Label: School Visits

March 21, 2012




When Seymour Simon visited Carl Sandburg Elementary School in Springfield, Illinois last week, he was interviewed by the 5th Grade Sandburg News Team. Click on the "Play" button below to see their report. (Be patient - it may take a minute or two to load!).





Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Author Study, Kids Write, Seymour Simon, Video   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 18, 2012


Last week, Seymour Simon visited Carl Sanburg Elementary School, in Springfield, Illinois. The fourth and fifth graders made a wonderful book - 100 pages long! - about his life and his books. We decided to scan some of the book and make it into a video, which you can see here. Hope everyone enjoys it!




Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Author Study, Kids Write, Seymour Simon, Video   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 16, 2012



What a great day yesterday at Sandburg Elementary School! Everyone was wonderful, and the 4th and 5th grade students in Ms. Blickhan’s class made an incredible book for me - 100 pages long! They covered my entire life, starting with growing up as a kid in a New York City apartment and writing my first book when I was in second grade…..and carrying all the way through my grownup writing career. Thank you so much - this is really a magnificent piece of work!

Here is an example of one of the pages. I will post more from this great book when I get home.

Thanks again to the Sandburg Elementary kids and staff. You made my visit to Springfield really special!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

March 15, 2012


Today, I am visiting Carl Sandburg Elementary School, in Springfield, Illinois. The most famous native of Springfield is President Abraham Lincoln, but this school is named after another Illinois native, the great poet Carl Sandburg.

Although it’s a sunny day today in Springfield, heading into Sandburg Elementary I am thinking about my favorite Carl Sandburg poem, called FOG. 



The fog comes

on little cat feet.


It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then, moves on.


Can you guess why this is my favorite Sandburg poem? Hint: What does he compare the fog to?

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 10, 2012

This week we ran a contest called WHAT KIND OF CLOUD IS THAT? for students at the K-8 school in Menands, NY, where I visited this week. I asked students to do some research about the three most common types of clouds, and to tell me which one they would be most like to see on a fair weather day. 67 students and classes left comments on the blog with their answers. Wonderful!

How did I come up with a winner among the many correct answers? The winner was randomly chosen by a true random number generator on the website First we listed all the entries on page after page, in order of when they were received. Then we used the random number generator, first to pick a page number and then to pick a number on the page. The winning pick was Delia, a fourth grader. Here is what Delia wrote: 

Hi, Seymour Simon. You are my class’s model right now. We are so excited to meet you we can hardly stay in our seats. The three types of clouds are stratus clouds, cumuls clouds and cirrus clouds. Cumulus clouds are found on a fair weather day.

From Delia, 4th grade

The class pick, for Kindergarten through second grade, was Mrs. Sposito’s first grade class. They wrote:

The three most common clouds are cumulus, stratus, and cirrus. The common cloud you would see on a fair day is cumulus.

By: Mrs. Sposito’s First Grade Class, Menands School


Delia and Mrs. Sposito’s class will receive personally autographed copies of my book WEATHER. Congratulations to both winners, and thank you to everyone who entered. There was some very good writing and thinking posted this week. 

I had so much fun meeting you all this week, and reading all your great writing on my blog. Please keep in touch by telling me about what book of mine you’re reading, and what subjects you like the most!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Contests, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 10, 2012

Look at these great notes from Mrs. Sposito’s first graders at Menands School!

Hi, Seymour Simon,

I went on your blog. I went on Kids. I saw paper airplanes and I made one by myself.    From:  Alexa


We loved your presentation. My favorite book was Earthquakes. I like the videos you made. Thank you for coming to Menands School.   From: Mady


I love that video you showed us. That one with the paper airplane. You sure are a good book writer! I hope you can make more books and come back when ever you can!    From: Toby


How was your day, Seymour Simon was it good or great? My favorIte part was  when we all took a picture.      From: Abbi


I think you write a lot of books. Do you write nonfiction and fiction?    From: Sabrina 


It was a pleasure to meet you, we had lots of fun. I thought the paper airplane was cool. How did you throw that long? Your books are the best I ever read.    From: Reem


I like your Shark book, your Baby Animals book and your Bats book. I like when you threw the paper airplane out the window.   From: E-Sonne


Thanks for coming to our school. Why do you write books? Do you like books? you are the best author! Why did you start writing in second grade? Why do you like animals? Are animals your favorite things? Why do you write nonfiction?      From: Aditi


Thank you for sharing your books. We love your books. We had a great time reading them. Thank you for coming. I loved your video.    From: Roshni

Learn how to fold your own paper airplanes with  THE PAPER AIRPLANE BOOK!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Kids Write, Paper Airplanes   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 9, 2012



I had a wonderful time with the kids at the Menands School yesterday. Each group I spoke with were terrific participants, well-prepared, asking and answering good questions. We had a lot of fun together.

