Label: Seymour Simon

February 25, 2014

Seymour Simon is preparing to visit Franklin Elementary School in Westfield, NJ next week. Their library media specialist, Mrs. Kennedy, asked if we would run a contest for their students. Seymour loves it when you use his blog in school, so students at Franklin Elementary - this contest is for you!

Two lucky winners are going to receive personally autographed copies of their favorite Seymour Simon book!

Do you have a favorite Seymour Simon book? Is there one that you have taken out of the library many times, or that you go back to when you have free time in the media center? For this contest Seymour Simon invites you to browse through his books in your school library or at a bookstore, or you can look under the "Books" heading on his website, and think about which one of his books you like the best. 

Once you have decided which Seymour Simon book is your favorite, you have to do three things:

1. Tell us the name of the book.

 2. Tell us why you think it is Seymour Simon’s best book.

3. Give at least one example from the text in the book that illustrates your point.

Here is an example. Let’s say that I pick NEPTUNE as my favorite Seymour Simon book. I might write:

Favorite Book: Neptune.

Why it is my favorite: I think it is very interesting to learn how we are exploring the very end of the Solar System. It is amazing to me that humans can learn about a world that is so far away.

Evidence from the Text: I like the way Seymour Simon describes the information we receive from the Voyager 2 probe, which we sent to explore Neptune. He writes: "By 2015, Voyager will reach the heliopause, the true end of the Solar System. Then Voyager will drift silenty through time and space, a testament to the human search for knowledge." I always feel a little sad when I read that. I want to wave and say, ‘Bye, bye and thank you, Voyager!’ I think that is very good writing by Seymour Simon.

Here is how to enter once you have selected your Favorite Seymour Simon Book:

A. Click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of the blog to enter the contest by sharing your favorite book, why it is your favorite, and giving an example from Seymour Simon’s writing in the book to illustrate your point.

B. When you write your information, be sure to also tell us your name (first name only), your grade, and your teacher’s name. That way we can find you if you are the winner!

C. Be sure to post your entry by midnight on Friday, March 7th. The contest ends then. 


  • Two winners will be chosen randomly from all the correct entries. 
  • Students in grades 3-5 may enter individually, and we will pick one winner. 
  • Students in grades 1-2 may enter as a class and work with their teacher or with Ms. Kennedy to enter the contest; there will be one classroom winner. 
  • Both winners will receive a copy of their favorite Seymour Simon book, personally autographed by Seymour Simon.
  • Students who do not attend Franklin Elementary may also enter this contest. If we have at least 10 entries from other schools, we will randomly choose a third prizewinner from the non-Franklin entries. 

So, get to work and send us your entries today. Good luck!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(162) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Seymour Simon, Contests   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 10, 2013

I decided to share photos of my marine reef (salt water) aquarium today because I realized that some of you enjoyed seeing the photo of my freshwater aquarium last week. Many of you responded via Twitter (@seymoursimon), and I liked hearing from teachers who keep aquariums in their classrooms, just as I used to.

I love keeping aquariums and I particularly enjoy having a reef aquarium because of all the fascinating invertebrates that live there.

Here is what is living in my reef aquarium - the black one is called a 3-spot damselfish, there is a pair of clownfish who are together all the time, a yellowtail blue damsel and of course, many living rocks. There is also a fire shrimp (bright red with white antennae - very beautiful) and a porcelain crab, but they both hide under the rock most of the time. I only see them when I feed them and they come out to grab some food.

The black fish is the 3-spot damsel, and it’s getting awfully big. I may end up taking it back to the aquarium store—they will put it into a larger tank where it has plenty of room to grow and can enjoy a life swimming with bigger fish. Although I’d hate to give it up, it gives me a great opportunity to think about which new, beautiful tropical fish to add to this environment. 

I haven’t kept a marine reef aquarium in quite a few years, and when I started reading about what equipment to buy and how to set this one up, I realized that technology really is changing the way we do everything around us. In 1976 I wrote a book for Viking called TROPICAL SALTWATER AQUARIUMS: HOW TO SET THEM UP AND KEEP THEM GOING. Everything (and I mean everything) about the process of setting up a reef aquarium has changed.

