Feb 052018

Hank Aaron

Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron (born Mobile, Alabama, 1932) is a Baseball Hall of Famer. He broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, hitting 755 home runs.

Patricia Lauber (born New York, New York, 1924; died New Canaan, Connecticut, March 12, 2010) wrote over 125 books for children. She received a Newbery Honor Award in 1986 for Volcano: Eruption and Healing of Mount Saint Helens. Children can learn more about her at: Patricia Lauber.

David Wiesner (born Bridgewater, New Jersey, 1957) is a children’s book author and illustrator. He has received three Caldecott Medals: Tuesday in 1992, The Three Pigs in 2002, and Flotsam in 2007. He has also earned three Caldecott Honor Awards: Free Fall in 1989, Sector 7 in 2000, and Mr. Wuffles! in 2014. Children can visit his AMAZING site and experience the interactive portion at: David Wiesner

John Witherspoon (born near Edinburgh, Scotland, 1723; died Princeton, New Jersey, November 15, 1794) signed the Declaration of Independence. During the Revolutionary War, he served on over 100 committees. Representing New Jersey, he attended the second Continental Congress. He signed the Articles of Confederation and favored the Constitution. A clergyman, he was president of the College of New Jersey, known today as Princeton University. His students included James Madison and Aaron Burr.

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Feb 062018

Aaron Burr
Library of Congress

Aaron Burr (born Newark, New Jersey, 1756; died Staten Island, New York, September 14, 1836) was a senator and the third vice president of the United States. He ran against Thomas Jefferson for the presidency in 1800. Each received the same number of electoral votes. According to the Constitution at that time, the House of Representatives decided who was to be president, and Jefferson won. He was not renominated in 1804, and he did not win the governorship of New York. Burr blamed Alexander Hamilton for these losses and challenged him to a duel. Burr killed Hamilton, but his career was ruined.

Betsy Duffey (born Atlanta, Georgia) writes books for children. Her books include Dog Diaries and How to Be Cool in Third Grade. Check her website at: Betsy Duffy.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan (born Tampico, Illinois, 1911; died Bel Air, California, June 5, 2004) was the fortieth president (1981-1989) of the United States. One of his first jobs was being a radio sports announcer. He became an actor and appeared in over fifty movies. He was elected governor of California, although he had no political experience. He became president in 1980 and created the term “Reaganomics.” Children could visit a website at: Ronald Reagan. Idea: He was the country’s oldest president when he left office. Children could debate whether there should be an age limit to the office.

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth

George Herman “Babe” Ruth (born Baltimore, Maryland, 1895; died New York, New York, August 16, 1948) was one of baseball’s greatest players. Nicknamed the “Great Bambino,” he was an outstanding pitcher with a record of 94 games won and 46 games lost. He was perhaps a greater batter, hitting 714 homeruns during his career. He also played in the outfield. He played for the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, and the Boston Braves. Idea: Children could decide whether or not Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time.

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Feb 072018

Shonto Begay (born Kayenta, Arizona, 1954) is a children’s author and illustrator. He illustrated The Mud Pony, published in 1988.

Eubie Blake (born Baltimore, Maryland, 1883; died Brooklyn, New York, February 12, 1983) was a pianist and composer. He wrote almost 1000 songs, including I’m Just Wild about Harry.

Charles Dickens (born Portsmouth, England, 1812; died Gad’s Hill, England, June 9, 1870) was an English novelist. His works include A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist. He is buried at Westminster Abbey. Children can read his works at: Project Gutenberg. They could learn more about him at: Charles Dickens

Old Yeller

Old Yeller

Fred Gipson (born Mason, Texas, 1908; died Mason, Texas, August 14, 1973) wrote books and screenplays. His most famous work is Old Yeller, which received a 1957 Newbery Honor Award.

