Label: Oceans

February 20, 2014

I had multiple comments from Shanghai students today asking me about rising sea levels. It appears that you have been assigned a report on this topic and are asking me to explain it for you. Unfortunately, I can’t do your homework for you, and if every student wrote to me every night about a topic they needed to learn about, I would spend all my time answering their questions and would not have any time to write books! However, you can use my website to help with your research on future assignments. One way is to look at the yellow bar called "Labels" (on the left hand side of every blog page). If you click on any of those topics, it will take you to a list of previous articles that I have written about the topic. You can also type a key word (for example: "sea level") in the Search box which is at the top of every page on my website, and you may find useful articles that way.

Since you are all asking about a topic that many students wonder about, I am going to make an exception to my rule and write about this important topic today. As the temperature of the Earth warms and the polar ice melts, our sea level is rising worldwide. Over the past 20 years our oceans have been rising by about 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, which is about twice the average speed of the preceding 80 years. 

The reason this is increasing so much more quickly is that for the past 100 years our use of fossil fuels and other human activities have released enormous amounts of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These emissions have caused the Earth’s surface temperature to rise, and the oceans absorb about 80 percent of this additional heat. 

This is causing previously unknown levels of flooding in coastal cities. From the many monsoons which flood Chittagong in Bangladesh, to the effects of cyclone Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines, to the millions of people affected by flooding from Hurricane Sandy in New York City, people in coastal cities and villages worldwide are experiencing the real effect of global warming on rising sea levels.

I have written quite a bit about global warming on this blog. Check the label "global warming" to learn more about this important topic.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Climate Change, Oceans   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 12, 2013

He’s done it again. Seymour Simon has won yet another "Outstanding Science Trade Book K-12" selection by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). This makes more than 80 of his books that have received this important designation, which is even more special this year because for the first time the books were judged on their relevance to the newly published Next Generation Science Standards.

The judges wrote of EXTREME OCEANS: Captivating photographs support treatment of an intriguing topic, including ocean science technology.

Our readers love the book, too. In case you missed it, click here to read a review written by 7-year-old Hagan when the book came out earlier this year.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Oceans, Awards, NSTA   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 31, 2013

I hope everyone is having a good summer break. While I was working on my latest book, CORAL REEFS, I got the urge to start a reef aquarium again (that’s a salt water aquarium - I haven’t had one for quite a few years).


This is a picture of some of the fish, coral, crustaceans (shell fish like crabs) and snails that live there. Many of the coral and the clownfish are fluorescent at night. I could sit and watch for hours….and sometimes I do!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Oceans, Seymour Simon   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 18, 2013

Though we picked our winners at random, we want to recognize some of the other very strong research and writing by the students of Lower Gwynedd Elementary School (and kids from other states, too) as part of the Three Fascinating Facts about Sharks contest. Some of the information that you all found is simply too good not to share! 

Helen, a third grader in Mrs. Salvitti’s class, wrote:

1. Some sharks remain on the move for their whole lives. This forces water over their gills, delivering oxygen to the blood stream. If the shark stops moving then it will suffocate and die.

2. A pup (baby shark) is born ready to take care of itself. The mother shark leaves the pup to fend for itself and the pup usually makes a fast get away before the mother tries to eat it.

3. Not all species of shark give birth to live pups. Some species lay the egg case on the ocean floor and the pup hatches later on its own.

Photo: Gills of a nurse shark 

And how about these interesting facts from Shelby:

1. Sometimes they will take a bite out of their prey or just sink their teeth in to get a taste before they start really feeding.

2. A shark attack on a human usually occurs in less than 6 feet 6 inches of calm water, and within a relatively short distance from shore.

  3.The Megamouth shark is one of the rarest of the shark species. It was discovered in 1976. 

Photo: Megamouth Shark 

We loved all these great comparisons from Zac:

1. Every shark has tiny sensors at the tip of its snout to help it find food like a metal detector finding treasure.

2. Sharks have teeth all over their body. Their skin has really tiny spikes, like a prickle bush.

3. A shark’s teeth are in rows like a roller coaster ride. If a shark looses one of its teeth, one will grow back right away and move forward to take the place of the old one. Just like when a person gets off a roller coaster, a new person will take their place for the next ride.       


Andrew, from 3Go, managed to come up with three unique facts that no one else submitted:

1. Nurse sharks are nocturnal predators.


2. Dogfish are a type of shark.

3. Horn sharks are oviparous.

Photo: Horn Shark


And finally this from fifth grader Cassidy S. This is practically an essay - your information is fascinating, indeed!

