Label: Winter

January 29, 2013



The past week’s arctic blast has left this lighthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan encased in ice. It is actually not unusual for the lighthouses at this point where the St. Joseph River flows into Lake Michigan to ice over during winter storms, but this is a particularly magnificent photograph because of the pink, sunset light.


Photo: Lisa Davidson Rundell 



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Weather, Winter   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 19, 2012












Snowman looks at the city. He is happy because friends are being created! 


The cities and towns around Seattle, Washington received up to 8 inches of snow yesterday, officially making the winter storm one of Seattle’s 10 worst since the early 1940s, when record-keeping began. Schools and businesses are closed again today, as freezing temperatures have turned slushy roads into sheets of ice. I have a feeling there was a shout of joy early this morning from Seattle kids, who don’t often get a snow day. The snowman is happy, indeed!

The caption for the photograph above was written by Will from Ohio. He submitted this lovely piece of writing as part of yesterday’s “Writing Wednesday.” Nice job, Will!

Photo: Sam Jennings




          Note to Teachers and Library Media Specialists: 

I have created a Guide called “Writing Exciting Nonfiction,” which you can download by clicking on this link. It outlines different techniques that I use in my writing, and includes many examples from my books. I have posted it so that you can use it with your students. Please let me know if it is helpful, and share any other feedback about how we can make this blog a productive tool for you to use in exploring and encouraging nonfiction writing with your students.



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Weather, Writing, Winter   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 19, 2011



As a major winter storm begins hammering parts of the High Plains in far northeast New Mexico, northwest Texas, western Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas, we started wondering about the snowiest places. Where in the U.S. do people get the most snow every year? 


According to the Weather Channel, #5 on the "snowiest list" is Lead, South Dakota. Lead is in the northern Black Hills, where powerful north winds swirl through the surrounding hills.

  • Average yearly snow: 201.4 inches
  • Population: 3,124
  • Snowiest month: March (35 inches)
  • Snowiest day ever: 52 inches (March 14, 1973)
  • Record Depth: 73 inches (March 1, 1998)


#4: Truckee, California. Truckee is in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which have a long, deadly history of burying pioneers and wagon trains, as well as modern trains, in the mountain passes during huge snowstorms.

  • Average yearly snow: 202.6 inches
  • Population : 16,180
  • Snowiest month: February (44.3 inches) 


#3: Hancock, Michigan. Why do they get so much snow in Hancock? In addition to the fact that it is in the far northern part of the U.S., Hancock is also close to Lake Superior, and the cold winds pick up moisture from the lake.

  • Average yearly snow: 211.7 inches 
  • Population: 4,634
  • Snowiest month: January (65.6 inches)
  • Snowiest day: 26.5 inches (January 18, 1996) 
  • Record depth: 73 inches (February 28, 1937)


#2: Crested Butte, Colorado. At an elevation of 8,860 feet, Crested Butte has a history of spectacular New Year’s storms!

  • Average yearly snow: 215.8 inches
  • Population: 1,487 
  • Snowiest month: January (39.5 inches)
  • Snowiest day: 31 inches (January 1, 1982) 
  • Record depth: 120 inches (December 31, 1923)
#1 - the place in the U.S. that gets the most snow - is Valdez, Alaska.  Why do they get so much snow? One of Earth’s most common low pressure systems, the "Aleutian low," settles in each winter just to the southwest of Valdez. When this happens, large amounts of moisture from the Pacific Ocean flood into southern Alaska and because the air is cold, the result is heavy snow. Consistently. EVERY year!
  • Average yearly snow: 326.3 inches
  • Population: 3,976 
  • Snowiest month: December (71.9 inches) 
  • Snowiest day: 47.5 inches (January 16,1990)


Army of Snowmen Photo Courtesy of Nerd Approved.


For those of you receiving iPads or Nook Color/Tablets this season, Seymour Simon has many quality eBooks available for purchase, some discounted as much as 50% for the holidays. If you are adding reading material to a tablet, please consider making Seymour Simon’s exceptional nonfiction for children part of your collection. Happy holidays to all!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Weather, Winter   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 4, 2011

Kids all across America have had plenty of snow days this winter, with a series record-setting snowstorms that started back in December. Today, even kids from Texas to the Carolinas are having a snow day.

It sounds like a good time to settle in, make yourself a cup of cocoa, and browse Seymour’s online Science Dictionary. You can start with the entry for SNOWFLAKE!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Climate Change, Cool Photo, Weather, Winter, Science Dictionary, climate   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 29, 2011


Icicles form when the air temperature is below freezing, 32º Fahrenheit (0º Celsius). Sunlight or the heat coming from houses melts ice and snow on the roof. The melting water dripping down along the edges refreezes in the cold air, forming a carrot-shaped spike of ice, which we call an icicle. Icicles usually don’t grow very large before breaking by their own weight, but this icicle was about 3-feet long, very big for an icicle.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Winter   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 9, 2011


We are snowed in today and the world is blanketed with heavy pillows of pristine snow. It makes me think of a poem by Elinor Wylie, called VELVET SHOES. It begins like this:











Why do you think she called the poem Velvet Shoes?

