Label: Teachers And Librarians

April 17, 2011

The theme for Earth Day 2011 is "A Billion Acts of Green." People from all over our planet are making promises to change their habits or try new activities that will help to "green" our planet by limiting the amount of energy they use, decreasing the amount of waste they produce, and protecting and creating habitats for other living creatures.

I would like the readers of my Seymour Science blog to tell me what they 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, I’d like to hear from the rest of you. 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 your environment a greener place. 

As I write this on Sunday morning, more than 96 MILLION PEOPLE have clicked on the Earth Day website to enter their promises as part of the "Billion Acts of Green." One of the great things about being green is that kids can really make a difference, just as much as adults can. Let’s talk about what we are going to do, and share our own green actions with each other. After all, we only have one planet home.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians, Conservation, Earth Science Books, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 15, 2011

I had a great "double Skype" session today with third and fourth graders in two schools in Durham and Middlefield, Connecticut. They have been studying my books and skyping with each other, and today all three of us did a Skype session together.

  The students were very well-prepared with questions about my books. They particularly love the very close up photographs in books like ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES, and wondered: how does the cameraperson get so close to a dangerous animal without getting hurt?

This is a very good question, and one that I am asked quite often. For a shot like this one, of a rattlesnake’s mouth and fangs, the photographer uses a bit of trickery called a "telephoto lens." That lens takes a picture that seems as though you are very, very close, when in fact, you are safely far away. Nobody is going to get THAT close to a poisonous snake!


The round area with a dark slit (at the bottom of the rattlesnake’s mouth) is a duct for releasing the venom. You can learn more about that and see a diagram at this link

Thanks to Mrs. Kohs and everyone who helped to organize today’s Skype session. I really enjoyed talking with you all!


Photograph by Anup Shah/Dembinsky Photo Associates


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animals, Animal Books, School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, snakes, Photography   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 13, 2011

What animal can . . .

  • run so fast, its feet don’t always touch the ground? 
  • weigh more than 2,000 pounds?
  • sense people’s emotions by their smell?
  •  . . . and wear shoes?

A horse, of course! Horses are some of the most fascinating - and historically important - creatures on Earth. Are you, or your class, interested in horses? We received this letter last week from a teacher:

"Your books are awesome and so engaging for elementary school, middle, and high school students.  I am a 4th grade English Language Arts Teacher and I plan to get your book, HORSES, to use as part of a unit.  Does your book discuss the impact of horses on Native Americans for hunting buffalo?"  

Our answer was "yes," Seymour Simon’s book HORSES includes the role of horses in American history, including their role in making Native Americans "the mounted buffalo hunters and warriors of the Great Plains."













Then we realized that we had never uploaded the free Teacher Guide which you can download from Seymour’s website and use with HORSES. We have added it now now, and it is quite extensive, with Questions for Before and After Reading, Activities, Additional Resources, and a Student Activity page.

If you haven’t yet tried one of Seymour Simon’s Teacher Guides (which are suited for either classroom or home use), try this one today!


All photographs from Seymour Simon’s HORSES (HarperCollins, 2006)

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, Teacher Guides, Teachers and Librarians, Horses   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 27, 2011

What a great time I had at Churchville Elementary School last week! The flurry of reading, writing and sharing by the students - which happened before, during and after my visit - was just wonderful!


Look at this great bulletin board done by sixth graders. They read my GLOBAL WARMING book, used a Carbon Footprint Calculator to determine their own impact on Earth’s atmosphere, and then wrote EARTH PLEDGES about their promises to change their own behavior to be better environmental citizens. Wonderful!


A student named Taylor F. wrote today to tell me that she has read almost all of my books that are in her library - FIFTY-SEVEN (57) books. Wow! Taylor!! You must be one of my biggest fans!

The comments and photographs are still coming in, including this one from a teacher and her son (a third-grader in the school).

Hi Mr. Simon!

