Label: Seymour Simon

December 13, 2017

I grew up in New York City and never really had much to do with horses. (Though I do have a photo of me when I was a kid alongside a cute pony.  I don’t really remember much about the photo though I do know that the pony was not a regular part of my life.)

My author’s copies of my book HORSES came yesterday. This book is a revision of the original book with new photos and new text, but I was reminded of what happened when I wrote the original book a dozen years ago. For the original book, I was photographing horses in farms in Columbia County in New York State where there were many horse farms. I was just motoring around casually, looking at horses and photographing them when I could get close enough to them from country roads. What often happened though, is that I spent a lot of time just looking and enjoying watching them. And I thought of the cowboy movies and chariot races I had read about and seen in movies. In my mind and in my book, seeing horses galloping about a field is like watching a bit of history playing out in front of you.

Here’s what I wrote in my book:

horse galloping from Seymour Simon's book

I would enjoy reading about your own thoughts about horses in your life. 


The updated edition of Seymour Simon’s book HORSES, cited by the Common Core Standards as an Exemplar Text, will be published on December 26, 2017, and is now available for pre-order. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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December 12, 2017

The outbreak of fires in California remind me of the photography and research I did before I wrote my book WILDFIRES. I spoke at a conference in Fresno and decided to photograph nature in  nearby Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. While photographing I followed a crew of forest rangers and firefighters clearing brush to retard the growth and speed of any future fires. Sometimes that works, other times there is no stopping the explosive growth of wildfires, which is what’s happing now.

 

As I wrote in my book, “A raging wildfire is a frightening thing. Living trees burn as fast as cardboard boxes in a bonfire. Flames race through the treetops, sometimes faster than a person can run, burning at temperatures hot enough to melt steel.”

But then I wrote, “But not all fires are bad. Fires in nature can help as well as harm. A burned forest allows young plants to begin growing. And fire is necessary for some trees, such as sequoias, to release their seeds. Instead of being an ending, fire is often a new chapter in the continuing story of the natural world.”

I think that it is a good thing to teach children that in nature, things are often neither good nor evil, but part of the natural rhythms of the world.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Seymour Simon, Writing, Earth Science Books, Wildfires   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 11, 2017

yellow leaf with raindrops

This is one of the excellent photos in my new book WATER. But this photo is something special. It’s a photo taken by Liz Nealon, my wife and partner in research. Liz is an award-winning producer of children’s TV programs such as The Famous Jett Jackson and Ghostwriter. She was also Creative Director of Sesame Street. Now she is a literary agent specializing in digital children’s books as well as my photo research partner in finding the best photos for my new books as well as revisions of my older books. But this photo was chosen just because she loved the design and then used for my book because it fit the text perfectly. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Seymour Simon, Photography, Water, Liz Nealon   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 10, 2017

All about the water cycle, precipitation, why we need water, and more!

Seymour Simon holding WATER

My brand new book Water was published on October 31, 2017. Water is all around us. It is the most common liquid on our Planet Earth.  It is in the air and in the clouds, in oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams, in ice, in plants and animals, in soil and below Earth’s surface in the top few miles of the crust. Yet water cannot and should not be taken for granted. A person may be able to survive several weeks without food but only several days without water.

Water is the one substance that we are always looking for on other planets and exoplanets. A "Goldilocks Planet" is a planet on which water can exist In liquid form, is is not too hot nor too cold, it is "just right" for the possibility of life. Without water there would be no life.

On a personal note, I thought that water would be a simple subject to write about. But no, water turned out to be both challenging and fascinating. I hope you and your students and children find this book to be a be a captivating introduction to what is the most important substance for living things, water! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Seymour Simon, Earth Science Books, Water, HarperCollins   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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!

MY FAVORITE SEYMOUR SIMON BOOK CONTEST
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. 

Rules:

  • 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, Contests, Seymour Simon   •  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

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

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

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

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....

read more

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

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