1. In New Zealand, there is a shark that barks like a dog. It is called the Swell Shark. It is a catshark of the family Scyliorhinidae. It is found in the subtropical eastern Pacific Ocean.

2. Most sharks give birth to their babies. Only a few sharks lay eggs. Most sharks have six to twelve babies at a time, but a Tiger Shark and Hammerhead can have as many as 40 babies at a time.

3.  The Whale Shark is the biggest fish in the world. It has more than 4,000 teeth, but each is less than 1/8 inch long.  A shark may go through 1,000 sets of teeth during its lifetime.  When a shark loses a tooth, one replaces it. A Whale Shark weighs about 40,000 pounds.


We also had two excellent entries from students who do not...

read more

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Sharks, Oceans, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 18, 2013

Thank you to everyone from Lower Gwynedd Elementary School who entered the THREE FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT SHARKS contest. We enjoyed seeing the choices you made and reading your writing using those words. 85 people entered this contest - that is a lot of excellent research and writing!


As promised, we have selected two winners of this contest, and both will receive an autographed copy of the new edition of Seymour Simon’s EXTREME OCEANS, from Chronicle Books. We chose the winners at random, using a very cool random number generator website called

Are you ready? Here are the winners of Seymour Simon’s SHARKS contest:



Individual Winner: Nathan, from Class 4-O. Nathan’s three fascinating facts were:

1: About 90% of the people who are attacked by sharks survive.

2: If sharks stop moving they start to sink.

3: More people are killed by bee stings than shark attacks.


Classroom Winner:  Mrs. Stapp’s Kindergarten Class. They wrote:

Our Favorite Shark Facts:

1.Sharks lived before the dinosaurs

2. Sharks can smell a drop of blood a mile away.

3. Sharks don’t chew their food.


Congratulations to everyone who entered. Be on the lookout for another blog post, because we enjoyed the work you did for this contest so much, we are going to publish some of your writing for everyone to read.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Sharks, Oceans, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 16, 2013



Today, 9-year-old Will from Ohio writes a kids’ eye review of Seymour Simon’s upcoming new book, CORAL REEFS. It will be published simultaneously in hardcover, paperback and eBook editions on April 23. 



Hi my name is Will. I usually spend my days learning about the civil war, but I took this week to read and think about Coral Reefs by Seymour Simon. It was a wonderful book, filled with information about a different part of the planet. A part that I don’t get to be with very much.

My favorite part of the book was the colorful pictures. The book started off with a beautiful picture of the coral reef. It was filled with fish of all sorts, colorful corals and bright blue water.

I was also really interested in all the ways plants and animals protect themselves. One thing I learned that I never knew before was that some living things disguise themselves to hide from their predators. An example of this was the sponge that makes itself look like a animal. I liked the puffer fish the best because it has an interesting form of self-defense - making itself bigger and growing spikes.

This book made me want to learn more about oceans and the different life forms that live in them. I recommend Coral Reefs to people who are interested in fish, the ocean or sea plants. The pictures are beautiful and you will learn a lot!

Loved your book!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, eBooks, Coral Reefs, Oceans, Kids Write, Conservation, Earth Day 2013, Reviews   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 15, 2013

Fifteen years ago I wrote three books about the amazing travels of animals in the sea, over land, and in the air. These animal migration books were very different from what I usually do because they didn’t use photographs. My editor, Linda Zuckerman, had to work hard to convince me that I should do these stories of awesome animal journeys as illustrated books. I kept resisting, saying that we needed to see photographs of the animals on these extraordinary and in many cases inexplicable travels. Then she showed me the work of a wonderful painter named Elsa Warnick. As soon as I saw Elsa’s luminous watercolor paintings, I knew that I had to work with her on these illustrated books.


I’m not sure, but I think these were the first children’s books that Elsa Warnick illustrated, and she went on to do more. Throughout her career as a painter, Elsa was devoted to teaching other artists, and every summer she would make time to serve as a faculty member at the Portland State University Children’s Book Conference. My condolences go out to her sons, Matt and Milan, who wrote last week to let me know that Elsa had died, and to tell me how much our collaboration meant to her.

Elsa lived on the West Coast and I live on the East Coast, so we had rarely been in touch in recent years, until I called her two years ago to ask her permission to republish these beautiful books in digital. Her paintings came alive once again, this time in professionally narrated, digital editions. I am so happy that she was able to see how beautiful they are.

Here is a sample from THEY SWIM THE SEAS, one of the books we did together. Click on the "play" button down below to view (be patient - it may take as long as a minute or two to load the first time you view it). You will see what a wonderful artist Elsa Warnick was, and why I am so proud of these books.

