Indonesia celebrates Independence Day. It became free from Dutch control in 1945. About 13,700 islands comprise this archipelago, located between Asia and Australia. The total area of the islands is about three times the size of Texas. Over 251 million people live in Indonesia, making it the fourth most populous country. Jakarta is the capital. Idea: Indonesia grows cassava. Children could find out more about this crop.
Gabon celebrates Independence Day. It gained autonomy from France in 1960. The country, located on the western coast of Africa, is for the most part covered with rain forest. The country’s area is about the same as the area of Colorado, and about 1.6 million people live there. Libreville is the capital.
Robert Fulton’s first steamboat North River Steamboat, also known as the Clermont, was operated for the first time in 1807. It traveled between Albany and New York City. At first called “Fulton’s Folly,” the ship cruised the 150-mile stretch in 32 hours.
Double Eagle II landed in Miserey, France, in 1978. The balloon and its crew, Larry Newman, Ben Abruzzo, and Max Anderson, had left Presque Island, Maine, on August 11, 1978. The balloon was the first one of its kind to travel across the Atlantic Ocean, and the three balloonists instantly became heroes. Idea: Children could list the difficulties the crew faced. For example, where did they sleep?
Davy Crockett (born Hawkins County, Tennessee, 1786; died at the Alamo, March 6, 1836) was an adventurer and a frontier fighter. He represented the state of Tennessee in the House of Representatives from March 4, 1833 to March 4, 1835. Idea: Children could make a timeline of Davy Crockett’s life. Older children could read his autobiography, A Narrative of the Life of Davy Crockett, of the State of Tennessee, at: Project Gutenberg.
Myra Cohn Livingston (born Omaha, Nebraska, 1926; died Los Angeles, California, 1996) wrote books of poetry for children. Her works include Celebrations and Sky Songs. Children can learn more at: Myra Cohn Livingston.
Geneva Grace Stratton-Porter (born near Wabash, Indiana, 1863; died Los Angeles, California, December 6, 1924) wrote books for children. She also wrote articles for magazines, and she was one of the first woman movie producers. Her books include Keeper of the Bees and A Girl of the Limberlost. Children can learn more at: Geneva Grace Stratton-Porter. Children can read many of her works at: Project Gutenberg.
On this day, two events connecting John White and Roanoke occurred:
- Virginia Dare in 1587 was the first child of Europeans to be born in the colonies. Her grandfather was John White, a leader of the Roanoke colony. He and his group had arrived at Roanoke on July 22. He returned to England for more supplies and more people. However, wars and other events delayed his voyage back.
- John White came back to Roanoke on August 18, 1590 to find that the Roanoke colony (and his granddaughter) had disappeared. Children could learn more at: Lost Colony
Phobos, a moon of Mars, was discovered by Asaph Hall of the United States Naval Observatory in 1877. The moon was named after the Greek god Phobos, meaning fear. The small moon actually orbits Mars faster than Mars rotates. Experts believe Phobos may eventually break apart and form a ring around Mars. Children could learn more at: Phobos.
Rosalynn Smith Carter (born Plains, Georgia, 1927) is the wife of Jimmy Carter, thirty-ninth president of the United States. While she was First Lady, she devoted much of her time to the performing arts. She also held a post on the President’s Commission on Mental Health. Children could visit a website at: Rosalynn Smith Carter. Idea: They could find out if the Secret Service protects former First Ladies.
Roberto Clemente (born Carolina, Puerto Rico, 1934; died San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 31, 1972) was a baseball player. He joined the Pittsburgh Pirates and spent his entire career with them. He was killed in a plane crash while trying to deliver supplies to Nicaragua. An earthquake there had devastated parts of the country. He became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. Children could learn more at: Roberto Clemente.
Paula Danziger (born Washington, DC, 1944; died New York, New York, July 8, 2004) was a children’s author. She is well known for her Amber Brown series. After Danziger died, her two close friends, Bruce Coville and Elizabeth Levy, wrote more Amber Brown books in her style. Children could learn more at: Paula Danziger.
Louise Fatio (born Lausanne, Switzerland, 1904; died New Jersey, July 26, 1993) wrote books for children. Her husband, Roger Duvoisin, illustrated many of her works. Her books include Happy Lion and Happy Lion and the Bear.
Sonia Levitin (born Berlin, Germany, 1934) has written at least 37 books for children and young adults. Incident at Loring Groves earned a 1989 Edgar Award, and The Return received a 1987 Sydney Taylor Book Award. Children could learn more at: Sonia Levitin.
Meriwether Lewis (born Albemarle County, Virginia, 1774; died near Nashville, Tennessee, October 11, 1809) was half of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition. He later became governor of the Louisiana Territory. Older children might be able to solve the mystery surrounding Lewis’s death. They could read Meriwether Lewis: Off the Edge of the Map, by Geoff Benge and Janet Benge. They could read his journals at Project Gutenberg.
National Aviation Day is today. The day honors the birth of Orville Wright, the first of the brothers to fly a plane at Kitty Hawk. President Franklin Roosevelt first proposed the day in 1939. Children could celebrate the day by making and flying paper airplanes.
Afghanistan celebrates Independence Day. In 1919 Afghanistan gained its freedom from the United Kingdom. Slightly smaller than the state of Texas, land-locked Afghanistan has an arid to semi-arid climate. Its natural resources include metals and petroleum. Over 31 million people live there, and Kabul is the capital.