Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) celebrates Republic Day when in 1975 the country ended its monarchy. This land-locked country in Southeast Asia is about the size of Utah. About 6.5 million people live in this mountainous, forested country. Vientiane is the capital. The country exports coffee and tin.
Illinois became the twenty-first state of the United States in 1818. Its name derives from the word iliniwek, meaning tribe of the superior men. The state’s nickname is the Prairie State. While Springfield is the state capital, Chicago is a very large transportation center for rail, air and water. Springfield was the site of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. Illinois still grows large amounts of corn and soybeans, but it also has deposits of coal and gas. The monarch butterfly is the state insect. Children could visit an Internet site at: Illinois. Monarch butterflies make annual migrations to winter in trees in Mexico, California and Florida. Children could find out more about the monarch butterfly and its migration patterns.
Frederick Douglass in 1847 printed the first issue of North Star, an abolitionist newspaper. Older children could read his words at: North Star
Joseph Conrad (born Jozef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Kozeniowski in Poland, 1857; died Bishopsbourne, Kent, England, August 3, 1924) was a writer. He came to England when he was sixteen; he could not speak English. He worked for the British navy for sixteen years and perfected his English. Most of his works relate to the sea. One of his most famous works is Lord Jim, published in 1900. Older children can read his works at: Project Gutenberg
Gilbert Charles Stuart (born Narragansett, Rhode Island, 1755; died Boston, Massachusetts, July 9, 1828) was an artist, known particularly for his portraits of over 1000 people, including the first six presidents. Stuart is known for a painting of George Washington that he never completed. He actually made copies of that portrait and sold them. Students could generate reasons why he never completed the project. Children can view a large selection of his art at the Google Art Project at: Gilbert Stuart
First Thanksgiving in North America was held in 1619 when 38 colonists from Berkeley Parish (England) reached the New World in Virginia and prayed, thanking God for a safe voyage.
George Washington said goodbye to his officers at the Fraunces Tavern in New York City in 1783. Fraunces Tavern is now part museum and part restaurant, and children can learn more about Washington’s speech at: http://www.frauncestavernmuseum.org/mus_farewell.html
Mary Celeste was found abandoned in 1872. The ship had left New York on November 5, 1872. Another ship, the Dei Gratia, boarded her on December 4 and found no people and no sign of violence. The captain and his family, the crew, and a lifeboat and navigation instruments were missing, but the ship and cargo were in excellent shape. The mystery of the Mary Celeste has yet to be solved. Children could read The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple. Older children could watch a Smithsonian video clip at: Mary Celeste
Munro Wilbur Leaf (born Hamilton, Maryland, 1905; died Garrett Park, Maryland, December 21, 1976) was a children’s author and illustrator. His credits include cartoons and around 40 books. One of his works is The Story of Ferdinand, published in 1936. Very interesting fact – Ferdinand was considered by some to be subversive and was banned in Nazi Germany. Older children could read the classic The Story of Ferdinand to younger children. Children can learn more at: Munro Wilbur Leaf.
George Ancona (born New York, 1929) is a photographer, author, and illustrator of about 100 children’s books. ¡Ole! Flamenco was a 2011 Pura Belpré Award Honor Book for Author, and Bario: José’s Neighborhood was a 2000 Pura Belpré Honor Book. Children can learn more at: George Ancona.
Bruce Hiscock (born San Diego, California, 1940) writes and illustrates books for children. He specializes in books about nature. His works include Ookpik – The Travels of a Snowy Owl and Coyote and Badger – Desert Hunters of the Southwest. Children can view his website at: Bruce Hiscock.
Montgomery Bus Boycott began in 1955. Following Rosa Parks’s arrest on December 1, 1955, African Americans boycotted buses until December 20, 1956. A Supreme Court ruling forced the integration of the bus system. See the PBS segment, including video and photos at: Montgomery Bus Boycott