Label: Teachers And Librarians

November 7, 2011

I often hear from college students who are studying to be teachers and doing author studies on my books and my writing style. I am always flattered and honored to learn that future teachers have chosen to study my work and plan to use my books in the classroom. Thank you, if you are one of them!

Here are two letters I have received recently, both of which are quite typical of the kind of questions that often come up. I decided to answer them here on the blog, as a way of sharing the information with other education students.

Dear Seymour Simon,

I am presenting an author study on you and your work for my Literacy in the Elementary Classroom class at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. I am contacting you to ask you for any help that you may be able to give me. I chose to focus my attention on three books in particular, Killer Whales, Cats, and Knights and Castles. I am developing three activities that correlate to each book. These activities focus on either fluency, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary and comprehension. I also need to write a paper on you (biographical information) and your writing style. Anything that you can do to help will be greatly appreciated!

Jordan Mertz, Moravian College


Mr. Simon

I am a student at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. I am currently enrolled in a literature for children and adolescents class. My instructor has asked all of her students to present to the rest of the class an Author Illustrator Study. I was reading information about you on your web page but I did not see answers to a couple of questions that I would like to include in my study. What are you hobbies and what do you like to do in your spare time?

For this lesson we also have to prepare a snack for the class that pertains to the author. I was wondering what is your favorite snack?


David Honeycutt

To answer Jordan’s question, I would say that although you could use my books to cover any of these topics, I think that nonfiction photo-essays are particularly well-suited to teaching vocabulary and comprehension. In all three of the books that you are focusing on, your students will come across words that are unfamiliar. One technique that you can teach your students is to look for the little word inside the big word. For example, from the books you have chosen, this would apply to the word "purebred" in CATS, the word "blowhole" in KILLER WHALES, and "crossbow" in KNIGHTS AND CASTLES. You can also encourage your readers to make connections by using all the resources on the page - photographs, graphs and other illustrations - to help them decipher unfamiliar words. Use open-ended questions to initiate discussion that will help students expand their comprehension of the text.

Schools around the country are using my Seymour Science blog to encourage and reward student efforts as growing readers and writers. Last April we had an enormously successful month as readers celebrated Earth Day 2011, culminating in the...

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Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Teacher Guides, Teachers and Librarians, Writing   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 21, 2011

I recently received a letter from Mrs. Koller’s 4th/5th Grade Language Arts Class in California, asking a question that I’m often asked when I visit schools. So, I thought I would answer it here, for everyone to read. 



Dear Mr. Simon,

  We loved your book VOLCANOES!! After reading it in our Houghton Mifflin readers, we read the section, "Meet the Author." The students wanted to know - what made you decide to retire from teaching and become an author? Do you ever miss being in the classroom?

In answer to your questions, I loved teaching, particularly working with smart, interesting kids and exploring subjects together. It doesn’t even have to be Science. I also taught Social Studies, English and Creative Writing while I was a teacher. Whatever the subject, I just loved being a teacher!

I finally stopped teaching after I had written about 100 books. There simply wasn’t enough time to write all the books that publishers were asking me to do and have a teaching job, also.

I always say that I don’t feel that I have ever really stopped teaching, because I visit schools year round and "teach" students all over the country. As long as I continue writing and speaking, I don’t think I will ever really have stopped teaching.






Photo: Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Photographer: Michael Zamora. Reprinted with permission.



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Kids Write, Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 25, 2011

Every year I go to a conference called the International Reading Association. It is a place where publishers show all of their books (and introduce their authors) to teachers from around the country.


I was there last week with my wonderful colleagues from HarperCollins.This is me, signing books. There was such a long line, it wrapped around the booth and down the next aisle! These women do such a good job coordinating a very complicated schedule, and they always make sure to showcase my books and organize a signing.

So, I want to say thank you to Patty Rosati, Laura Lutz, Robin Tordini and Stephanie for all the work they do to prepare for IRA. It is a pleasure to join you guys each year.

Teachers, they also write a fun blog called The Page Turn, "an inside look at books for Teachers and Librarians." Check it out for lots of great inside information about authors and the latest books from HarperCollins. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 24, 2011

I received a letter this week from Hickory Hill Elementary School in Papillion, Nebraska.  The third graders are asking a very good question, and I thought other readers might be interested in this, too. 

