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,

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 is only one word to describe that. Damn.

Let’s face it folks, science is sexy. We live in an age where even the superheroes are scientists. You saw Avengers. Iron Man….Scientist. Hulk…Scientist. Captain America. Created by… say it with me….SCIENTISTS. Thor… Not a scientist, but a god… Remember what I was telling you about Seymour Simon knowing more than Poseidon?

This afternoon it is with soulful zeal, and giddy schoolboy fandom that I introduce you to the dean of the children’s science field, Seymour Simon.

  Seymour Simon Keynote 9 August 2012/Reading Institute

Cornelius Minor, Staff Developer Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

  Twitter: @MisterMinor    

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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