Educators: Every eBook in the StarWalk Kids streaming eBook collection for Schools and Libraries comes with a free "Teaching Link" document, which makes Common Core correlations and suggests related activities. Click Here to download the Teaching Link document for THEY SWIM THE SEAS, and if you like what you see, visit to learn more about how your institution can subscribe to this affordable, multi-user collection of high quality eBooks which work on whatever kind of computer or tablet your students are using.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, eBooks, Oceans, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 2, 2013



Hooray! SEYMOUR SIMON’S EXTREME OCEANS is being published today by Chronicle Books.


In honor of publication day, we decided to choose our "Cool Photo of the Week" from this amazing book. This is a photograph of the biggest fish in the ocean, the whale shark. Do you see, at the top right in the photo, the size of the human snorkeler compared to the whale shark?

A whale shark can grow to be 50 feet (15 meters) long and can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds (36,288 kilograms). It has a huge mouth and approximately 3,000 very small teeth. Fortunately, the snorkeler has nothing to fear from this huge fish, which does not have much use for its tiny teeth. The whale shark swims with its mouth wide open to collect seawater, then pushes the water out through its gills and eats the small sea animals that are trapped inside its mouth.

Barbara A. Ward, writing in IRA’s Reading Today wrote of EXTREME OCEANS: "The text and photographs in this engaging nonfiction title are sure to appeal to middle grade readers, especially those attracted to anything extreme, in this case, ocean extremes. The book contains twelve short chapters that explore oceans that are extremely warm and those that are extremely cold as well as the life-threatening enormous waves and tides that sweep in from the ocean’s depths so swiftly. In his usual straightforward style replete with interesting details, this nonfiction maven also covers tsunamis, hurricanes, and sea creatures so incredibly dangerous that no diver wants to encounter them, even briefly. Even those who know plenty about the world’s oceans will still be able to add to that knowledge after reading this photograph-filled book. It has an ocean of interesting facts for readers to share with others."

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Animals, Oceans, Cool Photo, Earth Science Books, Earth, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 27, 2013

An advertising billboard that produces water? Strange as it sounds, that is exactly what is happening in a dry, desert area just outside Lima, Peru.  The Spanish words on this billboard read: "A billboard that produces drinkable water from air. It’s imagination in action."

A new engineering college opened there just last year, and they were trying to figure out a way to attract students. When they started thinking about how to grab the attention of future engineers, they decided to put "imagination into action" and show that it is possible to solve people’s everyday problems through engineering and technology.

Here’s how it works. This is a very dry, desert area where some people do not have access to clean drinking water, though they are surrounded by salty seawater. The inside of the billboard has machines that extract water from the humidity in the air, store it in tanks, and filter out the salt to make it drinkable. The water then flows down a pipe to a faucet that anyone can use. The blue words on the pole that say "Agua. Aquí" means "Water. Here!" with an arrow pointing down at the faucet. So far, this single billboard is producing about 25 gallons (96 liters) of drinkable water every day. 

This is just one project, but it shows what we can do by applying our human imagination to figuring out how to use the resources around us to meet everyone’s needs.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Oceans, Conservation, Water   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 11, 2013

I’m so excited about my new book SEYMOUR SIMON’S EXTREME OCEANS, which is being published in April. I loved writing this book because although the oceans are the largest space in the universe which is known to be inhabited by living things, they are still largely unexplored. There are fascinating things being discovered all the time below the ocean’s surface!

One of the nice things about being the author is that you receive a box of your new books so that you can see it before it is out in the stores. I sent a copy to my friend Hagan, who is 7-years-old and in the second grade. Here is his "advance review" of EXTREME OCEANS! 



Dear Seymour,

Your new book Extreme Oceans is awesome!  When my Mom showed me the cover, I was so excited to read it because of the pictures, especially the shark, on the front.  I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.  

I love the chapter, Deep, Dark, and Mysterious

I learned that at the bottom of the ocean when fish are red they look dark to their enemies and prey.  This is better than being silvery colored, because red doesn’t reflect the light at all.  I didn’t know at the bottom of ocean that the water pressure could blow up an animal if you brought it really quick to the surface.  That is crazy!  

I am going with my Mom and Dad to Alaska for spring break.  I would love to see a whale.  They are huge!  In your book, I learned about a fish even bigger than a whale.  It is called a whale shark and can grow up to be over 50 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds.  I always thought sharks killed everything in the ocean, but the whale sharks only eat small sea animals from the water it takes into its big mouth.  They sound cool and nice too.  

This was an awesome book!  Thank you for giving it to me before anyone else.  

Love, Hagan



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Oceans, Kids Write, Reviews   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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