Label: Space Monsters

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)

October 23, 2012

 

 

I had such a good experience with Mrs. Klott’s second grade class at Scanlan Oaks Elementary School in Sugar Land, Texas last week.

 

 

 

 

They did a big research project and assembled all their writing and photographs into a book that they called SWIMMING SHARKS. This kind of book - where words and photographs work together to tell the story - is called a "photo essay." Many of my books (like my SHARKS book) are also photo essays.

Here is what they wrote on the first page:

About the Authors:
Mrs. Klott’s class is taking a bite out of learning every day, and loves to research science topics. They have already learned about sharks, wild weather, and plants. They have an aquarium full of fish for their class pets. They will continue to grow and learn together for the rest of this school year. They all love to read nonfiction books!

This sounds like my kind of class!

The whole book is wonderful, but I only have room to show you a couple of pages. These are both great ones.

 

Thank you, everyone, for making this lovely book for me. It is right here in my office, on my desk.

I also thank you for your excellent Writing Wednesday work last week. You can read more excellent writing by these second graders by clicking here to see how they analyzed the humorous writing in SILLY SPACE MONSTER JOKES AND RIDDLES. Their writing is at the bottom of the post - click on the yellow "comments" button to see.

Great job, Mrs. Klott’s class! It was a pleasure to meet you.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Sharks, School Visits, Kids Write, Space Monsters   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 26, 2012

Welcome to an Out of This World Writing Wednesday!

When Seymour Simon was in second grade, he wrote his first book, called SPACE MONSTERS. He loved to imagine that there were aliens living on Mars, and he wrote and illustrated a science fiction story about it.

When he grew up, Seymour wrote and published a real book called SPACE MONSTERS, about Martians and other aliens as they appeared in books, movies and television series. That was long ago - the book is long out of print, and all the photographs inside were in black and white.

  This year, Seymour Simon decided to go back to his favorite topic one more time, this time working with his friend and collaborator Dennis Kendrick on a new eBook called SILLY SPACE MONSTER JOKES AND RIDDLES. They had a lot of fun working on the book, because it allowed them to imagine all sorts of crazy and funny ways that you might draw a space monster.

 

So today, for Writing Wednesday, we’d like you to look at both panels (below) of this joke from SILLY SPACE MONSTER JOKES AND RIDDLES, and think about all the things that make it funny. How are the words that Seymour Simon has chosen unexpected, surprising or funny? And tell us about the details in Dennis Kendrick’s illustrations that make you laugh.

When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" button below to post your writing.

Happy Silly Writing Wednesday!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise is designed to use in support of CCSS Language Standard #5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings; Reading/Literature Standard #1: Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events. SILLY SPACE MONSTER JOKES AND RIDDLES is one of the digital exclusive, recorded eBooks available in the StarWalk Kids digital collection. Click here for more information about signing up for a free, 60-day trial for your school.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, New Books, eBooks, Jokes, Jokes, Space Monsters, Science Fiction   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 8, 2011

       

When I speak in schools, I usually tell the story of writing my first book, called SPACE MONSTERS, when I was in second grade. Since I have been in a lot of schools recently, I have been hearing from students who love writing, and are asking for advice on how to become authors.

A dog-lover named Natalie wrote:

Ever since I was in 1st grade, I have wanted to be a writer to express my deep imagination. I have written fantasy books like you wrote Space Monsters. Every time I start a book I want to start a new one with a complete new idea. How do you stick to one book topic at a time?

Or this note, from Marissa:

I want to become an author when I grow up. I write every day. I just wrote a few stories in my writer’s notebook at school! I tried to write a chapter book, it has a few chapters.

Dina, whose school I visited this winter, asked:

What do you think I should do to be a good writer like you? You already told us to start writing while you are a kid but I want to know more. I’m very interested about you and writing! 

I’m so glad to receive letters like these from fellow writers! I think that writers begin their life as a writer when they are young, just as you are. It’s important to keep writing as much as you can. I’ve written many books and usually work on several books at the same time. I do research on a number of topics and write about one of them. I think you might like to do the same.

While you are working on a book or story, keep the ideas for future books coming. Keep a notebook or journal where you jot down your story ideas, and any details that seem important to you. That way, you can stick with the one story that you’re working on until you are finished, but you are still keeping track of ideas that you might want to write about later. Sometimes I go back and write a book from a scrap of an idea that I jotted down years before. So don’t be shy about writing down your thoughts. You never know when they might come in handy!

Finishing a book is always much harder than starting a new book. But like everything else that you want to learn to do well, writing takes practice. The more you write, the better you get at it, and the easier it becomes.

