Hawaii became the fiftieth state of the United States in 1959. Evidence indicates people lived on the islands as early as AD 500. James Cook first visited Hawaii in 1778, and he died there in 1779. Honolulu is the state capital, and the state’s nickname is the Aloha State. Since the development of the jet airplane, the islands have become quite a tourist spot. Scientists are trying to channel the geothermal energy from the volcano Mauna Loa. The state fish is the humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Children could visit an Internet site at: Hawaii. Idea: Children could plan a simple luau.
Lincoln-Douglas debates began in 1858. The seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas provided the voters of Illinois a chance to see the candidates for a senate seat. The last debate was held in Alton, Illinois, on October 15, 1848. Although Lincoln lost the election, he became more known nationally. Older children can read transcripts of the speeches at: Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
Adding machine was patented in 1888 by W. S. Burroughs. He received patent number 388,116. Children could view his patent at: Adding Machine.
Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. A former employee of the Louvre, Vincenzo Peruggia, had removed her from the glass case he helped build. Then he stored the painting in his apartment. He tried to ransom the painting two years later, but he was caught. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre. Children could visit a website at: Mona Lisa.
Gemini 5 was launched into space in 1965. For eight days astronauts L. Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad orbited the earth. While orbiting the earth 128 times, they launched the first satellite from a manned craft. They returned to earth on August 29, 1965.
William “Count” Basie (born Red Bank, New Jersey, 1904; died Hollywood, Florida, April 26, 1984) was a composer, pianist, and bandleader who loved jazz.
X. J. Kennedy (born Dover, New Jersey, 1929) writes poetry and novels for both adults and children. His children’s books include Elefantina’s Dream and Uncle Switch: Loony Limericks.
Arthur Yorinks (born Roslyn, New York, August 27, 1953) writes and directs plays and operas. He has also written at least 35 books for children. he wrote Hey, Al, which earned illustrator Richard Egielski the 1987 Caldecott Medal.
Steamboat, invented by John Fitch, successfully worked in 1787. Fitch demonstrated his steamboat on the Delaware River before members of the Constitutional Convention.
Nat Turner in 1831 led a short-lived slave rebellion in Virginia. A slave, Turner believed he had visions from God to lead the insurrection. Around 56 white people were killed, but up to 200 slaves died. Within two days the battle was over, but Nat Turner himself was not caught until October 30, 1831. He was tried, found guilty, and hanged on November 5, 1831. Older children could read a concise account of the rebellion at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3p1518.html. Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion was not the only uprising. Children can read more about other slave uprisings at http://www.nps.gov/subjects/ugrr/discover_history/slave-rebellions.htm.
Althea Gibson, in 1950, became the first African American (of either sex) to compete in an international tennis competition. She received an invitation to play at the United States National Championships (now the U. S. Open) in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. She lost in the second round, but that event was just the start of her groundbreaking career in both tennis and golf. Children can learn more at: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/modern/jb_modern_gibson_1.html.
Ray Bradbury (born Waukegan, Illinois, 1920; died Los Angeles, California, June 5, 2012) was an author. One of his most famous works is Fahrenheit 451. His other works include The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. Older children can read one of his greatest short stories, “A Sound of Thunder,” at: http://www.lasalle.edu/~didio/courses/hon462/hon462_assets/sound_of_thunder.htm.
Claude Debussy (born St. Germain-en-Laye, France, 1862; died Paris, France, March 25, 1918) was a composer and musician.
Will Hobbs (born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1947) writes novels for young adults. He received the 1998 Edgar Award for Ghost Canoe. Other books include The Maze and Beardance. Young adults could visit his website at: http://www.willhobbsauthor.com/
Archibald M. Willard (born Bedford, Ohio, 1836; died Cleveland, Ohio, October 11, 1918) was a painter. Perhaps his most famous works is The Spirit of ‘76.