World Diabetes Day is promoted by the International Diabetes Federation. The group’s purpose today is to educate people about diabetes. November 14th was chosen because today is Sir Frederick Grant Banting’s birthday. Born in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, in 1891, he discovered insulin. He died in an airplane crash near Newfoundland in 1941. Children could visit the International Diabetes Federation website to find out more about diabetes: http://www.idf.org/worlddiabetesday/
Nellie Bly began her trip in 1889 to go around the world in eighty days. She was trying to copy the trip Jules Verne created for his character Phileas Fogg. She completed the 24,899 mile trip in slightly over 72 days, returning to New Jersey on January 25, 1890. Children can visit a website devoted to her at: Nellie Bly.
Apollo 12 was launched in 1969. The craft carried astronauts Richard F. Gordon, Alan L. Bean and Pete Conrad to the second landing on the moon’s surface, which occurred on November 19th. They returned to earth November 24th.
Aaron Copland (born Brooklyn, New York, 1900; died North Tarrytown, New York, December 2, 1990) was a composer. Two of his most famous works are Fanfare for the Common Man, composed in 1942, and Appalachian Spring, composed in 1944.
Robert Fulton (born in what is now Fulton Township, Pennsylvania, 1765; died New York, New York, February 24, 1815) did not invent the steamboat, but he did make it practical.
Leo Hendrik Baekland (born Ghent, Belgium, 1863; died Beacon, New York, February 23, 1944) invented Bakelite, an early plastic. Today’s children find plastic all around them. They could list ten items made of plastic and then try to find out what those items were made of before plastic was around.
Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower (born Boone, Iowa, 1896; died Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 1, 1979) was the wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower, thirty-fourth president of the United States. Because he was a military officer for many years, they lived in a variety of places. She enjoyed her years as First Lady. Children could visit a website at: Mamie Eisenhower.
Astrid Lindgren (born Vimmerby, Sweden, 1907; died Stockholm, Sweden, January 28, 2002) was a children’s author. She is famous for her books about Pippi Longstocking. Children could visit a wonderful website with great photos and a wonderful timeline at: Astrid Lindgren. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was created by the Swedish government in 2002 to honor children’s writers and illustrators. The award is not given for a specific work but for a lifetime of achievement. A cash prize of five million Swedish crowns (about $665,000) accompanies the award. The Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs administers the award. The winners are announced in March in Vimmerby, Sweden, Astrid Lindgren’s hometown. The winners receive their awards in May in Stockholm, Sweden. Visit the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award website: ALMA. Children could learn more about Astrid Lindgren and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award by consulting the Children’s Book Award Handbook, by Diana F. Marks.
Patricia Miles Martin, aka Miska Miles (born Cherokee, Kansas, 1899; died San Mateo County, California, 1986) wrote books for children. She received a 1972 Newbery Honor Award for Annie and the Old One. Other works include Small Rabbit and Gertrude’s Pocket.
Claude Monet (born Paris, France, 1840; died Giverny, France, December 5, 1926) was a painter. One of his early paintings was entitled Impression: Sunrise. The painting conveyed his emotions regarding the scene. The title started the movement of impressionism. Children could visit a website at: Claude Monet. Idea: Students could listen to Aaron Copland’s music as they view prints of Monet’s paintings. They could find out how both creative geniuses used emotion and feelings.
Jawaharlah Nehru (born Allahabad, India, 1889; died New Delhi, India, May 27, 1964) was India’s first prime minister after it became an independent country.
William Steig (born New York, New York, 1907; died Boston, Massachusetts, October 3, 2003) was a children’s author and illustrator. He wrote, among other works, Abel’s Island which received a 1977 Newbery Honor Award, and Doctor De Soto, which received a 1983 Newbery Honor Award. His Sylvester and the Magic Pebble received the 1970 Caldecott Award, and The Amazing Bone was a 1977 Caldecott Honor Book. Children could visit a website at: http://us.macmillan.com/author/williamsteig and listen to an excerpt from The One and Only Shrek! Children could learn more at: William Steig.
Japan celebrates Shichi-Go-San. The day translates as “Seven-Five-Three.” Parents take their seven-year-old girls, five-year-old boys, and three-year-olds of either sex to the temples. They thank the guardian spirits for protecting the children and keeping them healthy.
Jeremiah Dixon and Charles Mason started to survey the Mason-Dixon Line in 1763. This line marked the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland. They finished their work on December 26, 1767. Originally their work was to settle a very contentious land dispute between the Penn family (Pennsylvania) and the Calvert family (Maryland). Later, as the Civil War approached, the line somewhat divided the country into the north and the south. Older children can learn much, much more at: Mason-Dixon Line.
Zebulon Pike recorded seeing Pikes Peak in Colorado in 1806. The mountain, with an elevation of 14,115 feet, is a National Historic Landmark. Katharine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful” after visiting the peak.
William Herschel (born Hanover, Germany, 1738; died Slough, England, August 25, 1822) was an astronomer. He discovered Uranus in 1781 and found that it rotated in a direction different from the directions of other planets. He was also active in star astronomy, and he discovered infrared radiation.
Georgia O’Keefe (born Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, 1887; died Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 6, 1986) was an artist. Her works featured nature, and she often painted objects as if she was looking at something under a magnifying glass. She was married to the photographer Alfred Stieglitz. You can see her home, examine her art materials, and view great online exhibits at: Georgia O’Keefe.
Daniel Pinkwater (born Memphis, Tennessee, 1941) is a children’s author and illustrator. He has published at least 100 books, and one of his latest books is Mrs. Noodlekugel. Children can visit his website where you can hear him read several of his books: Daniel Pinkwater.
Great American Smokeout Day hopes to persuade smokers to quit. The day is always the third Thursday in November. The American Cancer Society states that 36.5 million Americans smoke cigarettes. The percentage of American smoking has declined from 42 percent in 1965 to 15 percent in 2015. However, the number of people smoking cigars or pipes is rising. Children could visit a website at: Great American Smokeout Day.
Oklahoma became the forty-sixth state of the United States in 1907. French trappers visited the area around 1700. Several Native American groups were relocated to Oklahoma, only to be forced out later. Oil and gas were and still are important sources of income. Oklahoma’s name can be traced to a Choctaw word okla humma, meaning land of the red people. Its nickname is the Sooner State. Idea: Oklahoma has a panhandle. Children could look at a United States map and find out which other states also have panhandles. Children can visit the America’s Library website and learn about kolaches at: Oklahoma.