Thank you so much for visiting Churchville! I am one of the third grade teachers there, and my son is a third grade student at Churchville as well!  When we got home, we were so excited to talk about your visit!  We love your books and enjoy reading them!  

On a side note, yesterday was our dog’s 10th birthday!  Ethan wanted to share this picture of our dog, Maveric, with you! 

Thank you again,

Tara and Ethan


Maveric is a beautiful dog, isn’t he?

I also received this letter from Mrs. Gorgol. Gail is the librarian at the school, and it is largely due to her efforts, along with Library Assistant Leslie Mulreaney, that the kids and I had such a great time exploring to the ends of the universe and learning about the animals that we each love the most!! Here is the beautiful letter she wrote.

Dear Seymour,

Your engaging website has been a rich resource for our students to learn about science. They have been reading your blog posts at school and at home and many have made personal connections to what they read. As a result of those connections, they were inspired to write comments of their own, send you photos, ask you questions and enter your contests. They did research and conducted a survey. They were excited to see their work published so quickly on your website and shared with a wide audience of readers across the country. This experience has been invaluable for our students as readers, writers and learners. We look forward to continuing to use your website to enrich our exploration and understanding of the fascinating world of science.

Sincerely, Gail Gorgol / Librarian / Churchville Elementary School 


I think that I am the one who should say "thank you" to everyone at Churchville Elementary. You really know how to make an author feel welcome! I loved spending time with you all.

Seymour Simon






Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Dogs, School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Pets, Kids comments   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 24, 2011

Atascociata ESI so enjoyed speaking in Houston area schools last week. On Wednesday, January 19th, I spoke in Meadows and Juan Seguin Elementary Schools in Fort Bend. Shelly Puckett and Denise Waterbury are the librarians in those schools and the children were wonderfully prepared for my visit. On Thursday and Friday, I spoke in Eagle Springs, Bear Branch and Atascocita Elementary Schools in Humble. Donna Smalley, Derry Summer and Anna Codon are the librarians in the Humble schools and they also wonderfully prepared the children for my visit. I am indebted to the librarians for inviting me and making my visit possible, but more than that, I am so pleased to become friends with such wonderful education professionals.

In each of the schools, I spoke to children in large groups from K-5  and I’m pleased to say that I think that my audiences both enjoyed my presentations and learned a lot about science and writing.I invite students, teachers and parents to tell me what they thought about my presentations.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 21, 2011


I had a great time at Eagle Springs Elementary school in Humble, Texas yesterday. Donna Smalley, the librarian at Eagle Springs Elementary school was so quick - click here to see the video full of great photos from our day together. Her note read:  "So many positive and enthusiastic comments (from the students)!"

Thanks, Donna. Your kids were obviously well prepared, and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Eagle Springs!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Video, Animoto   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 14, 2011




What a great surprise arrived in the mail this week - three big envelopes full of thank you cards from every 3rd and 4th grader in San Antonio’s Highland Park School. I am absolutely delighted!







There was lots of excellent artwork, like this drawing by Ashley A. It pictures our entire Solar System, even the Asteroid Belt. This is a very accurate, detailed drawing.



Many writers asked about how I get the photographs that are in my book. Sarah wondered, "Were you nervous when you took pictures of volcanoes?" Alejandro (who drew the cover of my BIG BUGS book) and Wesley (who drew this scary black widow spider!) both wanted to know if I take all of my own photographs. In fact, Wesley asked, "How do you not die while taking these pictures?"



 Good questions. I take some of the photographs in my books, but not all of them. Great spider shots like these are taken by photographers who are also arachnologists (that’s what you call a scientist who specializes in spiders). They use a special lens on their camera that allows them to get a very close-up picture of a spider without getting bitten (and without scaring the spider away). I did take many of the volcano photographs myself, but only from safe spots that were nowhere near hot lava!





Look at this great drawing of a volcano and the hot lava by Jasmin.


