Can you name all of the seashells?

If you’ve ever had a chance to go to the beach, you may have noticed the overwhelming number of shells that are scattered all over the sand. Some are big, some are small, and some have a very weird shape. Although the shell is all that’s left now, most of the shells you find have had something living in it at one time or another. Cool, huh?

In Turtle Summer, we are introduced to several different types of seashells. Next time you’re at the beach, see if you can name all of the shells!


monksnailMoon Snail Shell

musselshellMussel Shell 

arkshellArk Shell

clamshellClam Shell 

oliveshellLettered Olive Shell

tulipshellTulip Shell 

whelkshell Knobbed Whelk Shell

oystershellOyster Shell 

jackknifeshellJack Knife Clam Shell

slippershellSlipper Shell 

Cockle Shell

Magic happens in the summer!

It’s finally summertime and everyone is dying to put away their school clothes and bring out the bathing suits. School’s out, it’s beach weather, and we want to spend all of our time out of doors.

But there are so many other things that also happen during the summer right under our noses!

Daisylocks_128Have you noticed all of the flowers that have begun to bloom? How about the daisies? Daisylocks is a story that tells us all about how the wind helps little Daisylocks to get home where she can be planted. There are so many different climates and types of soil around the world, but daisies have to be in just the right place in order to bloom. Next time you see a daisy, take some time to appreciate all that it had to go through in order to become a beautiful flower.


OddDayCOVERIn Turtle Summer, we learn all about how Loggerhead Sea Turtles lay their eggs and how the babies hatch. These sea turtles lay about one hundred eggs four different times each summer–that’s four hundred eggs! The summer is a very busy time for these sea turtles. Mama sea turtle has to make her way onto the shore at night to lay her eggs, and a couple of months later, the baby sea turtles have to find their way from the nest all the way to their home in the ocean. If you ever get a chance to see a Loggerhead Sea Turtle’s nest hatch, stay back and watch as the magic happens.


Turtles are not the only animals that are growing up in the summer. Ferdinand Fox’s First Summer also shows us the story of a baby growing up and learning how to survive on its own over the course of the summer. Foxes have to learn how to protect themselves from other predators and also how to scavenge for their own food so that one day they can also raise their own kits.


It’s amazing how many different plants and animals are born and grow up (or bloom!) during the summer months. Nature is magical and it’s happening all around us! Measure yourself this summer–I bet you’re growing, too!

Celebrate World Turtle Day

It’s no secret that Sylvan Dell loves turtles. From Carolina that started it all to those turtles in our sandbox and Tudley we have written and educated young minds about the turtles living in the sea and on land. Today we celebrate World Turtle Day, started 12 years ago by the American Tortoise Rescue to bring awareness to the problems that the world’s turtles are facing.

Turtles are one of the world’s oldest species, and they are disappearing due to several factors.

  • Turtle habitats are shrinking.
  • The pet market has increased demand and taken turtles out of the wild.
  • Turtles are being poached and sold on the food market. In some countries, their eggs, considered a delicacy are plucked out of nests before they have a chance to hatch.
  • Turtle shells are highly sought after to make fashion, and decorative pieces.
  • Sea turtles nests are very vulnerable to predators and human interference, as well as a shrinking population.
  • Fishing nets are a major threat to the sea turtle population in many parts of the world.

These are only a few factors that threaten turtles, and many of these problems are preventable. Today is a day to learn more about our slow and steady creatures, and do what we can to help keep all our turtles around for 200 million more years.

Turtle Teaching Activity

Right click and save these images to your computer, and then print them out.  Color in the top shell (carapace) and the bottom shell (plastron). Cut out the figures. Fold the strip of paper to make a spring. Tape or glue one end of the folded paper to the top of Tudley and one end to the bottom (as shown). Give his shell a tap and watch him hop!

See more great turtle teaching activities here or learn about what Tudley Didn’t Know at his website.

Get to Know Jennifer Keats Curtis

Jennifer is the author of two great Sylvan Dell books: Turtles in My Sandbox, and Baby Owl’s Rescue. She was nice enough to answer a few questions for Sylvan Dell about her books and writing.

What advice do you have for writers looking to develop or maintain a regular writing schedule?

Regular?! From personal experience—with a very active and fun family including pets; working on books and writing and editing for two magazines; and speaking at schools, I find it nearly impossible to maintain a regular anything! However, I find that, for me, I have to set aside time to write as soon as I’ve finished my research; otherwise, my motivation (and memory) fizzles.

 What are the most frequent questions you receive as an author?

Kids often ask me why I write. I write because I’m nosy! For one thing, when you tell people you are a writer, they start dishing their deepest, darkest secrets, which is always great fun. Plus, the writing process allows me to learn about things I’d otherwise not have the opportunity to know about—like terrapins, owls, and wildlife rehabilitators—and to get answers from real experts.

 What do you hope that children will learn from your stories?

I hope my readers find my words and the illustrator’s fabulous art entertaining and interesting and that they learn a new fact and consider possible ways that they might help animals in need.

 How do your personal experiences shape your stories?

When I was a kid, I didn’t think I liked history. I struggled to memorize dates, facts, and leaders’ names. However, as an adult, I began reading historical nonfiction, and not only do I love it, I have discovered that I remember those important facts love history because it’s written as a story. As an author, I love writing realistic fiction because this is the genre that allows me to create an entertaining story without preaching important information about animals and the ways in which we can help them.

 What does being a green author mean to you?

It’s really an honor that the kids have nicknamed me the “Green Author!” I’m lucky to be able to research and learn about ways we can help our environment from kids, teachers, and experts. I love being able to pass some of this advice along in person and through my writing.

Jennifer Keats Curtis wants to help bring children close to the animals in their own backyards.  By diligently researching her topic and interviewing real experts, including children working to help preserve and protect local wildlife, the journalist has developed a knack for teaching young children about important ecological issues and what they can do to help. Jennifer’s first book, Oshus and Shelly Save the Bay, won the Frederick Douglass Award (Maryland Council of Teachers of English Language Arts). She also wrote Osprey Adventure, based on the work of Peter McGowan, a biologist with US Fish & Wildlife. Most days, Jennifer can be found among students and teachers, talking about literacy or conservation. She also regularly presents writing workshops to elementary school sudents. When she’s not in schools, Jennifer contributes to several magazines and serves as editor-at-large for Maryland Life Magazine. Avid fans of anything having to do with the outdoors, Jennifer and her family spend their summers in and on the Chesapeake Bay. She resides in Maryland, with her family and a wide variety of pets, including a turtle. Visit Jennifer’s website at