Sinclair Lewis (born Harry Sinclair Lewis in Sauk Center, Minnesota, 1885; died Rome, Italy, January 10, 1951) was a novelist. His works include Main Street. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930. Young adults can read many of his works at: Project Gutenberg.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (born Pepin, Wisconsin, 1867; died Mansfield, Missouri, February 10, 1957) was an author. She wrote nine novels called the “Little House” books. The works are somewhat based on actual events from her life and that of her husband, Almanzo Wilder. Works include Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy. Five of her books were named Newbery Honor Books: On the Banks of Plum Creek (1938), By the Shores of Silver Lake (1940), The Long Winter (1941), Little Town on the Prairie (1942), and These Happy Golden Years (1944). In the 1950’s the American Library Association created the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to honor the writer or illustrator for his/her body of work. Originally given every five years, then every three years, the award presently is given every two years. Laura Ingalls Wilder received the first award in 1954. Other recipients of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award are Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, Russell Freedman and Eric Carle. Children can learn more about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award by reading The Children’s Book Award Handbook by Diana F. Marks.

Natasha Wing (born Milford, Connecticut, 1960) writes books for children. She has written a series of books called The Night Before… Children can visit her website at: Natasha Wing

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Feb 082018
Photo of William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman (born Lancaster, Ohio, 1820; died New York, New York, February 14, 1891) was a Civil War general best known for his march through Georgia.

Jules Verne (born Nantes, France, 1828; died Amiens, France, March 24, 1905) was a French novelist and “the Father of Science Fiction.” His works include Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Children can read his work at: Project Gutenberg. Which of his ideas have actually become real inventions? Children can then see photographs of eight inventions he predicted that really did come true at: Verne Inventions

John Williams (born New York, New York, 1932) is a composer, conductor and pianist. His works include the scores for Star Wars and Jurassic Park. Idea: Show a clip from a movie that includes some of his music. How does his music contribute to the mood of the scene?

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Feb 092018

Dick Gackenbach (born Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1927) writes and illustrates books for children. His works include Harry and the Terrible Whatzit and Hattie Rabbit.

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison (born Berkeley, Virginia, 1773; died Washington, DC, April 4, 1841) was the ninth president (1841) of the United States. After a successful military career, he served in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and as ambassador to Colombia. His presidential campaign slogan was “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” His inaugural address was delivered in the cold and rain. He developed pneumonia and died a month later. Children could visit a website at: William Henry Harrison. They could find out what happened at Tippecanoe.

Amy Lowell (born Brookline, Massachusetts, 1874; died Brookline, Massachusetts, May 12, 1925) was a poet. Children can read some of her works at: Project Gutenberg.

Lydia Estes Pinkham (born Lynn, Massachusetts, 1819; died Lynn, Massachusetts, May 17, 1883) produced and sold Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound. Containing about 18 percent alcohol, the medicine was supposed to be therapeutic. After her death, the business became quite sound financially. Children could learn more at: Lydia Estes Pinkham

Alice Walker (born Eatonton, Georgia, 1944) is an author. One of her books is The Color Purple, which received the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Children can visit her website at: Alice Walker

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Feb 102018

Adrienne Adams (born Fort Smith, Arkansas, 1906; died Rolla, Missouri, December 3, 2002) wrote and illustrated books for children. She received a 1960 Caldecott Honor Award for her illustrations in Houses from the Sea. Adams earned a 1961 Caldecott Honor Award for her work in The Day We Saw the Sun Come Up. Alice E. Goudy wrote both of those books. Children can learn more at: Adrienne Adams

Lucy Cousins (born United Kingdom, 1964) writes books for children. She is best known for her series Maisy the Mouse. Children can view her website at: Maisy

Stephen Gammell (born Des Moines, Iowa, 1943) has illustrated over 50 books for children. He received a Caldecott Honor Award in 1983 for Where the Buffaloes Begin. He earned the 1989 Caldecott Medal for Song and Dance Man. He illustrated Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and its sequels.

