by Seymour Simon
I surprised myself with the answer to a question I was asked by a student at a recent school visit. The question was: What is your favorite animal? My initial instinct was to say that it’s impossible to say which is my favorite animal…..it’s like having favorites among your own children.
Then I realized that I do have a current favorite animal, the butterfly. And why are butterflies my favorite? Because I just wrote a book called BUTTERFLIES! My editors really pushed me to write about butterflies, and I must confess that at first I resisted. I’m more inclined to get excited about topics like Killer Whales, exploring the Universe, or big Earthquakes. But, as I started to learn about them, I became fascinated by these gorgeous creatures that children can observe in the wild, right in their own neighborhoods.
Did you know that of the more than one million creatures that scientists have discovered and named in the animal world, three-quarters of them are insects? And a third of those insects are butterflies and moths! They have lived on Earth for many millions of years, and the butterflies that flew 100 million years ago look very much like those you see sipping nectar from flowers today.
So I suppose the answer to the question regarding “what is my favorite animal” depends on what I am writing at the time. The truth is, the more I learn about a particular species, the more interested I become. That’s the fun of being a science author and also a science reader — constant exploration!
Every Wednesday, on my own blog, I offer readers a Writing Wednesday exercise, which is linked to the Common Core Standards. One of the recent ones was about Butterflies, as I know it is a topic that nearly every child is familiar with and inspired by. Give it a try with your students!
Save the date! June 23, 2012 Nonfiction Book Blast 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.