Jan 282020

Jackson Pollock (born Cody, Wyoming, 1912; died in an auto accident, East Hampton, New York, August 11, 1956) was an abstract expressionist painter. He developed a style where he dribbled paint and enamels over canvas to create delicate, lacy designs. While he was alive, he was famous but not wealthy. Only after he died did the price of his works soar. Children could view a gallery of his works at: http://www.jacksonpollock.com/. Then they could go to an amazing site and make their own art Jackson Pollock style: http://www.jacksonpollock.org/.

Arthur Rubenstein (born Artur Rubenstein in Lodz, Poland, 1887; died 1982) was a concert pianist. He performed for the first time as a teenager in 1901. When World War II became imminent, he moved to the United States. He enjoyed touring and performing for radio, television, and movies.

Stanley found Livingstone

Henry Morton Stanley (born Denbighshire, Wales, 1841; died London, England, May 10, 1904) was an explorer. He organized an  expedition to find the missing missionary, David Livingstone. Stanley found Livingstone on November 10, 1871, and asked the famous question, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

Vera B. Williams (born Hollywood, California, 1927; died Narrowsburg, New York, October 16, 2015) was a children’s author and illustrator. She received a 1983 Caldecott Honor Award for A Chair for my Mother. Next, her book Music, Music for Everyone earned a Jane Addams Children’s Book Honor Award. She wrote More, More, More, Cried the Baby, which was a 1991 Caldecott Honor Book. Lucky Song won the 1998 Charlotte Zolotow Award. Her book Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart received the 2002 Jane Addams Children’s Book Honor Award.

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Jan 292020

Sylvia Cassedy (born Brooklyn, New York, 1930; died April 6, 1989) wrote books for children. Her books include Behind the Attic Wall, Lucie Babbage’s House, and M. E. and Morton.

Brother Sam

My Brother Sam Is Dead

Christopher Collier (born New York, New York, 1930) is a historian and writer of children’s books. He and his brother James wrote My Brother Sam is Dead. The book was a 1975 Newbery Honor Award winner.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (born Taganrog, Russia, 1860; died Badenweiler, Germany, July 15, 1904) was a playwright and short story writer. Two of his plays were The Sea Gull and The Cherry Orchard. Children can read his works at: Project Gutenberg.

Christina Koch (born Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1979) is an astronaut and an engineer. She participated in the first all-woman space walk on October 18, 2019, when she and Jessica Meir repaired a broken pwer controller, a seven-hour mission, on the International Space Station. The two followed with two more space walks, one on January 15, 2020, and another on January 20, 2020. She also holds the record for most days in space (328 days) for a woman, surpassing the record of Peggy Whitson. Children can learn more at: Christina Koch.

William McKinley

William McKinley (born Niles, Ohio, 1843; died Buffalo, New York, September 14, 1901) was the twenty-fifth president (1897-1901) of the United States. He enlisted as a private in the Civil War. When the war ended, he was 22 years old and a major. One of the planks of his presidential platform was that every person should have a “full dinner pail.” He was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz; McKinley died two weeks later. Children could visit a website at: William McKinley.

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine (born Thetford, England, 1737; died New York, New York, June 8, 1809) was a patriot and an author. His Common Sense influenced people’s opinions regarding their right to freedom. Many experts believe it was a major catalyst for the American Revolution. Children can read his works at: Project Gutenberg. Older children could read The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine by Mark Wilensky.

Bill Peet (born Grandview, Indiana, 1915; died Studio City, California, May 11, 2002) was an author and illustrator for Disney Studios. He was one of the directors for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, released January 28, 1959. He was also the author of several children’s books, including Farewell to Shady Glade. He received a 1990 Caldecott Honor Award for Bill Peet: An Autobiography. Children could visit a website, particularly the unfinished stories portion, at: http://www.billpeet.net/. Students could learn more at: Bill Peet.

Rosemary Wells (born New York, New York, 1943) is a children’s author. One of her books is Noisy Nora. She has also written the Max and Ruby series and the McDuff series. Children can visit her site filled with activities at: Rosemary Wells.

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Jan 302020

Lloyd Alexander (born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1924; died Drexel Hills, Pennsylvania, May 17, 2007) was a children’s author. His book The Black Cauldron received a 1966 Newbery Honor Award. His The High King earned the 1969 Newbery Medal. Children can learn more at: Lloyd Alexander.

Tony Johnston (born Los Angeles, California, 1942) has written over 100 books for children. One of her books is The Cowboy and the Blackeyed Pea, published in 1992.

Franklin Roosevelt

Franklin Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (born Hyde Park, New York, 1882; died Warm Springs, Georgia, April 12, 1945) was the thirty-second president (1933-1945) of the United States. Before he was president, he had been a state senator for New York. He was assistant secretary of the navy, and he was governor of New York. He took over the presidency during the Great Depression. He was the only president to serve more than two terms. He died in office during his fourth term. After his death, an amendment to the Constitution limited the number of presidential terms to two. Children could visit a website at: Franklin Roosevelt. They could also read Franklin Delano Roosevelt for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities, by Richard Panchyk. Idea: Should the president’s number of terms be limited when the senators’ and representatives’ numbers of terms are not limited?