Elaine Lobl Konigsburg (born New York, New York, 1930; died Falls Church, Virginia, April 19, 2013) was a children’s author. She wrote among other works Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, which received a 1968 Newbery Honor Award. In that same year Konigsburg was awarded the Newbery Medal for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. She received another Newbery Medal in 1997 for A View from Saturday. Children can learn more at: Elaine Lobl Konigsburg.

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (born Moscow, Russia, 1890; died Moscow, Russia, May 30, 1960) was an author. One of his most famous works is Doctor Zhivago; he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 for the book. Children can read some of his poems at: Pasternak.

Leontyne Price (born Laurel, Mississippi, 1927) is an opera singer. She rose to fame as one of the first African Americans to perform in leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera. In 1997 she wrote Aida, a book for children, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

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Feb 112018
Thomas Edison holding a lightbulb.

Edison Holding a Light Bulb
NPS Photograph

Thomas Alva Edison (born Milan, Ohio, 1847; died Menlo Park, New Jersey, October 18, 1931) held more than 1,200 patents. He invented the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and part of the telephone transmitter. Children can learn more by visiting the Thomas Edison National Park website at: Thomas Alva Edison.

Holly Keller (born New York, New York, 1942) writes and illustrates books for children. She has illustrated some of her own books, including Geraldine and Mrs. Duffy and Farfalina and Marcel, which received the Charlotte Zolotow Award in 2005. She has also illustrated books by other authors, including Patricia Lauber and Paul Showers.

WillemsMo Willems (born New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968) is an animator and a writer/illustrator of books for children. He has received three Caldecott Honor Awards: Don’t Let the Pigeons Drive the Bus in 2004, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale in 2005, and Knuffle Bunny: A Case of Mistaken Identity in 2008. He has also received two Theodore Geisel Awards: There is a Bird on Your Head in 2008 and Are You Ready to Play Outside? in 2009. Children can visit his very interesting website at: Mo Willems.

Jane Yolen (born New York, New York, 1939) has written over 365 books for children, and she has received many, many awards. Her book Devil’s Arithmetic received the 1989 Sydney Taylor Award. She has received three Golden Kite Awards: The Girl Who Cried Flowers and other Tales in 1974, The Transfigured Hart (Honor Book) in 1975, and Moon Ribbons and other Tales (Honor Book) in 1976. She wrote The Emperor and the Kite, and its illustrator, Ed Young, received a Caldecott Honor Award in 1968. She wrote Owl Moon, and its illustrator, John Schoenherr, received the 1988 Caldecott Medal. Children can visit her very interesting website at: Jane Yolen.

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Feb 122018

Louisa Adams

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams (born London, England, 1775; died Washington, DC, May 14, 1852) was the wife of John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States. She was the only First Lady not born in the United States. A few years after Adams’s presidency, he was elected to the House of Representatives. They lived in Washington, DC for another seventeen years. Older children could visit a website at: Louisa Adams.

Judy Blume (born Elizabeth, New Jersey, 1938) is a children’s author. She wrote, among other works, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great in 1972, Blubber in 1974, and Fudge-a-Mania, published in 1990. In 1996 she received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her contributions to young adult literature. Children could visit her website at: Judy Blume

Charles Darwin (born Shrewsberry, England, 1809; died Down, Kent, England, April 19, 1882) was a writer and a naturalist. He proposed the theory of natural selection after visiting the Galapagos Islands. One of his most famous works is The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Young adults could read his works at: Project Gutenberg.

John Llewellyn Lewis (born Lucas, Iowa, 1880; died Washington, DC, June 11, 1969) never finished the seventh grade because he had to work in the mines. He became the head of the United Mine Workers of America and fought for better and safer working conditions for miners.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (born Hodgenville, Kentucky, 1809; died Washington, DC, April 15, 1865) was the sixteenth president (1861-1865) of the United States. He was born in a log cabin, and his formal schooling added up to one year. He taught himself law and fought in the Black Hawk War of 1832. He served in the state legislature and became a Congressman in 1846. His debates with Stephen A. Douglas made him a more well-known figure. The Civil War brought him terrible sorrows. He was shot five days after the end of the Civil War. Children could visit a website at: Abraham Lincoln. Children could read Russell Freedman’s book, Lincoln: A Photobiography. Russell Freedman received the 1988 Newbery Medal for the book.