It is comforting to know that the inhabitants - that is the fish and invertebrates themselves - are still the same.  


Posted by: Seymour Simon

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December 7, 2013

Every so often, you have to do a big clean up in a freshwater aquarium. There’s too much algae, plants have grown out of control, and it’s just generally overcrowded.

That’s how I was feeling this week, so I pulled everything out, washed it all (no soap! it kills the fish!), trimmed back the plants and squeegeed all the glass. The fish were not happy - I think they were a little freaked out with all their hiding places removed.

But eventually I got everything back in shape and put it back together. Doesn’t it look great?!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Seymour Simon, Pets   •  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

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May 14, 2013

I am Skyping this morning with kids at the Mulberry Elementary School in Auburn, Georgia. I know that you guys have been using my website, so I wanted to create a special blog post just for you.

  Here’s a secret view of what I see while I’m sitting at my keyboard talking with you. Do you see those four little plastic lizards lined up in front of my keyboard? I got them when I spoke at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis earlier this year. They have an amazing Gecko exhibit going on there, and I liked it so much I asked them if I could bring these little toy geckos home with me.

So now, you have a "Seymour-eye-view" of our Skype session!


Update: Tuesday afternoon 

The students from Mulberry Elementary uploaded their own photo, so now I can see what the Skype session looked like from a "kids-eye-view"!

Thanks so much. I really enjoyed all your great questions! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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May 13, 2013

I received a lovely letter from a second grader named Maya this weekend. She asked very good questions, so I thought I would answer it here for everyone to read. Here is what she wrote:

My name is Maya. I am in second grade. I am 8 years old. My birthday is May 22nd. I love writing books. That is my favorite thing to do in school. I have 2 brothers. My school is Maugham Elementary School. I am writing to you because you are my favorite Author.

It was interesting to learn that you have been writing for more than 40 years. Why did you write for more than 40 years? I love writing books! It was surprising to learn that you have written more than 250 books.  Have you written any Dolphin books? I have written an "All About" book about school.  I learned that the first book that you wrote was Space Monsters.  Was it hard to come up with that idea?  It was hard when I wrote my first book.  I love that you read "The Sea Around Us" to come up with the idea.  Did you have to think a lot? I had to think a lot when I written my first book. Can you please write back to me?

Your fan,

Maya B.

Dear Maya,        

Thank you so much for writing! It is always a pleasure to talk about my work as an author with a fellow writer.

I suppose it does seem as though 40 years is a long time to write. However, writing is my job, so just like other grownups you know, I have done my writing job for most of my adult life.

Of course, I am very lucky to have such an enjoyable profession. Even if it were not my job, I think I would write just because I love to do it. Writing books gives me the opportunity to explore new topics and think about how and why things fit together in the natural world. When I am writing, I am always learning.


In answer to your second question, I have indeed written a book called DOLPHINS. They are magnificent creatures of great intelligence.

It is also true that the first book I wrote was called SPACE MONSTERS, when I was in second grade. I loved reading science fiction when I was in elementary school, and I was making up my own stories like the ones that I loved to read in the science fiction magazines of that time. I wish I had a copy of that little handwritten book, but unfortunately it was lost many years ago.

I wrote it again when I was first being published as an adult. This time it was called SPACE MONSTERS FROM MOVIES, TV and BOOKS, and it described all my favorite fictional aliens.

Then last year I wrote a third version, called SILLY SPACE MONSTER JOKES AND RIDDLES. Are you getting the idea that I really, really like space monsters?!

Your last question is probably the most critical one from a fellow writer, as you wonder whether I had to think a lot to write my first book. Of course I did, and in fact, I do a lot of thinking when I write every book. Writing involves a lot of thinking before you start - that helps me get to an outline, which I always do before I start writing.

Then I write a first draft and set it aside for a while....

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Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animal Books, Becoming a writer, Seymour Simon, Kids Write, Space Monsters   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 8, 2013

I received this note today from students in Berlin, Wisconsin. They wrote:

We are studying about non-fiction author craft. We like your books. We like your photographs, your amazing facts, and interesting words. We were wondering what is your favorite book you have written?