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Jan 312020

Denise Fleming (born Toledo, Ohio, 1950) writes and illustrates children’s books. Her book In the Small, Small Pond received a 1995 Caldecott Honor Award. She has published 20 books using an unusual illustrating technique. She produces her own paper pulp, adds vivid dyes, and forces the pulp through stencils. Then she combines these images to produce her illustrations. Children can learn more about her techniques at: Denise Fleming.

Zane Grey (born Zanesville, Ohio, 1872; died Altadena, California, October 23, 1939) was a novelist best known for his westerns. Two of his most famous works were Riders of the Purple Sage and The Last of the Plainsmen. He wrote more than fifty books. Young adults can read many of his books at: Project Gutenberg.

Gerald McDermott (born Detroit, Michigan, 1941; died Los Angeles, California, December 26, 2012) was a children’s book author and illustrator. His book Anansi the Spider received a 1973 Caldecott Honor Award. Next, Arrow to the Sun earned the 1975 Caldecott Medal. In 1993 Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest received a Caldecott Honor Award. Children could learn more at: Gerald McDermott.

Gouverneur Morris (born Morrisania, New York, 1752; died Morrisania, New York, November 6, 1816) was an American patriot. He attended the Continental Congress and after the war helped Robert Morris settle the United States financially. He was minister to England and France and was a senator from New York.

Robert Morris (born Liverpool, England, 1734; died Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 9, 1806) was an American patriot and a merchant. He was one of only two men who signed all three important documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. After the Revolutionary War, he helped the new country get on its feet financially. He was also a senator from the state of Pennsylvania. Later he was forced into bankruptcy and had to go to debtor’s prison. Children could visit a website at: Robert Morris.

Jackie Robinson (born Cairo, Georgia, 1919; died Stamford, Connecticut, October 24, 1972) was a baseball player. He left the army in 1945 as a first lieutenant and played baseball for the Monarchs, a team in the Negro American League. He was then signed to the Royals, a minor league team. After one season, he moved to the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African American to play for the major leagues. He played second base from 1947 to 1956. He was also the first African American to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Children could read a great biography, A Picture Book of Jackie Robinson, by David A. Adler.

Franz Schubert (born Vienna, Austria, 1797; died Vienna, Austria, November 19, 1828) was a composer. His music combined classicism and romanticism. He created over six hundred pieces of music, but he was not popular during his own lifetime. His works include Unfinished Symphony and Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp).

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Feb 012020

Meg Cabot (born Bloomington, Indiana, 1967) has published over 50 books for young adults and adults. She is best known for her Princess Diary series. Young adults can visit her website at: Meg Cabot.

Hattie Caraway – Senate Portrait

Hattie Wyatt Caraway (born Bakersville, Tennessee, 1878; died Falls Church, Virginia, December 21, 1950) finished her husband’s term in the Senate when he died in 1931. She then ran for the office when that term expired. She became the first woman to be elected to the Senate, and she worked ceaselessly for women’s rights and Prohibition.

Langston Hughes (born Joplin, Missouri, 1902; died New York, New York, May 22, 1967) was an African American writer. He is famous for his poetry, and he experimented with meter. He wrote or edited at least 50 books, and he also created dramas. Students can read some of his poetry at: Hughes Poetry. Children could learn more about Hughes at: Langston Hughes. Students would also enjoy reading Floyd Cooper’s Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes.

James Preller (born Nassau County, New York, 1961) writes books for children. He writes the Jigsaw Jones series and other books, including Bystander and Before you Go. Children can visit his website at: James Preller.

Jerry Spinelli (born Norristown, Pennsylvania, 1941) has written at least 28 books for children. His Maniac McGee received the 1991 Newbery Award. His Wringer was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Children could visit his website at: Jerry Spinelli.

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Feb 022020

Pura Belpré (born Cidra, Puerto Rico, 1899; died New York, New York, July 1, 1982) was a librarian and writer. She preserved and shared works by Latino writers. One of her most famous works was Juan Bobo and the Queen’s Necklace: A Puerto Rican Folk Tale. The American Library Association and REFORMA established the Pura Belpré Award in her honor. The award recognizes Latino writers and illustrations. Children can learn more by reading the Children’s Book Award Handbook by Diana F. Marks. Children could also read Planting stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré, written by Anika Aldamuy Denise and illustrated by Paola Escobar. The book received the 2020 Pura Belpré Author Honor Award.

A Pocketful of Cricket

A Pcoketful of Cricket

Rebecca Caudill (born Cumberland, Kentucky, 1899; died Urbana, Illinois, October 2, 1985) wrote more than 20 books for children. Her book Tree of Freedom was a 1950 Newbery Honor Book. She also wrote A Pocketful of Cricket. The illustrator, Evaline Ness, received a 1965 Caldecott Honor Award for her illustrations. The state of Illinois, where she lived for many years, created the Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award in her honor. Every year the school children of Illinois vote for their favorite new book. Children could learn more about her at: Rebecca Caudill.