Anna Pavlova (born St. Petersburg, Russia, 1881; died The Hague, The Netherlands, January 23, 1931) was a ballerina. She toured worldwide and made ballet more popular. She also studied dance of different countries. Even when she was famous, she practiced fifteen hours a day.

David Small (born Detroit, Michigan, 1945) is a writer and illustrator. His The Gardener earned him Caldecott Honor Award in 1998. His So You Want to Be President? won the 2001 Caldecott Award. Children can visit his fascinating website at: David Small.

Jacqueline Woodson (born Columbus, Ohio, 1963) is an AMAZING author of children’s books. She has won many awards. Miracle’s Boys received the Coretta Scott King Medal. Locomotion earned a Coretta Scott King Honor Award. Coming on Home Soon earned E. B. Lewis, the illustrator, a Caldecott Honor Award. Both Show Way and Feathers obtained Newbery Honor Awards. In 2006 Jacqueline received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Children can visit her text-rich and visually appealing website at: Jacqueline Woodson

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Feb 132018

Janet Taylor Lisle (born Englewood, New Jersey, 1947) writes books for young adults. Her work Afternoon of the Elves received a 1990 Newbery Honor Award. Her book The Art of Keeping Cool received the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2001. Children can visit her website at: Janet Taylor Lisle.

William Sleator (born Havre de Grace, Maryland, 1945; died Bua Chet, Thailand, August 3, 2011) wrote science fiction books for young adults. His works include Interstellar Pig and The Green Futures of Tycho.

Simms Taback (born New York, New York, 1932; died Ventura, California, December 25, 2011) was an author and illustrator. He illustrated more than 40 books. His book There Was an Old Lady that Swallowed a Fly was a 1998 Caldecott Honor Book. Another of his books, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, won the 2000 Caldecott Medal. Children can visit a website devoted to him at: Simms Taback

Bess Truman

Bess Truman

Elizabeth (Bess) Virginia Wallace Truman (born Independence, Missouri, 1885; died Independence, Missouri, October 18, 1982) was the wife of Harry S Truman, thirty-third president of the United States. She did not like being First Lady because she found so little privacy. Also, many people compared her to Eleanor Roosevelt, the previous First Lady. She lived the longest of all First Ladies. Older children could visit a website at: Bess Truman.

American Gothic

American Gothic

Grant Wood (born near Anamosa, Iowa, 1892; died Iowa City, Iowa, February 12, 1942) was an artist and a teacher. He is most known for his paintings about the Midwest. One of his most famous works is American Gothic. Idea: American Gothic is often parodied. Students could update American Gothic. Children can read more about him and see some of his works at: Grant Wood.

Charles “Chuck” Yeager (born Myra, West Virginia, 1923) is a former test pilot who broke the sound barrier in 1947.

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Feb 142018

Original Ferris Wheel at World’s Columbian Exposition

George Washington Gale Ferris (born Galesburg, Illinois, 1859; died Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 22, 1896) invented the Ferris wheel. He created the first Ferris wheel for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. It was made to rival the Eiffel Tower.

George Shannon (born Caldwell, Kansas, 1952) writes books for children. His books include Frog Legs and Heart to Heart.

Paul O. Zelinsky (born Evanston, Illinois, 1953) is a children’s book author and illustrator. His Rapunzel won the 1998 Caldecott Award. He has illustrated books by other authors, including Beverly Cleary and Jack Prelutsky. Children could visit his interesting website at: Paul O. Zelinsky.

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