Thank you,

Mrs. Graham’s First Grade Class 

Dear Mrs. Graham’s Class: 

Thank you so much for writing. I’m so pleased that you like my books, and that you think that I use interesting words. You are correct - choosing strong words that are very descriptive, or verbs that are full of action is very important if an author wants to make his or her story exciting.

I am afraid I cannot tell you what my favorite book is. That would be like a parent picking his favorite child. Generally, whatever book I am working on at the moment is my "favorite," because I get caught up in how fascinating each topic is. So right now, I am really loving EINSTEIN ANDERSON: SCIENCE GEEK, because that is the book that I have recently finished writing. You can even download a free chapter if you would like to try it out.

Did you know that there is a section on my website called FAQ? That stands for "Frequently Asked Questions," and it is full of all sorts of information about my books and my nonfiction writing. I think you might find some very useful details there while you are studying nonfiction author craft. Click here to read the answers to many questions that kids from around the world write and ask.

Thanks again for writing, and enjoy the end of the school year!

Seymour Simon

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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December 12, 2012

Seymour Simon visited Eleanor Roosevelt School in Morrisville, PA yesterday, and boy, was he surprised at all the things the students and their teachers had done to prepare for him!

Every classroom door was decorated as a different Seymour Simon book, and even the outside doors of the school were wrapped in paper that made them look like our solar system!


Here are photos of some of the great class decorations and bulletin boards:



A bulletin board dedicated to Seymour’s new book, EXTREME EARTH RECORDS.







This room studied POLAR BEARS.








Isn’t this an excellent WOLVES bulletin board?








 This room decided to concentrate on INCREDIBLE SHARKS.






And these guys got really carried away and built a 12-foot long Great White shark in the hallway. Wow! 




Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Seymour Simon   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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)

September 14, 2012

This summer, I was very pleased to be invited back to Columbia Teachers College in New York, where I spoke to 1,200 teachers at their Summer Reading Institute.

I’ve spoken in many places and received many lovely introductions. But this introduction, by Cornelius Minor, Staff Developer Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, was so funny, nice and unusual that I wrote to him and asked for permission to reproduce it here.


Nothing like being introduced by a great writer AND a great speaker! 

When you receive the job to introduce someone, you check the usual sources… Check to see if there’s an official biography on them… Of if you’re a real rock-n-roll type person and you want all the dirty details, you might check the unofficial biography… You might ask close friends, colleagues, or associates of your subject.

So after doing all of those things, I still found it hard to paint a comprehensive picture of Seymour Simon, because in the world of children’s nonfiction writers, Mr. Simon is a Titan. And I’m talking titan in the classic Greek, "I compete with the gods" sense of the word. Have you read his book on sharks? This guy knows the ocean better than Poseidon. There is nothing I can say about him… No accolade that I can call to mind that he has not already earned. 

  •      The American Assoc for the Advancement of Science Lifetime Achievement Award
  •      The New York State Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature
  •      The Hope S. Dean Award from the Boston Public Library
  •      The Washington Post/Children’s Book Guild Award
  •      He has won NUMEROUS Parents Choice Awards

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has him on speed dial. Several of his books have been named outstanding science trade books for children.

He’s even won a Webby Award for his website,

So what do you say about the guy who has done it all? Who do you turn to if you want the inside scoop? Well, the answer, my friends, is quite simple. In today’s social media obsessed culture, all you have to do is consult their Twitter feed. After all, I follow Kim Khardasian… I would be really ashamed of my life I did not balance all of that bubble-headedness with someone real. And speaking as a lifelong fan of his work, Mr. Simon is as real as it gets.

So this is is everything I know about Mr. Simon. In 140 characters or less, of course.

August 3, 2012 9:16am—Quote: "I thought summer was a time to relax and listen to the birds; why am I working so hard?"

I can answer that for you, Mr. Simon. It’s in your DNA!  Mr. Simon was a teacher for 20 years!

He has written close to 300 books on everything from weather patterns, to space, to paper airplanes. There are 1200 of us here this week. We could all form book clubs of four people. Each club could take a different Seymour Simon book, and there would be no repeats.—If you put all of his books end to end, you could line a football field—end zone to end zone. ...An entire football field of books that he wrote! There...

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Posted by: Seymour Simon

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