These fifth graders prepared a presentation that included a music performance and an original poem! Here is a video of their performance; the words of their poem are below.

Science and nature he knows very well,

When he writes a book it surely will sell.

Lions and tigers, planets and trees,

Puppies and kittens and human disease.

Tornadoes and blizzards, earthquakes and rain,

He knows all about them, he uses his brain!

Past and present, old and new,

Unsolved mysteries he presents to you.

Read Seymour Simon whenever you can,

And when you do, you’ll become his fan.

Dogs are born both blind and deaf,

Police dogs stop all kinds of theft.

Bloodhounds, terriers, yorkies and shar pei

Are all kinds of dogs that love to play.

Writing nonfiction, advanced technician,

Animals, animals, animals!

Outer space and weather,

Science is his mission.

He is the dean, he is the man,

He can write about anything, yes he can!

He’s taught science, he’s taught writing,

Everything he writes is so exciting!

Funny books, lots of laughs,

Airplane books and tall giraffes.

Science is his main theory,

All those books must make him weary.

Rattlesnakes, hyenas and devil rays

make his book a fright,

And sharks, bats, grizzly bears

are animals that will bite.

Vultures and Gila Monsters

are an interesting lot

But spiders are creepy

and they’re hard to spot.

Writing nonfiction, advanced technician

Animals, animals, animals!

Outer space and weather,

Science is his mission.

Huge coastal storms known as hurricanes,

He knows all about them, he uses his brain.

The history of them, old and new.

And how they can form, he tells to you.

He knows how they start, he knows how they end,

Writing so much he started a trend.


*Fifth graders - I think I missed a word here or there. Someone write and help me correct these lyrics! And thank you again to Mrs. Ford, all the faculty and especially the kids at Menands School for a great day!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(10) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Author Study, Kids Write, Seymour Simon, Video   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 5, 2012

I am going to visit a school in Menands, NY later this week, and in preparation for my visit, Ms. Sposito and her first grade class have been reading my books. What a nice surprise to find the lovely photographs and notes that they have been uploading today!

Abbi and Sabrina wrote: We loved your KILLER WHALES book Seymour Simon. We liked the part about the blowhole.  The picture of the pod looks like a group of whales huddling together to have a meeting. How did you get the photo under the water?


Toby and Varun are fans of AMAZING BATS: We like how you added all the facts about the different kinds of bats. How do you know this much about the gigantic flying fox?


Leilah and Mady learned some surprising things from BABY ANIMALS: We loved your Baby Animals book. We were amazed when we read that a humpback whale is 12 feet long at birth.  We were also surprised to find out that baby garter snakes don’t live with their mothers. 



Alicia, Roshni and Brody wrote: We read your book AMAZING BATS. We loved it! There were some parts we really liked. We thought it was disgusting but cool when we read that the ghost bat eats rats. We wondered, does the little brown bat’s stomach hurt when it eats 600 bugs an hour? We think it is silly to sleep upside down!



LaTrell and E-Sonne wrote: We loved your book KILLER WHALES. Whales are cool because they swim really fast and are so huge! We learned that killer whales eat fish. 



Jayden, Lyam and Alyssa liked the same book: We think the Killer Whale book was amazing! We did not know that whales can breathe on top of the water. We think it is cool that whales use flippers to steer and turn. How did you make the book? 


Alexa and Reem wrote: Hi Seymour Simon. We are glad that you are coming this week because we love your Seymour Simon books! We love to read your BABY ANIMALS book. We liked learning about ducklings. We hope you make more books. See you on Thursday. 



Aditi, Shafe, Alexis and Kamellia like BABY ANIMALS, also. They asked: How do you know so much about baby animals? We are so amazed by your books! We want people to read your books. We found out that baby animals are surviving all over the world. They are living things. Have a nice trip coming all the way to Menands. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, School Visits, Kids Write, whales, SeeMore Readers   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 5, 2012

Students in Springfield, Illinois and their teachers are preparing for my visit next week. They sent me a number of questions which I decided to answer here, so that everyone can read.

