Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859. The original title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. When the sixth edition was printed, the title was shortened to The Origin of Species. The book included information from his time aboard the Beagle expedition in 1830 and other research and correspondence. Children can read The Origin of Species and other books written by Darwin at: Project Gutenberg.
Barbed wire was patented in 1874 by Joseph Glidden of Dekalb, Illinois. Ranchers quickly found his invention to be invaluable, and Glidden became very rich. Barbed wire really changed ranching in the West. Young historians could find out the advantages and disadvantages of barbed wire. View his patent at: Barbed Wire Patent
“Lucy” was found in 1974. Researchers in Hadar, Ethiopia, found hundreds of pieces of bone all from the same skeleton. They named the skeleton Lucy, but her real name is AL 288-1. An Australopithecus afarensis, Lucy is 3.2 million years old. She was about 43 inches tall and probably weighed 65 pounds. Children can learn more at: Lucy.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (born Cheetham Hill, Manchester, England, 1849; died Plandome, Long Island, New York, October 29, 1924) was a writer. Two of her most famous works are Little Lord Fauntleroy, published in 1886, and The Secret Garden, printed in 1910. The Secret Garden is truly a classic. Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Eriksson wrote a wonderful book, Inside the Secret Garden: A Treasury of Crafts, Recipes, and Activities, to accompany the original book. Children can access many of Burnett’s writings at: Project Gutenberg. They can learn more at: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Carlo Collodi (born Carlo Lorenzini in Florence, Italy, 1826; died Florence, Italy, October 26, 1890) wrote The Adventures of Pinocchio in 1883. Children can read his works at: Project Gutenberg
Mordicai Gerstein (born Los Angeles, California, 1935) has written and/or illustrated at least 50 books for children. He illustrated the Something Queer Is Going On series by Elizabeth Levy. He received the 2004 Caldecott Medal for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Children can learn more at: Mordicai Gerstein.
Scott Joplin (born Texarkana, Texas, 1868; died New York, New York, April 1, 1917) was a musician and composer. He was known for his ragtime music.
Saint Junipero Serra (born Majorca, Spain, 1713; died Mission San Carlos Borromeo, California, August 28, 1784) was a Franciscan priest who established the first mission, San Diego de Alcala, in California in 1769. He also created eight other missions in California. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988, and canonized by Pope Francis on September 23, 2015.
Zachary Taylor (born Montebello, Virginia, 1784; died Washington, DC, July 9, 1850) was the twelfth president (1849-1850) of the United States. The son of a Revolutionary War hero, he was proud of being a professional soldier. He served in the military for forty years. He was elected to the presidency, although he had no political experience. Nicknamed “Old Rough and Ready,” he died in office after serving sixteen months. He was the last of the presidents to own slaves. Children can visit a website at: Zachary Taylor.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (born Albi, France, 1864; died Malrome, France, September 9, 1901) was an impressionist painter. He often painted scenes about Paris’s circuses, cabarets and nightclubs. Toulouse-Lautrec also made lithographs. Children could view some of his work at: Toulouse-Lautrec.
Yoshiko Uchida (born Alameda, California, 1921; died Berkeley, California, June 21, 1992) wrote 34 books. Placed in internment camps during World War II, Uchida often explored the topics of ethnicity and racism. Her works include A Jar of Dreams and Journey to Topaz: A Story of the Japanese American Evacuation.
Suriname celebrates Independence Day. It became autonomous in 1975 from the Netherlands. It had been under Dutch control for the most part since 1667. Located on the northeastern coast of South America, the country exports bauxite and wood. According to the CIA World Factbook, Suriname is slightly larger than the state of Georgia. Half a million people live in the country, and half of the population lives in the capital, Paramaribo. Most of the rest of the population lives along the coast. The interior is covered by tropical rainforest.
Evaporated milk was patented in 1884 by John B. Meyenberg of Saint Louis, Missouri. In 1884 refrigerators had not been invented. Meyenberg’s process removed about 60 percent of the water in milk. The remainder was homogenized, canned, and sterilized. The evaporated milk, which occupied far less space than fresh milk, could remain in cans for over a year. People could open the can, pour the evaporated milk into a big container, and add water to reconstitute it. Today most people use evaporated milk in desserts. Children can view the patent application at: Evaporated Milk Patent
Marc Brown (born Erie, Pennsylvania, 1946) is a children’s author and illustrator. He is known for his Arthur books. Children could visit his amazing website to check out some of his activities: Marc Brown
Andrew Carnegie (born Dunfermline, Scotland, 1835; died Shadowbrook, Massachusetts, August 11, 1919) was an industrialist and a philanthropist. He came to America when he was twelve years old. He made a fortune in the steel industry. He donated about 350 million dollars to charity, including money to 2,500 libraries. He also built Carnegie Hall in New York City. Children could brainstorm what causes they would support if they had lots of extra money.
Shirley Climo (born Cleveland, Ohio, 1928; died Los Altos, California, August 25, 2012) was a children’s author. She published approximately 24 books, and one of her most famous books is The Egyptian Cinderella.
P. D. Eastman (born Amherst, Massachusetts, 1909; died Cresskill, New Jersey, January 7, 1986) was a children’s author and illustrator. Under Theodore Geisel’s guidance, Eastman wrote or illustrated at least fifteen books. Children could visit a website at: P. D. Eastman
Stephen Krensky (born Lexington, Massachusetts, 1953) is a children’s author. He has written over 100 books, including My Teacher’s Secret Life and Perfect Pigs. Children should check out his humorous website at: Stephen Krensky
Carrie Amelia Moore Nation (born Garrard County, Kentucky, 1846; died Leavenworth, Kansas, June 9, 1911) was a temperance leader. She felt that saloons were violating the law. Therefore, she and a few followers conceived of hatchetation. She would enter and destroy saloons with her hatchet.
Margie Palatini (born Edison, New Jersey) is a writer and illustrator for children. Her works include Hogg, Hogg, and Hog and Geek Chic. Kids could visit her outstanding website to find all kinds of activities and even readers’ theater scripts: Margie Palatini
Thanksgiving Day was celebrated nationally for the first time in 1789. President Washington issued a proclamation declaring that the day should be one of prayer and thanksgiving. Children could research what the first Thanksgiving meal was. How does it compare to what they eat on the holiday today? In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. In 1941 Congress passed a resolution changing Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November. Children can read about “The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings” at: http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/thanksg.html
Sojourner Truth died in 1883 in Battle Creek, Michigan. She was born a slave in Alster County, New York, possibly in the year 1797. She became a free woman after the New York Emancipation Act of 1827. She became an itinerant preacher, speaking for the cause of abolition. She became famous for her speaking, and she met Abraham Lincoln in the White House in 1864. After the Civil War, she campaigned for women’s rights. Idea: Children could read portions of the book Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I a Woman? by Patricia McKissack. They could read a transcript of her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech at: http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/sojtruth-woman.asp.
Alice in Wonderland was published in 1865. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson wrote the book under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. The book spawned plays, ballets, movies, cartoons, and comic books. Children can read various versions of the book at: Project Gutenberg