Jascha Heifitz (born Vilna, Lithuania, 1901; died Los Angeles, California, December 10, 1987) was a violin virtuoso. He started to play at age three and was performing at age six. At age thirteen he played in Berlin and found international fame. During the Russian Revolution he escaped to the United States, where he became a citizen in 1925. He recorded many great pieces and arrangements. Because of his technical skills, he was often the first person to play new pieces by present-day composers.

James Joyce (born Dublin, Ireland, 1882; died Zurich, Switzerland, January 13, 1941) was a writer. One of his most famous works is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Older children can read some of his works at: Project Gutenberg.

Judith Viorst (born Newark, New Jersey, 1931) writes for both children and adults. She is also known for her poetry. One of her books is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

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Feb 032020

Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley (born Amherst, New Hampshire, 1811; died New York, New York, November 29, 1872) was a journalist and an anti-slavery advocate prior to the Civil War. He started the New York Herald, and he encouraged settlement of the west. He is known for his statement, “Go west, young man.” Older children can read some of his works at: Project Gutenberg.

Walt Morey (born Hoquiam, Washington, 1907; died Wilsonville, Oregon, January 12, 1992) wrote fourteen books for children. Many of his books centered around conflicts/relationships between people and animals. He also wrote survival stories. Two of his most famous works are Gentle Ben and Kavik the Wolf Dog.

Felix Mendelssohn (born Hamburg, Germany, 1809; died Leipzig, Germany, November 4, 1847) was a pianist and a classical composer. He was playing in concerts by age nine and was performing his own compositions by age eleven. One of his most famous pieces of music is Wedding March.

James Michener (born New York, New York, 1907; died Austin, Texas, October 16, 1997) was a novelist. His book of short stories, Tales of the South Pacific, published in 1947, was the basis for the musical, South Pacific. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1948. Other works are Hawaii and Texas. Visit the Michener Museum website that provides a virtual field trip regarding his life at: James Michener.

Joan Lowery Nixon (born Los Angeles, California, 1927; died Houston, Texas, June 28, 2003) wrote 102 books for children. One of her most well known works is the series A Family Apart, published in 1987. Children can visit a website at: Scholastic. They can also learn more at: Joan Lowery Nixon.

Norman Rockwell (born New York, New York, 1894; died Stockbridge, Massachusetts, November 8, 1978) was an artist. He is probably most famous for his illustrations for the covers of the Saturday Evening Post. Idea: Students could view some of his works. They could list the works’ qualities that endeared him to so many other people. Children can view some of his works and enjoy a timeline of Rockwell’s life at: http://www.nrm.org/.

Gertrude Stein (born Allegheny, Pennsylvania, 1874; died Paris, France, July 29, 1946) was a writer and friend to many avant-garde artists. She is famous for her saying, “A rose is a rose is a rose.” Older children can read some of her work at: Project Gutenberg.

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Feb 042020

Barbara Shook Hazen (born Dayton, Ohio, 1930) writes books for children. Her books include Katie’s Wish and The Knight Who Was Afraid of the Dark. Children can visit her website at: Barbara Shook Hazen.

Russell Hoban (born Lansdale, Pennsylvania, 1925; died London, England, December 13, 2011) was an author and an artist. He wrote over 60 books for children and over 15 books for adults. He also wrote poetry and plays. One of his books is Bedtime for Frances. Children could learn more at: Russell Hoban.

Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh

Charles A. Lindbergh (born Detroit, Michigan, 1902; died Kipahula, Maui, Hawaii, August 27, 1974) was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. He made the trip May 20-21, 1927. Called “Lucky Lindy,” he immediately became a hero. Children can read more about him at: Charles Lindbergh

Thaddeus Kosciuszko (born Lithuania, 1746; died Solothurn, Switzerland, October 15, 1817) is often called the “Hero of Two Wars” because he fought for freedom in both America and Poland. He came to America in 1776 and presented himself to the Continental Congress. He had excellent engineering skills and built fortifications near Saratoga, West Point, and other locations. After the war, he received the rank of brigadier general. In 1784 he returned to Poland and became embroiled in a fight for freedom there. While his side won for a time, ultimately he was imprisoned. Children can visit a website at: Kosciuszko

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

Rosa Louise Parks (born Tuskegee, Alabama, 1913; died Detroit, Michigan, October 24, 2005) was a civil rights leader. She refused to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama, and was arrested on December 1, 1955. Children can learn more at: Rosa Parks.

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Feb 052020

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 062020

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. Burr was not renominated in 1804, and he did not win the governorship of New York. Burr blamed Alexander Hamilton for these losses and challenged Hamilton to a duel. Burr killed Hamilton, but Burr’s 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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