Dear Mr. Simon,

My third graders just finished reading the book Giant Snakes in a guided reading group and they had a question regarding the book. On page 16 it states, "Anacondas are the largest snakes on the world" and then on page 19 it says, "The Reticulated Pythons of Southeast Asia are the longest snake in the world." They are curious as to which one really is the biggest snake?  


We really appreciate your books and love the pictures! Thanks in advance for your help with our question!

Hello, Third Graders! Good question. Anacondas are generally the largest (meaning heavier and wider, foot for foot) than pythons. But the Reticulated Pythons are the generally the longest (but not the biggest or largest) snakes in the world. So it all depends upon what you mean by big.

To give you an idea of just how long these snakes are, look at this photograph of kindergartner Faith Hackett holding the head of a Burmese python at Wildwood Park and Zoo in Marshfield, Wis., during a presentation on rescued exotic animals.

Thanks for writing, and happy reading!  


Photo: Dan Young / Marshfield News-Herald via AP   

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: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animals, Animal Books, Kids Write, Teachers and Librarians, snakes   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 5, 2011

        I received a letter today from a student who wants to enter our BABY ANIMALS contest and has some questions about how to use Comments. I have asked Liz Nealon, who works with me on the blog, to help you all with the answers. Happy writing!


- Seymour

Dear Seymour Simon:

I am not sure how to comment. I went to the blog, do you just scroll down and click ‘Comment’?



I am so glad to have a chance to help everybody learn how to comment, because we love to read your writing!

So, let’s get started. At the bottom of each story on the blog, there is a link called "Comment." Move your mouse down, click on that link, and you will get a page that looks like this.

Here is what to do:

1. Type your first name and last initial (no last name) in the first box.

2. No email in the second box - that’s for grownups, unless you are entering a contest. If it is a contest, type in your email so that we can write to you if you are the winner. Once the contest is over, we will no longer save your email.

3. The third box wants to know your location. Just put your state or your country, not the name of your town. We think it is fun for you to see that your fellow Seymour Science readers and writers are from all over the United States, Canada and beyond!

4. The fourth box, called URL, is for adults only. If you enter anything there, we will delete it.

5. Next, click in the big white box and type away - that is where you put your comment! Once you have written your comment, please take a minute and read it over, to be sure that you have said what you mean to. Remember that this is going to be read by a lot of people, so take a minute to check your spelling, and make sure that this is a piece of writing that you want to share with others.

Below the big white box there is just one more thing to do before you are finished.


Type the two squiggly words that you see next to where the arrow is pointing, underneath. That is how you prove that you are a real person, and not an annoying SPAM robot.

Click "Submit" and you are done!


Have you ever noticed that when you add a comment to the blog it doesn’t show up right away? That is because an adult checks every comment before it is posted, to be sure that you did not accidentally give too much information (like your whole name), and also to be sure that what you wrote is something you want the whole world to read (no bullying, making fun of other kids, or saying things that might embarrass you).

That is all there is to it. Readers like "Anonymous" might want to show this blog to their parents and get permission before they try Comments. Once you do, we hope that your parents and teachers will feel good about it, and that you will have fun being part of the kids who talk about cool science with us on the Seymour Science blog.

So go ahead, give it a try! Click on "COMMENTS" at the bottom of this post, and let me know that you’re an expert now!

Families & Educators: Please feel free to write to me any time if you have questions, concerns or suggestions about our privacy policy. Our goal is to increase Internet fluency, build research skills, and empower students with knowledge of the world around them, as well as a love of science. Many children will need your help as they try these things for the first time, and we thank you for your support.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: Contests, Kids Write, Teachers and Librarians, Kids comments   •  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)

May 3, 2011

        I’ve been both a teacher and a student (both in New York City public schools) so Teacher Appreciation Day is also Student Appreciation Day for me. As a student, I remember best my 7th grade science teacher, Mr. D., exhausting the air in a tin can and my gasping as I watched the tin can crumple inward under the pressure of the atmosphere. I also vividly remember hearing my 7th grade English teacher, Ms. K., reading aloud a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I fell in love with poetry that day, an affair that still lasts.

As a teacher, my favorite memory is of once teaching a science lesson and the bell ringing to signal the end of the period in the middle of the lesson. The students spontaneously groaned at the interruption, then burst out laughing at themselves, grabbed their books and raced out of the room. But for that brief moment, they paid me the highest compliment one can ever give to a teacher: their complete interest in my lesson.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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May 2, 2011


Are you a fan of Seymour Simon’s 3D books? If so, you’ll want to know that CREATURES OF THE DARK :: 3D is in Scholastic’s Lucky Book Club starting today. The book comes with 3D glasses, and it is 24 pages chock full of right-in-your-face views of fascinating animals that live their lives in the dark.

