Label: Seymour Simon

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

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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

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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 - www.StarWalkKids.com - so that you can see what we have been doing, and try it out for yourself!

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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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, SemourSimon.com

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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May 10, 2012

Seymour Simon receives many letters from students (and sometimes teachers) asking questions about his books, his life, and his experiences with animals, space, photography, etc.

In fact, he gets so many letters that there is not enough time for him to answer them (this is a man who has written 250 books, and is working on five new ones as we speak!).

So, today we have introduced a new section on his website called FAQ. This is a common Internet term that stands for Frequently Asked Questions.

So now, when you are writing a book report or doing an author study about Seymour Simon, make your first stop the FAQ page on his website. You will find it underneath the "About Seymour Simon" label at the top of every page on his website. I guarantee you that you will learn things about Seymour that you have never known before!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

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April 26, 2012

Will you, your family, or your class be in the Washington, DC area this weekend? If so, please come to the USA Science and Engineering Festival at the Walter E. Washington Conference Center. It is a huge, free event with so many exciting things happen. You can see presentations from the MythBusters  (Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman) and Bill Nye the Science Guy, meet astronauts and explore the inside of a rocket…..step inside an electronic cloud chamber, or watch a robot basketball competition! I was very proud to be chosen as one of their featured authors this year, and I will be speaking at 10am on Saturday (Room 145AB) and signing books afterward.

 

If you are not lucky enough to be in Washington this weekend, you can still watch this video, which was created by the organizers of the Festival. I think it is absolutely thrilling, and they are talking to YOU, the readers of the Seymour Science blog! Check it out and let me know what you think.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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April 20, 2012

Another Earth Day is almost here! This Sunday, April 22, we will celebrate Earth Day and take a moment to reflect on the elegant beauty of our planet. And we will think about how to protect it for future generations.

My wife, Liz Nealon, and I do many things year round to help reduce our impact on the environment around us. We recycle, we plant trees to help cleanse the air, grow our own vegetables so that we can "eat local" as often as possible and eat meatless meals a couple of times a week. We use fluorescent light bulbs and drive a car that reduces our carbon emissions. These are all good choices that most people can make not just on Earth Day, but every day.

But I think I can do more. So, my Earth Day promise is not only to love our home planet, but also to keep writing, visiting schools, talking with students and doing everything I can to inspire my readers to take action on behalf of our planet, Earth.

Because, as a reader named Jackie wrote on my blog last year, "it takes one step at a time and if we start now the Earth will get better sooner. If we don’t start….who will?"


This is your last chance to enter Seymour Simon’s YOUR EARTH DAY PROMISES contest. Prizes include personally autographed books and a free classroom Skype session with Seymour. Click here for details about how to enter. Tomorrow, Saturday, is the last day!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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April 19, 2012

Check out this wonderful video biography (click "Play" below) made by the fourth graders at Middle Gate School, where I visited last week. I love the fact that every page is unique, handmade, and signed. Thanks so much, everybody, for your great work. I really loved our visit together, and I hope you did, too. Please stay in touch with me here on the blog and let me know what you are reading and thinking about.


Be part of Seymour Simon’s celebration of Earth Day 2012 by commenting on blog stories like this one, and telling Seymour about YOUR Earth Day Promises! How are you going to make a difference for the Earth? What will you do to make it be Earth Day / every day? Each time you leave a comment between today and April 22, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free, personally autographed book from Seymour Simon. You must enter by midnight Saturday night, April 21, so get started by clicking "comments" below, and tell us about Your Earth Day Promises!

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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April 19, 2012

 

The second graders at Middle Gate School in Newtown, Connecticut made a wonderful powerpoint in which they contributed all the things they learned during my visit last week. I know that this was really a lot of work, and I love it! Check out the video below to see their wonderful report. 

 

 


Be part of Seymour Simon’s celebration of Earth Day 2012 by commenting on blog stories like this one, and telling Seymour about YOUR Earth Day Promises! How are you going to make a difference for the Earth? What will you do to make it be Earth Day / every day? Each time you leave a comment between today and April 22, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free, personally autographed book from Seymour Simon. You must enter by midnight Saturday night, April 21, so get started by clicking "comments" below, and tell us about Your Earth Day Promises!

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

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