Monkey business: A monkey selfie starts a fight

A monkey grabbed a camera from a photographer and took this selfie./WIKIMEDIA

A monkey grabbed a camera from a photographer and took this selfie.

Adapted from CBCnews by Nancy Carson
Level 1

Everyone knows what a selfie is.
It is a photo you take of yourself.
Teenagers take many selfies.
President Obama and the Pope
took selfies.
Some animals take selfies –
if they can touch a camera.

Illustration of selfie by Nola Johnston

Illustration of selfie by Nola Johnston

A nature photographer
David Slater takes photographs.
He photographs life in nature.
In 2011, he travelled to Indonesia.
He took photos of monkeys.

(Click the link to read more.)

Curious monkeys
One monkey watched Slater.
She grabbed his camera.
Then she ran away.
She pressed the shutter
on the camera.
The shutter made a “click” sound.
She liked the sound, so
she clicked it again
and again and again.

Monkey clicks
Every time a shutter clicks,
the camera takes a picture.
Some of the selfies were not clear.
But some were very, very funny.

Selfie is popular
In 2011, the monkey selfie
was on TV, online,
and in the newspaper.
People all over the world
looked at the selfies.
They laughed and laughed.
They sent the selfies to their friends.
One monkey selfie went viral.

Free Picture
Wikimedia put the selfie
in its file of free pictures.
Slater was very angry.
Many times he asked Wikimedia
to take the photo off their site.
Slater says it is his photo.
He believes that artists
must get money for their work.

Wikimedia says no
Wikimedia will not remove
the photo. They say
an animal cannot own a picture
or a piece of art.
A work of art can only
belong to a person.
And the monkey took the picture.
So, Wikimedia says no one
owns the picture.
This means anyone can use it.
And no one pays to use it.

Slater fights back
Slater says the monkey used his camera.
He says he paid to travel to Indonesia.
He set up the camera.
So, the photo belongs to him.
The monkey was his assistant.

What do you think?
Does Slater own the selfie?
Should Slater get money for it?
Or does the monkey own the selfie?
Or does no one own the selfie?

Oxford Word of the Year
Every year, the Oxford Dictionary
adds a new word to its book.
People send words to
the Oxford judges.
And the judges vote yes or no.
In 2013, all the judges
said yes for the word “selfie”!


  • monkey business: silly behaviour or behaviour that is not honest
  • grabbed: took something quickly and suddenly
  • shutter: a cover which opens on part of a camera so you can take a picture
  • viral: something on the internet goes viral when many people like it, and forward it to all their friends or post it online on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • assistant: a person who helps you do something[/stextbox]

DICTIONARIES and “new” words

Did you know?
The Oxford Dictionary is over 100 years old.
People say that English is a language
that is living. This means it is always changing.
So, each year, the writers add
another word to the book. The word does not have to be new but it must have been used by thousands of people in a culture.

No dictionary is ever finished!
1. Read more about the history of this famous English Dictionary.
How long did it take to write the first Oxford English Dictionary?

2. A lexicographer (lek-su-ˈKAW-gru-fer)
is someone who writes or edits a dictionary.

3. A list of computer vocabulary for children gives simple explanations

Some previous Words of the Year:
2005 sudoku, podcast
2007 carbon footprint, locavore
2009 unfriend
2012 omnishambles, GIF (verb)
(Omnishambles: meaning a situation of total chaos)