And finally, some of you Highland Park writers wanted to know how I feel when I write all of these books. "Do you feel happy or excited?" Analisa sounds as though she worries that it might be a lot of work. "Do you enjoy writing all these books?"


The answer is: I LOVE writing my books! It is a lot of work, because I have to research each subject very carefully, be sure that I am getting all the facts right, find great photographs, and work with my editor, who corrects my work just as your teacher does with yours. But the subjects are so interesting that my work is fun every day. And yes, I do feel very happy and excited when a new book comes out, after all that work.

Thank you again to every student, teacher and librarian who took the time to send me all the beautiful cards. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

- Seymour Simon

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Seymour Photographs, Kids Write, Writing, Kids comments   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 21, 2010




Teachers and Librarians were so welcoming when I was speaking at schools in San Antonio just before the holidays. I was even taken to the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center one day after school. This beautiful, 1200-acre bird haven provides science education for local K-12 schools with a special emphasis on 4th grade. As you can see, “winter” in San Antonio is a little chilly, but nothing like the snow and frigid temperatures that are associated with winter where I live in New York! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Winter, climate   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 14, 2010

I received a wonderful (electronic) packet of letters today from an elementary school teacher in Casablanca, Morocco. It began with the salutation "Salam Aleikum (peace be upon you - our greeting here)," which I thought was a very nice way to begin my day!

Stars book coverShe sent me some letters written by students in her fifth grade ESL class, who have been studying my book STARS. They asked some great questions, which I thought I would answer here.


Q: (from M’hamed M.) I want to tell you that I loved Stars.  I wonder: why did you change from a teacher to writer?

A: I had been writing science articles and books for many years while I was a teacher, and I finally had so many contracts for new books that I decided to focus full-time on writing. However, I don’t think I’ve ever really stopped being a teacher. As long as I am writing books and visiting schools to speak to kids, I’m still teaching, and that makes me very happy.


Q: (from Ahmed A.) I would love to read the book Cats.  I hope the book Cats is your favorite. 

A: Well, Ahmed, I do love cats very much. You might like to read this story about my two cats, Newty Frewty and Mittens, and how they got their names. Asking an author which is my favorite book is like asking a parent which is their favorite child! I love all my books the same, and if I have a "favorite," it is the one that I am writing at any given moment.


Q: (from Nadia C.) Do you write about dolphins? Do you have children?

A: Yes, Nadia, I have written a book called DOLPHINS. They are wonderful animals, and very intelligent. You might like to read this story about experiments that you and your class can do to learn about dolphins.

Yes, I do have children. My oldest son, Robert, is a professor of Computer Science at George Mason University, outside of Washington, DC. My youngest son, Michael, lives in Los Angeles and is a television director. And I have a step-daughter, Jules, who is studying Literature at American University in Washington, DC.

And finally, Alia Z. shared some wonderful information about STARS in her letter.

(Alia) I am going to tell you wonderful and splendid fact. Stars are red balls of gas. There are millions of stars in one galaxy.  Galileo saw stars that nobody on earth ever saw before.

I am always happy to hear from my readers, and especially pleased when the letters come from overseas. Thanks to all the kids at the George Washington Academy in Casablanca for reading my STARS book and taking the time to write!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

November 12, 2010

        Rainforest Collage

The kids at Starrett Elementary School in Arlington did wonderful art projects and book displays for my visit this week. Look at this great collage which they made to represent my latest book, TROPICAL RAINFORESTS. It was made with translucent tissue paper and placed in front of a window, where all those rich greens glowed as if we were in a real rainforest! It was very beautiful, and I liked it enormously.

I’d also like to say a special thanks to librarian Nancy Allmon for all the great work you and your colleagues did. 

Nancy and Seymour with 'Welcome' signIt really made for a memorable visit. And of course, we’ll remember all the great weather and Tex Mex food when we’re back in chilly New York.

I will be back in Texas to speak in San Antonio schools the week of December 13, so kids in SA-Town, get ready for a journey to the end of the Universe!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Tropical Rainforests   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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