This book is only available to order for the month of May, so ask your teacher for a flyer and get it while you can!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animals, Animal Books, Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 22, 2011



Last year was the 40th anniversary of the founding of Earth Day. Many special events happened on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and Seymour Simon was invited to speak to the crowd about what was then his new book, GLOBAL WARMING. The speech is a classic statement of his beliefs about teaching, and our roles, both collectively and individually, as shipmates on planet Earth. We are reprinting it here today as part of our Earth Day commemoration. If it moves you, please click the yellow "Share/Send page" button at the top of this page.

There is a Native American proverb that powers and informs the reasons and ideals of our approach to the problems of climate change and global warming. The proverb is one you may have seen before:


Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents;

it was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors;

we borrow it from our Children.


I was a teacher in the New York City School System for nearly 25 years. I’ve written over 250 books for children about animals and the wonders of Earth and Space. Each year, I speak to thousands and thousands of children in schools in all parts of the country, in the South to the North, from East to West. I tell them about butterflies and polar bears, I talk to them about lightning and tornadoes; I take them on a journey from Earth to the ends of the universe using the words and images in my books. I’ve written books about nearly every science and nature subject you can imagine.

The Earth is so big and the subject is so vast, that you might think that kids get overwhelmed. "What does all this mean to me?" you might think that they respond. Well, you might be surprised at what they really do say. Here’s what many of them ask me: "Where do I fit in? What’s my place in the universe? What is it all about? And what about me?"

That’s what inspired me to write my book GLOBAL WARMING. This is a book for kids and their families. It tells what’s happening in the world of climate change and it tells how those changes affect all of us. Then the book tells what kids and their families might do to make changes in their own and their family’s lives that affect everybody on Earth.

Knowledge empowers people with our most powerful tool: The ability to think and decide. There is no power for change greater than a child discovering what he or she cares about.

Seymour Simon

April 22, 2010 / Washington, DC 

What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of this story, and tell me what you are doing. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(13) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Teachers and Librarians, Seymour Simon, Earth, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 19, 2011

        My wife, Liz, and I have been making our own list of Earth Day pledges this week. No matter how much you love our planet Earth - and we certainly do - you can always do a little bit better. Here is what we have decided to do this year:


1.    We are going to plant a few trees when it gets a little warmer this spring. Did you know that a single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime? Planting trees is an effective, important way to help the environment by reducing the greenhouse effect and combating global warming.

2.    We have also decided to observe Meatless Mondays in our house. This will reduce our carbon footprint because the raising of livestock generates a significant amount of greenhouse gases. Liz posted some great "meatless Monday" recipes on the website this week, for families who would like to try this, too. I can testify to how delicious they are!

3.    We will keep trying to use less water, running the dishwasher only when it’s full, doing laundry in cold water only when we have a full load, and (this is the hardest part) taking shorter showers (but not with cold water, some things are just too difficult). 

4.    And (Liz is particularly excited about this), we are building a butterfly garden, to provide a habitat for these beautiful creatures! 

I am too, because my new book BUTTERFLIES is coming out soon. I’m constantly trying to photograph butterflies and I hope our new garden will attract many different kinds of these beautiful flyers.

On the left is a photograph of the spot, currently overgrown, that we are going to clean out and plant. We will post more photos over the spring and summer, as our butterfly habitat comes to life. 

I would like to hear from all you readers of my Seymour Science blog about what you are doing to reduce their impact on Earth’s resources. A big group of you contributed to Friday’s story, telling us what you are doing to reduce your carbon footprints. Your commitment to our planet Earth and your promises are inspiring!

Now, how about Humble, Texas students? We spent time together in January, and I KNOW that you all care about the environment! Click on "Comments," at the bottom of this story, and tell me what you are going to do, not only in honor of Earth Day, but ongoing.  We will publish all your comments in one big article at the end of Earth Week, to recognize your efforts and inspire other readers to do the same.


Do you need some help to get you started? Some ideas about what you can do to help our environment? Some of my earlier articles, like this story on Global Warming, or another one called "Earth by the Numbers" both have lots of simple ideas for things you can do to make our planet home a greener place.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(16) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians, Kids comments, Earth Day 2011, Gardening   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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