Mar 232021

Eleanor Cameron (born Winnipeg, Canada, 1912; died Monterey, California, October 11, 1996) wrote about twenty books for children. She is most known for The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet. Children can learn more at: Eleanor Cameron.

Fannie Merritt Farmer (born Boston, Massachusetts, 1857; died Boston, Massachusetts, January 15, 1915) was a cooking expert. She standardized measurements so that cooking became much easier. She also wrote the Boston Cooking School Cookbook. This book, now known as The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and its revisions have sold approximately four million copies. Children can view her recipes at: Cookbook. Children can learn more about her at: Fannie Merritt Farmer.

Wernher von Braun (born Wirsitz, Germany, 1912; died Alexandria, Virginia, June 16, 1977) headed teams that developed space rockets.

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Mar 242021

Bill Cleaver (born Hugo, Oklahoma, 1920; died 1981) and his wife Vera wrote sixteen books for children. Their books include Ellen Grae and Where the Lilies Bloom. Children can learn more at: Bill Cleaver.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born Yonkers, New York, 1919; died San Francisco, California, February 22, 2021) was a poet, artist, and social activist. Children can read some of his work at: Ferlinghetti Poetry.

Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini (born Budapest, Hungary, 1874; died Detroit, Michigan, October 31, 1926) was a magician and escape artist. Children could read Harry Houdini for Kids: His Life and Adventures with 21 Magic Tricks and Illusions by Laurie Carlson.

Rufus King (born Scarborough, Maine, 1755; died New York, New York, April 19, 1827) represented Massachusetts at the Constitutional Convention. He tried to write into the Constitution a section forbidding slavery. Later he became one of New York’s U.S. senators.

Andrew W. Mellon (born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1855; died Southampton, New York, August 27, 1937) was a financier. He became very wealthy from investments made mostly in coal and oil. He was Secretary of the Treasury under three presidents. He donated his $25 million art collection and $15 million to a new museum, the National Gallery of Art. Children can visit a website about the National Gallery of Art at: They could also find out how he reduced the national debt when he was Secretary of the Treasury.

John Wesley Powell (born Mt. Morris, New York, 1834; died Haven, Maine, September 23, 1902) was the second director of the USGS. He lost most of his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh during the Civil War. He is most famous for his 1869 expedition down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon. He also made ethnological studies of the American Indians. Young adults could read his book Canyons of the Colorado at: Project Gutenberg. Younger children could read Down the Colorado: John Wesley Powell, the One-Armed Explorer by Deborah Kogan Ray.

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Mar 252021
Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

John de la Mothe Gutzon Borglum (born Bear Lake, Idaho, 1867; died Chicago, Illinois, March 6, 1941) was an artist. In 1916 he sculpted Stone Mountain in Georgia, a memorial to the Confederate Army. He began to sculpt Mount Rushmore in 1927, but he died before it was completed. Children could learn more at: Gutzon Borglun.

Kate DiCamillo (born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1964) writes books for children. Her books include Because of Winn-Dixie (a 2001 Newbery Award winner) and The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread (2004 Newbery Medal book). She also writes the Mercy Watson series. Children can visit her website at: Kate DiCamillo.

Richard Dobbs Spaight (born New Bern, North Carolina, 1758; died in a duel near New Bern, North Carolina, September 5, 1802) represented North Carolina at the Constitutional Convention. Following the convention, he served as the state’s governor and then one of its U.S. representatives. He also served as a state senator.

Linda Sue Park (born Urbana, Illinois, 1960) writes books for children. Her books include A Single Shard (2002 Newbery Medal book) and A Long Walk to Water (2011 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Children can view her website, including the fun (quizzes) section, at: Linda Sue Park.

Interesting fact…both Kate DiCamillo and Linda Sue Park wrote stories for The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales, based on Chris Van Allsburg’s book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

Arturo Toscanini (born Parma, Italy, 1867; died New York, New York, January 16, 1957) was a conductor.

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Mar 262021

T. A. Barron (born Boston, Massachusetts, 1952) writes fantasy books for children and young adults. His books include The Adventures of Kate trilogy and The Lost Years of Merlin epic. Children can view his website at: T. A. Barron.

Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838), American mathematician and actuary.jpeg

Nathaniel Bowditch

Nathaniel Bowditch (born Salem, Massachusetts, 1773; died Boston, Massachusetts, March 16, 1838) was an astronomer and author. He wrote The New American Practical Navigator in 1802, and many of his ideas still apply. Children could read Jean Lee Latham’s Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, published in 1955. The book won the 1956 Newbery Award.

Robert Frost (born San Francisco, California, 1875; died Boston, Massachusetts, January 29, 1963) was a poet. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1924, 1931, 1937, and 1943. Students might enjoy reading and hearing some of his poetry. One of his most famous poems is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Children can read many of his works at: Project Gutenberg.

Katherine Johnson (born White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, 1918; died Newport News, Virginia, February 24, 2020) was one fo the first Black women to work in NASA. She manually calculated trajectories and launch windows. In May 2016 the new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility was named after her.  Children can learn more atL Katherine Johnson.

Betty MacDonald (born Boulder, Colorado, 1908; died Seattle, Washington, February 7, 1958) wrote books for children and adults. Her children’s books include the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series and Nancy and Plum. Children could learn more at: Betty MacDonald.

Sandra Day O'Conner

Sandra Day O’Conner

Sandra Day O’Conner (born El Paso, Texas, 1930) is a retired Supreme Court Associate Justice. She is the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, serving from September 21, 1981 to January 31, 2006. She has also written several children’s books, including Chico and Finding Susie.

Jerry Pallotta (born Boston, Massachusetts, 1953) writes books for children. His books include the Who Would Win series and The Skull Alphabet Book. Children can visit his website, particularly the hidden secrets section, at: Jerry Pallotta.

Tennessee Williams (born Columbus, Mississippi, 1911; died New York, New York, February 25, 1983) was a playwright. One of his plays was The Glass Menagerie.

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Mar 272021

Julia Alvarez (born New York, New York, 1950) writes books for children. Her book Before We Were Free received the 2004 Pura Belpré Medal, and Alvarez earned another Pura Belpré Medal in 2010 for Return to Sender. Children can visit her website at: Julia Alvarez.

Nathaniel Currier (born Roxbury, Massachusetts, 1813; died New York, New York, November 20, 1888) was a lithographer. He was part of the famous Currier and Ives partnership. Their lithographs answered a need for reasonably priced art. Now the originals are very expensive.

Dick King-Smith (born England, 1922; died England, January 4, 2011) wrote at least 135 books for children. His book The Sheep-Pig became the movie Babe. Children could learn more at: Dick King-Smith.

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (born Lennap, Prussia, 1845; died Munich, Germany, February 10, 1923) discovered X-rays. He won a 1901 Nobel Prize for his work. Children can learn more at: Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen.

Edward Steichen (born Luxembourg, 1879; died West Redding, Connecticut, March 25, 1973) was a photographer. Children could view a collection of his photographic portraits at: Edward Steichen.

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Mar 282021

Byrd Baylor (born San Antonio, Texas, 1924) writes books for children. Four of her books have earned Caldecott Honor Awards for the illustrators. Her works include Desert Voices and Hawk, I’m Your Brother.

Doreen Cronin (born Queens, New York, 1966) writes books for children. Her book  Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type earned the illustrator, Betsy Lewin, a 2001 Caldecott Honor Award. Children can learn more at: Doreen Cronin.

Mary Stolz (born Boston, Massachusetts, 1920; died Longboat Key, Florida, December 15, 2006) wrote at least 57 books for children and young adults. Her book Belling the Tiger received a 1962 Newbery Honor Award, and The Noonday Friends earned a 1966 Newbery Honor Award. Children could learn more at: Mary Stolz.

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Mar 292021

Pearl Bailey (born Newport News, Virginia, 1918; died Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 17, 1990) was a singer. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988.

Lou Henry Hoover

Lou Henry Hoover (born Waterloo, Iowa, 1875; died New York, New York, January 7, 1944) was the wife of Herbert Hoover, thirty-first president of the United States. She was a geology and mining major at Stanford University when they met. She was First Lady during the Great Depression, and she often paid for White House social events with her own money. Children could visit a website at: Lou Henry Hoover.

John Tyler (born Charles City County, Virginia, 1790; died Richmond, Virginia, January 18, 1862) was the tenth president (1841-1845) of the United States. He was the first president to become so from the death of his predecessor. Prior to being the president, he was a representative, a senator and a governor. He was known as “His Accidency,” and he was not a popular president. After his presidency was over, he returned to the South. He was about to join the Confederate Congress, but he died before it convened. Children could learn more at: John Tyler.