Tommy W. asked: Have you ever been diving before?

(SS) Yes, I used to love scuba diving, seeing the fish and collecting shells. It is an amazing world under the sea! In fact, my next book, which is coming out this summer, is about CORAL REEFS. 

Izzy wants to know: How many dolphins are there in the world?

(SS) This is a hard question to answer, since there are at least 45 different dolphin species, and they live all over the world. Some species are declining or endangered, other species are growing and doing well. Scientists estimate that there are about 170-million dolphins currently living on Earth. You can learn a lot more about dolphins in my book about these magnificent creatures.

Tyler C’s question: How long have you been a discovering all this knowledge? (SS) I have loved nature since I was a little kid. Although I grew up in the Bronx - a very crowded part of New York City - the natural world was all around me. There is weather in the city, just as there is in the country. You can see the sun, moon and stars from a rooftop in the city. And I explored a vacant lot on my street, which wasn’t exactly a park, but still had birds, earthworms, small plants, and trees. In fact, when I grew up one of the first books I wrote was called SCIENCE IN A VACANT LOT.

Maddie R.: How do you get all of the pictures in your books? Have you ever
been bitten?
 Sydnee wondered much the same thing: How do you take pictures of sharks without getting bitten?


(SS) I am asked this a lot because photographs are such a big part of telling the stories in my books. Sometimes I travel to places myself and take the photographs. I have photographed glaciers in Alaska, volcanoes in Hawaii and wildfires in California. Other times, I arrange to use other people’s photographs. 

Often these kinds of photographs are taken by the biologists who study the animals because they are with them so often, and have many opportunities to catch just the "right moment" on film. 

These photographers also use very specialized camera equipment, so that they can photograph a dangerous animal from a safe distance, even though the photograph looks as though they are very close by. This distance keeps them from startling the animal, provoking an attack or scaring it away.

Thanks for writing everybody. Although I am happy to answer your questions, I am really more interested in hearing your thoughts about science, nature and fascinating animals. Please come on my Seymour Science blog regularly and use "comments" to tell me what you are discovering as you are reading here.

I am looking forward to meeting you all very soon!

READERS: Are you wondering how to add your own "comment" to this blog? Click here for exact directions on how to add a comment so you can become one of our Seymour Science writers! We also want you to be safe and not share too much information when you write on this blog, so please take a minute to read about how to stay safe on the Internet. We love to hear from you, so give "comments" a try! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(10) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Sharks, Author Study, Dolphins, Kids Write, Seymour Simon, Photography   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 1, 2012

Seymour Simon is preparing to travel to visit a school next week. It is easy to tell because we are getting so many comments from new readers on the Seymour Science blog. Students in the Menands, NY schools - this contest is for you!

  Two lucky winners are going to receive personally autographed copies of Seymour Simon’s book WEATHER! Here is how you enter Seymour’s Cloud Watching Contest:

  1.    Have you ever heard the expression "March comes in like a lion, but goes out like lamb?" There is often blustery, snowy, windy weather at the beginning of March. And that means this month is a perfect time for cloud watching.


2.    Do some research and tell us which are the three most common types of clouds. And, tell us which type of cloud are you most likely to see on a fair weather day.

3.    You can find your information on this blog, in Seymour’s books about weather, or using other resources, like the library and the Internet.

4.    Click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this blog entry to enter the contest by writing what you have learned about clouds.

5.    When you write your information, be sure to also tell us your name (first name only), school and email address. If you do not have an email address, tell us your teacher’s name, so we can contact you if you are the winner.

6.    Be sure to post your entry by midnight, Friday, March 9. The contest ends then.

Two winners will be chosen randomly from all the correct entries. Older students may enter individually, and we will pick one winner. Students in grades K-2 may enter as a class and work with their teacher to enter the contest; there will be one classroom winner. Both winners will receive copies of WEATHER, autographed by Seymour Simon.

So, get to work and send us your entries today. Your comments will be invisible until everyone has a chance to enter. Once the contest is over, we will post everyone’s writing.

Good luck!




For Families, Teachers and Media Specialists: Did you know that there is a free, downloadable "Teachers Guide" for WEATHER? In fact, there are guides for all of Seymour Simon’s Smithsonian books. Become a member of today by clicking on the "Educators and Families" header. We hope you use these extensive, free support materials with your children.


Photo: Seymour Simon 


Posted by: Liz Nealon

Labels: School Visits, Contests, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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