Label: School Visits

November 30, 2011

Wow! After I spoke at the morning assembly at Craig Elementary School here in Niskayuna, NY, Ms. O’Sullivan’s third graders went back to their classroom and started writing. At the end of the day, they presented me with an envelope full of writing and drawings. These were lovely thank you notes, which I appreciated very much, but they were more than that. Each student wrote a full page about animals, space, science, my books and my presentation. What a bunch of good writers!

Here are some of their drawings and samples of their writing.


Ben set the scene with a drawing of me in the assembly, holding the little ball that I use to talk about space.



Dear Mr. Simon,

You were very enthusiastic! I like The Paper Airplane Book best.

- Grace


Every word you said sounded so interesting. I want to read a lot of books.

- Cyrus


I know how hard it is to write all the time and make sure your facts are right. But I bet you take a lot of time online first before you start writing a book. I also bet you love astronomy!

-      Paige


Cat drawing by Andy.


Here is a fact about the gray wolf: Their only predator is Man.

- Shae


Mars drawing by Ava



I read more than 30 of your books and want to download your digital books on my iPad.

- Your favorite little book kid, Chris.




Now I know more about nonfiction, and maybe I can make a book myself and it might be nonfiction just like you.

- Abby


Fun fact: every man who has ever walked on the Moon was an Eagle Scout.

- Ethan


Olivia’s drawing of me flying a paper airplane  


I like space books too. I will try looking for the Space Monster book and read it.

- Bhaya


And perhaps best of all, the letters were all gathered together in an envelope that included their full return address, right down to the zip code for the universe! Do you know how to write your return address so that it includes your location in the universe? Click here to find out.


Earth and Moon by Michael


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Kids Write, Teachers and Librarians, Universe   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 29, 2011

For today’s Cool Photo of the Week, Seymour Simon chose this photograph taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, an unmanned satellite that has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2005. The orbiter is searching for evidence that water was once present on the surface of Mars. NASA scientists also want to know whether water was present long enough to support life at some time in the past. 

Look at the deep ditches and trails criss-crossing the sand dunes in an area of Mars known as the Russell Crater. These trails were carved into the landscape by "dust devils," mini-tornadoes that whip across the Martian landscape. The ditches are formed when chunks of frozen carbon dioxide slide down the face of steep dunes.

When I speak at schools, I often tell students about an astronomer named Percival Lowell, who thought he spotted Martian "canals" through his small telescope back in the early 1900s. Do you think it’s possible that he saw these deep trails, leading him to the mistaken idea that the canals must have been dug by intelligent life, or Martians?!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Astronomy, School Visits, Cool Photo, planets, Mars   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 23, 2011

It is easy to see that there is a big Seymour Simon school visit week coming up - we have been getting so many comments from new readers on the Seymour Science blog. Students in the Niskayuna, NY schools - this contest is for you!

Two lucky winners are going to receive personally autographed copies of Seymour Simon’s new book, BUTTERFLIES. Here is what you have to do to enter:

1.    Write a comment on this blog post and tell Seymour whether each of these photographs is a butterfly or a moth.

2.    Tell him how you identified it. Give at least two reasons for each insect.

3.    Tell us your name (first name only), school and email address. Be sure to double-check the spelling of your email address, because that is how we will contact you if you are the winner.

4.    Be sure to post your entry by midnight, Friday, December 2. 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.

What if you don’t know how to tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth? You can find the answer right here on the Seymour Science blog. Look at all the entries under the label "Butterflies." We guarantee you that you will find the answer there!

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!

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: Liz Nealon

(204) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Contests, Teachers and Librarians, insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 16, 2011

Today’s Cool Photo of the Week is a wonderful shot of a "volcano cake," which a parent made when I visited a school several years ago. Isn’t it wonderful?!