In the stanza above, she describes the snow as “veils of white lace.” What other images or metaphors can you come up with to describe the snow? If you want to write to me with your description of snow, or upload a photograph that you have taken of snow, you might be published in this blog for all the world to see!

You can read Elinor Wylie’s complete poem, Velvet Shoes, by clicking here, or you can find it in your library. Usually the name of the poem you’re looking for is not the name of the book that it is in, so ask your librarian if you’re not sure where to find it.



 If you’re lucky enough to be

snowed in today, settle in with

a good book and enjoy the

“soundless space” around you.

- Seymour 





Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Seymour Photographs, Writing, Winter, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 7, 2011


The forecast for today was for snow showers beginning in the morning and lasting through this evening into tomorrow. Sounded like ideal “walking in the country” weather to me, so we drove to a nearby place called Bash Bish Falls. I know the name sounds silly, but the actual place is quite wonderful.  It’s a waterfall in a park on the border of New York and Massachusetts. The river waters form on Mt. Washington in Massachusetts, wind their way into New York State and reach a rocky waterfall that plunges from a height of about 200 feet. The river then flows quickly along the bottom of a winding gorge. I’ve seen Bash Bish Falls a number of times in winter and it’s quite spectacular with frozen spray decorating the sides and lots of icy waters.

Unfortunately, the trail was full of slippery ice and it was too dangerous to try to make it all the way up from the parking lot.  So we decided to just drive along the narrow road which winds alongside the river. That’s where I started to take pictures of the icicles that cover the rocks along the road.

Icicles on the rocks form when water seeps through the soil and the cracks in rocks and then freezes as it drips down the rock side. These are just like the icicles that form from dripping roofs in winter. Icicles grow as water trickles down the spear of ice and freeze in successive layers. In other words the icicles don’t freeze all at once, but are built up of layer after layer of frozen water. That makes icicles quite different from snowflakes and much more like hail, which is formed by layer after layer of frozen water.

To me, a rock covered by layers of ice and icicles is the very picture of cold wintertime. What do you think? Do you have a different photo of winter that you like?  Send me an email ( with your favorite winter photo attached. I’ll put your photo on my blog and we can compare!

Icicles anyone?



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Seymour Photographs, Winter   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 22, 2010


I never quite seem to finish my fall cleanup in the garden. One thing leads to another, and suddenly there is snow on the ground with broken stems and brown leaves poking through. I used to feel guilty about it, but a number of years ago I came to embrace the winter garden, even throwing some Christmas lights on a bean trellis that never made it into the barn for the winter!

Of course, you should remove any foliage that has scabs, fungus or other evidence of disease in the autumn. But leave some of the rest so that birds have a place to forage for food, and you will enjoy a winter of bird watching as part of the bargain.

Beneficial insects such as ground beetles, centipedes, millipedes, pill bugs and spiders will also crawl inside leaf piles or dead stalks in order to survive the cold, wet months. Garden spiders, which catch mosquitoes and other harmful insects, often overwinter as eggs. Keep them around by providing safe hiding places for their egg sacks. All of these creatures are our gardening partners, breaking down and adding organics to the soil.

Best of all, I love the architectural quality of the brown, dry stalks, and they look great covered in frost or spider webs.

When you finally cut everything back in spring, be sure to leave them in a stack until May to allow all of the overwintering insects to emerge. I love having a garden, and it has its own special charm in the winter months.



Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: birds, Insects, Winter, Gardening   •  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 20, 2010


I love to photograph at this time of the year. The sun never rises high in the sky, and even in the middle of the afternoon, the fields are bathed in long, purple shadows.

The Native American people call the December moon the "Long Night Moon." A child might think that the longest night of the year is dark and quiet, both animals and plants resting and still. But even on the longest night, the winter solstice, life goes on all around us.

I’ve been tinkering with an idea for a book called THE LONGEST NIGHT. I like the idea of writing about the simple science behind the poetry and beauty of the longest night of the year. Snow crystals dance in the air and settle slowly down on the ground…starlings and nuthatches feed at the bird feeder in the last bit of twilight…a red fox moves through the moonlit night…the full moon reflects on the snow, making it seem as though all the world glistening.

It might start something like this:


What do you think? Is this a book you would like to read with your family?

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Writing, Winter, Solstice   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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