The best part of taking part in my first-ever book signing event a couple weeks ago (a massive affair involving more than 100 children’s book authors) was getting a visit from the granddaddy of children’s science book writers, Seymour Simon. Simon, a former science teacher, began writing for kids in the 1960s. Today, he has more than 250 titles to his name. When I started homeschooling my kids, I soon discovered that no matter what aspect of science we were exploring, there was sure to be a book or two on the subject by Seymour Simon.
Many of Simon’s books – particularly his books on the planets and space — are notable for their stunning photography. They make a wonderful read-aloud for younger kids. But he has many other popular series as well on such topics as weather, animals (both cute and scary), the human body, transportation, and the earth. His See More Readers are perfect for kids who are ready to start reading and learning on their own.
However, the Simon book that has given us the most mileage is very plain by comparison. Pets in a Jar only has simple line drawings (by Betty Frasier), but it is the perfect guide for families who want to observe nature indoors. Simon tells you just how to catch critters, create a comfy environment for them in your jar, how to feed and maintain them, and how to set them free when you’re done. Over the years we’ve pulled this book out for reference when making homes for ants, crickets, tadpoles and hermit crabs.
At the book festival, Simon was nice enough to say he liked the idea behind my science activity book, Discover the Desert. But he also let me know about his newly- revamped website SeymourSimon.com. Among the features that kids and adults should find interesting are a blog (written by Simon and his wife Liz Nealon) that touches on news about science topics like the recent oil spill and tornadoes. There’s also a science dictionary and fun facts, with more content coming soon. If you and your children haven’t discovered the amazing science of Seymour Simon, it’s a great place to begin your journey!