The photograph reminds me that I recently received a letter about volcanoes from Andrea G., a fifth grade student at Witch Hazel Elementary School in Oregon. "I love how you wrote the Volcano story.  I love how you added all those different kinds of volcanoes.  I wish you will come to my house and write a story, have an adventure, or go to a restaurant.  It’s very cool that you wrote two hundred books in thirty years.  Do you know a lot about the moon?  How do you know a lot about volcanoes? Thank you for your time."

One of the things that I love about Andrea’s letter is that she called the book my "Volcano story." 

That is exactly how I think about writing my books. Even though they are about real (nonfiction) subjects, I always try to write a story that is fun and exciting to read. It makes me very happy that Andrea sees it that way.

Over the years, both while teaching Science and writing my books, I have indeed come to know a lot about both the moon and about volcanoes. Of course, I studied science in school, both at New York’s Bronx High School of Science and continuing on into college. But it takes more than that. Being interested in science means that you are always learning. There are new discoveries being made all the time, and scientists are constantly testing theories to keep increasing our knowledge and understanding of our planet and the universe in which we live.

So, when I write a book, I have to do research and find out as much as I can, just as you would if you were writing a report for school. For VOLCANOES, I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Hawaii, where I talked to vulcanologists (scientists who specialize in volcanoes), as well as observing and photographing active volcanoes. 

In fact, the subject is so interesting to me that I’ve written TWO different books about volcanoes! I think they are one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful sights in our natural world, don’t you?




Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Volcanoes, Becoming a writer, School Visits, Cool Photo, Kids Write, Earth Science Books, Writing   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 3, 2011


 Seymour Simon is in Howard County, Maryland schools all this week. And, whenever Seymour is out in schools, we know that everybody starts using the website like crazy! So, we’ve decided to run a one-week contest.


We’ve changed the rules of our contest a bit, but the basic idea remains the same. One lucky winner (chosen randomly from everyone who writes) will win a personally autographed copy of Seymour Simon’s book, BABY ANIMALS.




Here is what you need to do to enter:

Look at this picture, of a mother and baby hippopatomus. Tell us what a baby hippo is called, and if you give us the right answer, you could be the winner!

Click on comments at the bottom of this article to give us your answer. The contest ends at midnight, Sunday, May 8th, so write to us soon. Tell us what school you go to, and don’t forget to include an email address (it is ok to use your parent’s or teacher’s email), so that we can get in touch with you if you are our winner.

This contest is open to Seymour Science readers all over the world, but it’s a special treat for Columbia, Maryland students, so get writing!!


Good luck!


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(16) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, School Visits, Contests, Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 15, 2011

I had a great "double Skype" session today with third and fourth graders in two schools in Durham and Middlefield, Connecticut. They have been studying my books and skyping with each other, and today all three of us did a Skype session together.

  The students were very well-prepared with questions about my books. They particularly love the very close up photographs in books like ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES, and wondered: how does the cameraperson get so close to a dangerous animal without getting hurt?

This is a very good question, and one that I am asked quite often. For a shot like this one, of a rattlesnake’s mouth and fangs, the photographer uses a bit of trickery called a "telephoto lens." That lens takes a picture that seems as though you are very, very close, when in fact, you are safely far away. Nobody is going to get THAT close to a poisonous snake!


The round area with a dark slit (at the bottom of the rattlesnake’s mouth) is a duct for releasing the venom. You can learn more about that and see a diagram at this link

Thanks to Mrs. Kohs and everyone who helped to organize today’s Skype session. I really enjoyed talking with you all!


Photograph by Anup Shah/Dembinsky Photo Associates


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animals, Animal Books, School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, snakes, Photography   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 28, 2011

This week I received letters from Chonlatorn S. and Alejandro D., both students at Rue Elementary School in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They had just read my book, ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES, and they were writing to defend the octopus, coyote, and other animals they think should not be in this book because they are not dangerous to humans. Chanlatorn wrote: "When skunks are in danger they will spray on you. They don’t bite you." I agree with both of these readers that no one needs to be afraid of these animals. In fact, that is one of the reasons I wrote the book!

