots for elementary-aged kids — they love dinosaurs, and they love to tell jokes and riddles! So, deciding on that topic was easy, and we’re delighted with the way that it came out. It’s also going to be my first original eBook - designed to read on a smartphone, an iPad, or any other tablet reader. More and more schools and libraries are buying these devices to use with kids, and I’m excited to be creating books that children can read on one of these new readers.


Back in 2002, I wrote two books that I knew my young grandsons would love  — Seymour Simon’s Book of Trucks, and Seymour Simon’s Book of Trains. One of the very nice things about writing for children is that books have long lives. Every three or four years, you get a new crop of kids who grow into the topic or reading level, and fall in love with your book all over again. 

That happened this week with my Book of Trains, when I discovered this lovely review by Frances Loving, a librarian who writes a thoughtful blog called Quiet Ramblings. The book may be almost ten years old, but it’s clearly still relevant for her students! Click here to read her review.

I always like to hear from readers, parents and teachers. If there is a topic that you’d like to see me cover, drop me a note here and let me know! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, eBooks, DInosaurs, Writing, Space   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 13, 2010

People often ask me if I personally shoot all the photographs in my photo-essay books, since both words and images are so important in telling the story. The answer is that although I use my own photographs whenever I can, often the subject matter demands photographs that can only be had from specialists. For example, books like PENGUINS or the forthcoming BUTTERFLIES include photos by professionals who have literally spent years observing and photographing these animals. Part of what I do when I’m writing a book is photo research - scouring the archives to find photographs that I believe will best illuminate and in many cases expand on the text. Sometimes, if I find a photograph that is interesting enough, I will even rewrite the page to go with the photograph. It is a fluid process, writing and doing photo research, and one that I really enjoy. 

I do, however, photograph nature and animals often….pretty much every week I find one day when I can get away from my desk and spend time in the outdoors with my camera. We recently visited an alpaca farm in Columbia County, NY, and I found these animals to be irresistibly photogenic. The bangs hanging over their eyes certainly enhance what are already quirky, expressive faces!  

Alpaca grimaces

 We often are tempted to assign human emotions to animals… thinking that this little guy is looking at me quizzically. The fact of the matter is, when you get close to an alpaca, it often summons up green liquid (from chewing its cud) to spit at you. Spitting is how they stake out their territory, as well as reinforce the pecking order in the herd. Unfortunately, when an alpaca is sucking on partially digested grass, he often gets a bad case of sour mouth.

So, although I’d like to tell you a lovely story about how this young cria (pronounced "cree-ah," the Spanish word for baby alpaca, commonly used among English-speaking breeders, too) and I established a wonderful relationship, the truth is he was just letting me know I was getting too close to his territory!



Posted by: Seymour Simon

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September 21, 2010


As teachers and students settle into the new school year here in North America, I’m busy doing my homework — editing and revising my Science Dictionary. It is now available and searchable for kids on my website, and we’ve added lots of new photos to entice casual browsers. It is also being re-published next year by Dover. So, it’s time for an update.


My process has certainly changed since I first wrote the Dictionary just over 15 years ago. The first time around it took me several years to write it, because I had to research over 2,000 entries by hand, at the library. Now, with the Internet, I am revising and updating the entire volume in a matter of months. That’s what I call progress!

Speaking of progress, the list of new entries has made me realize how much of a scientific and technological revolution we’ve experienced since I first published this book, back in 1994. New entries (which either didn’t exist or weren’t relevant to kids 15 years ago) include: Internetavatarcell phone, International Space StationHubble Space TelescopeGPS, global warmingdigitalforensic scienceCT-Scanoil pollution....the list goes on and on. And of course, Pluto is re-defined as a "dwarf planet, an object in the Kuiper Belt."


One of the great things about publishing on the Internet is that it’s a fluid, evolving media. That means it is possible to continue tweaking, adding, revising and updating my Science Dictionary. So, if there are words that you think should be included, send me a note or comment here.




Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Teachers and Librarians, Writing, Science Dictionary   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 12, 2010

Seymour Simon’s new Collins/Smithsonian book, TROPICAL RAINFORESTS, will be in store on August 24th. And we now have a 90-second video trailer so that you can preview this breathtaking photo essay book. Click here to view and enjoy!

Note to Teachers: This is a "safe" video, hosted on Clicking to watch this video will no longer take you to YouTube, or anywhere off Seymour’s website.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Video, Tropical Rainforests   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 7, 2010

I surprised myself with the answer to a question I was asked at a recent conference. The question was: What is your favorite animal? My initial instinct was to say that it’s impossible to say which is my favorite animal…’s like having favorites among your own children.

Then I realized, to my surprise, that I do have a current favorite animal. It’s the BUTTERFLY! And why are butterflies my favorite? Because I’m writing a new book on butterflies. The manuscript is finished, I’m now researching the accompanying photos, and the book will come out early in 2011 as part of my Collins/Smithsonian series. My editors really pushed me to write about butterflies, and I must confess that at first I resisted. But, as I started to learn about them I became fascinated by these gorgeous creatures that children can observe in the wild, right in their own neighborhoods.

So I suppose the answer to the question regarding "what is my favorite animal" depends on what I am writing at the time. The truth is, the more I learn about a particular species, the more interested I become. That’s the fun of being a science author and also a science reader- constant exploration!



Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

March 22, 2010

Photo Credit: Liz Nealon

The next book that I’m writing for my Smithsonian/Collins series is a book on butterflies. This is a photo of a monarch taken when we were visiting the monarch butterfly trees in Pacific Grove, California. The trees were filled with monarch butterflies; they looked like autumn leaves rustling in the wind. It was magical-realism, something like a scene out of Marquez’s A HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (the book is for adults and may not be appropriate for children). Sad to say, but the population of Monarchs is way down probably due to a number of reasons, not the least is the fact that milkweeds (whose leaves the monarch caterpillars eat)  are being destroyed as a weed alongside some state highways around the country.

Maybe it’s time for butterfly lovers to begin planting a few milkweed plants in butterfly gardens?

Here’s a link to the story (similar to one sent to me by my friend, the cat lady, Carrie Smelser): Female monarch butterflies on 30-year decline in eastern North America 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

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