A new weekly column about animals for The Boston Globe

Sy is writing a new weekly column about animals for The Boston Globe. She shares the writing of Tamed/Untamed with her good friend Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs. They will alternate every week. On the last week of the month, they’ll try to answer your questions about animals. Contact them: syandlizletters@gmail.com Sy’s first column — Psychological effects of pets are profound – can be read here.

The bulletin board at PS 14 after Sy's virtual visit.
The bulletin board at PS 14 after Sy’s virtual visit.
Sy started off the year with a Skype visit with eleven 4th grade classes at PS 14 in Queens. The session was organized by teacher and journalist Markos Papadatos–who wore his tarantula tie in honor of the occasion.

A highlight of our virtual visit was a letter written by one student to the French Government pleading for protection for the tarantulas, who are frequently killed to be encased in Lucite as souvenirs. Tarantulas are important because their venom can yield important drugs. But also, noted the student, if these beautiful spiders are killed, “the rain forest will feel lonely and it will not be exciting.” Here is the letter:

Dear French Government,

Please stop killing tarantulas. You need to protect them from being killed. People should not kill them for souvenirs because they are so important to us.

One reason why you should protect tarantulas is they save our lives because their venom stop us from having heart attacks. This can help lots of people.

Also they make an important part of the rainforest. If they are killed the rain forest will feel lonely and it will not be exciting.

Another reason why you should not kill tarantulas is because people like to study them. If people study them they will continue to make amazing discoveries.

After reading the Tarantula Scientist, this is why you need to make laws to protect the tarantulas from being killed.


Dayabara, Class 4-314

An international honor for Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World. Temple Grandin has been selected for the IBBY Documentation Centre for Young People with Disabilities. The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization based in Switzerland which represents a network of people from all over the world who are dedicated to bringing books and children together.

Photo by Nic Bishop
Photo by Nic Bishop
Chasing Cheetahs is a finalist for a 2014 Cybils Awards. The Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Awards “aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal.” The nomination for Cheetahs says: “This is a perfect blend of inspiration and science, encouraging kids to dig deeper and think about a popular topic. A great book for strong middle-grade readers to enjoy on their own or to read together as a family or class.”