Let me tell you about two Texas students I met last month who really go to extraordinary lengths to teach other students about "animals that nobody loves." Courtney (14) and Erik (12) are homeschooled, and I met them when they came to one of my presentations at a local school. This sister and brother work with an entomologist (pronounced en-toh-MAH-loh-gist, a scientist who specializes in the study of insects) and have started their own business, called NOT SO CREEPY CRITTERS. 












Courtney and Erik, pictured above, told me that this all started because they wanted to help other kids get over feelings of arachnophobia (ah-RACK-no-FO-bia, meaning "fear of spiders"). Spiders do much more good than harm, eating insects that damage crops and other plants. And as Courtney and Erik have learned, some of them even make interesting pets!

This brother and sister team do presentations in classrooms and at kid events, and they introduce their audience to a wide variety of "not so creepy creatures." Their traveling menagerie of live creatures includes 4 colorful tarantulas, 2 different scorpion species, Bearded Dragon, centipede, a snake, Leopard Gecko, Blue-Tongued Skink, Peppered Roaches and Madagascar Hissing Roaches! Last summer they wrote a book, and they are working hard to continue growing their business. They tell me that fainting goats and chickens are next on their list!

Courtney and Eric are well-mannered, dedicated defenders of creepy critters, and they have also built a very informative and interesting website. Check out the section called Arachnids for lots of fascinating spider photographs, and Critter Facts, where you are challenged to decide whether a statement is a fact, or simply an opinion.




Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animals, School Visits, Insects, Kids comments, Spiders, Facts and Fables   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 25, 2011

I very much enjoyed my Skype session this morning with some of the students at Cavallini Middle School in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. They have been studying non-fiction writing, and 20 students were well-prepared with good questions. Nice job, and a great way to start my day!

I thought I’d share one of the answers with you. A student asked me: if I had not become a writer, what would I have done?


Thinking back to my studies, I always loved science. I fell in love with space first, and then animals. In college, I studied Behavioral Psychology, which is really the study of animal behaviors. If I had it to do all over again, I think I would have become a marine biologist. This is probably why I have written so many books about whales, sharks, dolphins, and even keeping saltwater aquariums!


I like doing Skype sessions because they allow me to connect with more students. I get many more requests for school visits than I can accept, as I need to spend at least some time at my desk, researching and writing books! If you are interested in booking me for a Skype session with your school, click on this link on my website to put in your request.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Becoming a writer, School Visits, Sharks, Oceans, Dolphins, Kids comments   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 5, 2011



I can’t wrap up my memories of visiting Corpus Christi without a tip of the hat to the first graders at Crockett Elementary. I think that you guys are DINO-MITE, too!

I loved your very, very tall poster!



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 5, 2011


I met such smart, respectful, curious students in the four Corpus Christi elementary schools that I visited this week. Don’t you love this shot of my conversation with kindergartner Alex Hernandez, with his classmates Elizabeth Garcia, Alizae Herrera and Noah Cardona looking on?

This photograph is by Michael Zamora, a photographer for the Caller-Times newspaper. Thanks so much for posting this great online story with lots of pictures of the kids, the schools, and all the great posters and billboards they made for my visit.



Look at this group of 3rd graders with their VOLCANOES poster. All the classes did lots of preparation for my visit, reading, writing, and creating artwork. There were huge murals on OCEANS and THE MOON that were just great.






Here’s one of the fourth grade classes who read my book EYES AND EARS and wrote about it themselves.






The school also had a writing contest, and I was proud to be photographed with the winners, my fellow authors!

  Thank you to all the librarians, teachers, principals and instructional technology specialists who helped to make this a great week! Librarian Alissa Gonzalez gave me a seed packet along with the paper bouquet, so that we can grow Texas bluebonnets in our garden this summer. I’ll think of Corpus Christi every time I see those blue heads nodding in the breeze!        

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(13) Comments  •   Labels: Becoming a writer, School Visits   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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