Pied Piper of Hamelin, according to legend, piped the rats out of the town and into the river in 1376. When the townspeople refused to pay him, he piped the children out of town as well. The children were never seen again. Many versions of the legend exist, but children could read one of the best, written by Robert Browning and illustrated by Kate Greenaway, at: Pied Piper.
John White and 150 colonists arrived in Roanoke Colony in 1587. They were to join some men who had previously settled there. However, Roanoke was deserted. The group stayed, but John White returned to Great Britain later in the year for more people and supplies. War with Spain kept him in England, and White did not reach Roanoke until August 18, 1590. No colonists were there, and the area became known as the “Lost Colony.” Children could read more at: Lost Colony.
USS Constitution began its maiden voyage in 1798. Nicknamed Old Ironsides, the three-masted, wooden ship was named by President George Washington. She was most active in the War of 1812, and in 1907 she became a museum. Today she is the world’s oldest active vessel. Berthed in the Charlestown Naval Yard in Boston, Massachusetts, she sports a crew of 60 and provides historical perspectives and tours for visitors. Children can learn more at: USS Constitution.
Wiley Post in 1933 became the first person to fly solo around the world. He traveled 15,596 miles, and his voyage lasted 7 days, 18 hours, 49 minutes. About 50,000 people were there when he landed, and he received a ticker tape parade in New York City.
Stephen Vincent Benet (born Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1898; died New York, New York, March 13, 1943) was a writer. He received a Pulitzer for John Brown’s Body, a long poem published in 1928. He won another Pulitzer for Western Star, printed in 1943. He also wrote short stories and novels.
Margery Williams Bianco (born London, England, 1881; died New York, New York, September 4, 1944) wrote books for children. Her book Winterbound received a 1937 Newbery Honor Award. Using the pen name Mary Williams, she wrote The Velveteen Rabbit. Children can read The Velveteen Rabbit at Project Gutenberg.
Alexander Calder (born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1898; died New York, New York, November 11, 1976) was an artist known for making enchanting mobiles. Children can visit a fascinating website at: Calder.
Patricia Calvert (born Great Falls, Montana, 1931) writes books for young adults. Her books include Sooner and The Stone Pony.
Daniel Carroll (born Upper Marlboro, Maryland, 1730; died Rock Creek, Maryland, May 7, 1796) represented Maryland at the Constitutional Convention. Having suffered religious persecution, he helped draft the first amendment and the tenth amendment.
S. E. Hinton (born Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1948) writes books for children and young adults. One of her books is The Outsiders. She received the 1988 Margaret A. Edwards Award for her first five young adult books. Young adults can visit her website at: S. E. Hinton.
Emma Lazarus (born New York, New York, 1849; died New York, New York, November 19, 1887) wrote poetry. Part of her “The New Colossus” was inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Children can read some of her work at: Project Gutenberg.
Gregor Mendel (born Heinzendorf, Austria, 1822; died Brunn, Austria, January 6, 1884) was a monk who pioneered work in genetics. In 1856 he started experiments with pea plants in the monastery vegetable garden. He continued breeding and crossbreeding the plants for a number of years. He kept notes. His work was not seen until after his death.
Reverend William Archibald Spooner (born London, England, 1844; died Oxford, England, August 29, 1930) frequently confused parts of words. These led to spoonerisms. For example, he might say “pony pest card,” instead of “penny post card.” Idea: Children could make up their own spoonerisms. Children could visit a website at: Spooner.
Egypt celebrates Revolution Day. The area of Egypt is about the size of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Nevada combined. A desert country bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt is home to the pyramids of Giza. The Nile flows from south to north through the country. Over 85 million people live in Egypt, and most of them live along the Nile or the Mediterranean Coast. Cairo is the capital.
Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered in 1995. Alan Hale in New Mexico and Thomas Bopp in Arizona, independent of each other, reported the extremely bright comet’s existence. It became visible in May 1996 and remained so until December 1997. Experts believe large telescopes will be able to monitor it until 2020. It may reappear around the year 4385.
Eileen Collins became the first female commander of a space vehicle, Columbia, in 1999. During the mission she and the crew deployed the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which provides data on black holes and exploding stars. Older children could visit a website at: Eileen Collins.
Solar Impulse completed its circumnavigation of earth in 2016. Using only solar energy, the Swiss airplane started its flight from Abu Dhabi, United Emirates, in March 9, 2015. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the co-founders, wanted to show that flight was possible using only solar energy.
Patricia Coombs (born Los Angeles, California, 1926) writes and illustrates books for children. She writes the Dorrie the Little Witch series.
Anthony M. Kennedy (born Sacramento, California, 1936) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court. He began his Supreme Court duties on February 18, 1988.
Robert Quackenbush (born Hollywood, California, 1929) has written at least 110 books and illustrated at least 60 books. He writes the Miss Mallard series. Children could visit his website at: http://www.rquackenbush.com/.
Vera Rubin (born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1928; died Princeton, New Jersey, December 25, 2016) was an astronomer who studied galactic rotation curves. Her work led to the concept of dark matter.