I wish you well with all your writing projects!

Your fellow writer,

Seymour

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Becoming a writer, Kids Write, Space Monsters   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 4, 2010

How does the new NASA announcement impact my old book, SPACE MONSTERS?

The first book I ever wrote was titled SPACE MONSTERS. I wrote it when I was in 2nd Grade in elementary school in the Bronx. It was about taking a trip to a strange planet circling some distant star way out in the Milky Way Galaxy. I made up stories about the life that you could see on this make-believe planet and even drew my own pictures of those "space monsters." Have you ever written a book like mine? Lots of kids do.

When I grew up, I wrote the book again. This time it was really published. The title is SPACE MONSTERS FROM MOVIES, TV AND BOOKS. Here’s a picture of the cover of that book. 

Would I need to change my book if I wrote it today in stead of way back when I was 8 years old? Not really. I was already imagining all kinds of life, some based on Silicon rather than Carbon. I called them "Rock Monsters." (Silicon is an element present in rocks and minerals, much the way Carbon is an element present in living things that we know.) In science fiction, you can imagine all kinds of interesting things. Sometimes an idea that you imagine in Science Fiction comes true in real Science. How about you trying to imagine a discovery in a science fiction story? Wouldn’t if be fun if your discovery came out to be true when you’re older? 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Writing, Space Monsters   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 8, 2010

I read a lot of science fiction when I was a kid. It was reading science fiction that made me so interested in science. In fact, I began writing because of science fiction. I wrote my first book when I was in 2nd grade. It was a book called SPACE MONSTERS. It was about taking a trip to a distant planet, far out in space, and having adventures with the living things on that imaginary planet. I even drew the pictures for my book. Most of the pictures were of what we science fiction fans called BEM’s. Bug Eyed Monsters. I remember that my teacher stapled the pages of my hand-written and illustrated book together and made me read it to the class. That was my first book. Ball players don’t pick up a ball or kick up for the first time in their lives when they’re adults. They begin playing ball when they’re young. The same thing is true of artists, musicians and writers. They begin when they’re young.

Many years after I wrote SPACE MONSTERS in 2nd grade, I wrote it again (a bit differently) and it was published. It’s a kind of history of my reading Science Fiction stories in books and magazines and also watching SciFi on television and in films. Are you becoming an author? What are you writing about? Write a note to me on my site and tell me. Best story I get from an elementary school student by the end of the summer gets a free copy of a book of mine (your choice) and gets his/her story published on my blog! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Becoming a writer, Contests, Kids Write, Space Monsters, Science Fiction   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 13, 2010



It’s so much fun speaking to kids! This is a group of middle-graders at a school in Saddle River, New Jersey. They’ll all raising both hands (along with me) so we can see what the number 250 looks like in reality.  Why 250? The kids know. They also know viscerally how far the moon is and how much further are the planets. Not to mention the stars. The kids knew the answers to almost all the questions that I asked during my presentation. They knew the symbol for infinity and guessed that it would make a good zip code for the universe. The only question that they couldn’t guess the answer to was: What was my favorite planet (other than Earth)when I was in 2nd grade? This was even after my telling them that the first book I ever wrote (in 2nd grade)was SPACE MONSTERS! You (of course) know the answer to that question, right? 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Space Monsters   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 2, 2010

Here is an excerpt from a lovely note and photograph that I’ve received from Renonia West, the librarian in Miles, Texas. We met when I spoke down there in February.

I am the librarian in Miles, Texas. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed listening to you at the Literacy Conference in San Angelo. I came back to school and made up a center featuring your books, with pictures. The kids loved all the stories that you told about flying the paper airplanes out of the window in New York, and your going up in the plane in Alaska.


I have really been encouraging all the kids to write and be authors, so I told them about you writing your first book about space aliens, in elementary school. Also they were thrilled to see your autograph in two of our books that I brought for you to sign. The kids have really been reading your books especially the "Hidden Worlds" book. I hope you enjoyed your extra day in San Angelo. We actually had some snow here on Tuesday!


I love it that Ms. West is encouraging all her readers to be writers, as well. My "first book" that she refers to was indeed titled SPACE MONSTERS, and I wrote it when I was in second grade.

If you want to be a writer, the most important thing to do is write as often you can. Just as athletes begin playing sports when they are kids and grow into professional athletes, writers also begin writing when they are kids and grow into professional writers. If you want to be an Olympic hockey player someday, you join a team and start going to practice early every morning. If you want to be a writer, get yourself a blank notebook and start writing every day. And you don’t have to get up at 4am to do it! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Becoming a writer, Space Monsters   •  Permalink (link to this article)