Cy Young (born Denton True Young in Gilmore, Ohio, 1867; died Peoli, Ohio, November 4, 1955) was a very famous pitcher. The Cy Young Award honors the two best pitchers in Major League Baseball, one for the National League and one for the American League.

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Mar 302021
Van Gogh Self Portrait

Van Gogh Self Portrait

Vincent van Gogh (born Groot Zundert, Holland, 1853; died Auvers-sur-Oise, France, July 29, 1890) was an artist. He never received formal training. He often applied the paint with a palette knife. Children can visit the Metropolitan Museum website at: Vincent van Gogh. Idea: Children could compare and contrast the works of Goya and van Gogh.

Francisco Jose de Goya (born Aragon, Spain, 1746; died Bordeaux, France, April 16, 1828) was a Spanish artist. He produced more than 1,800 artworks. Children can visit the Metropolitan Museum website at: Francisco Jose de Goya.

Anna Sewell (born Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, Old 1820; died Catton, Norfolk, England, April 25, 1878) wrote Black Beauty. Children can read Black Beauty at: Project Gutenberg. They could also learn more at: Anna Sewell.

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Mar 312021

Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (born Gottingen, Germany, 1811; died Heidelberg, Germany, August 16, 1899) was a professor of chemistry. He found an antidote to arsenic poisoning, and he discovered how geysers operate. He invented the Bunsen burner. However, he never applied for patents for any of his discoveries. Children can learn more at: Robert Bunsen.

Cesar Estrada Chavez (born Yuma, Arizona, 1927; died San Luis, Arizona, April 23, 1993) was a leader of the migrant workers. He founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962 to improve migrant workers’ working and living conditions. Children could read Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Yuyi Morales. Morales received a 2004 Pura Belpré Illustration Honor Award. Children could also visit: Cesar Chavez.

Steve Jenkins (born Hickory, North Carolina, 1952; died Boulder, Colorado, December 26, 2021) wrote and/or illustrated at least 80 books for children. He co-authored some books with his wife, Robin Page. Their book What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? received a 2004 Caldecott Honor Award. Children can visit his website at: Steve Jenkins.

Rene Descartes (born La Haye, Touraine, France, 1596; died Stockholm, Sweden, February 11, 1650) was a mathematician and a philosopher. He is famous for saying, “I think, therefore I am.” Idea: Children could read about his philosophies. Do they agree with him?

Albert Gore (born Washington, DC, 1948) was the forty-fifth vice president of the United States. After he lost to George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential race, he turned his attention to the environment. He received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) for his concern over global warming.

Franz Josef Haydn (born Rohrau, Austria-Hungary, 1732; died Vienna, Austria, May 31, 1809) was a composer. He composed over one hundred symphonies, twelve operas, and hundreds of other pieces of music.

Beni Montresor (born Bussolengo, Italy, 1926; died Verona, Italy, October 11, 2001) was a film designer, artist, and children’s book illustrator. He received the 1965 Caldecott Medal for May I Bring a Friend?  Children can learn more at: Beni Montresor.

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Apr 012021

William Harvey (born Folkestone, Kent, England, 1578; died London, England, June 3, 1657) discovered how blood circulated in mammals. Prior to his work, many scientists believed the liver changed food to blood and the body consumed that blood. Through experiments and observations, he found that the heart acts like a pump and that blood moves through veins and arteries, forming a closed system of circulation.

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai (born Ihithe Village, Kenya, 1940; died Niarobi, Kenya, September 25, 2011) started the Green Belt Movement in Kenya in the 1970’s. This group taught women how to plant trees. These trees then provided them with income. Often in conflict with Kenya’s government, she began to gain the world’s attention. In 2004 she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She was elected to Kenya’s Parliament and served as assistant minister to President Mwai Kibaki. Children coud read Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya, written by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

Anne McCaffrey (born Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1926; died Wicklow, Ireland, November 21, 2011) wrote science fiction books for children. She is perhaps best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series.

Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (born Semyonovo, Russia, 1873; died Beverly Hills, California, March 28, 1943) was a Russian composer, conductor and pianist. He composed at least 45 major works. He moved to the United States in order to escape the Bolshevik Revolution and eventually became an American citizen. Experts state his compositions reflect a romantic style influenced by his Russian heritage. Idea: Russians celebrate birthdays by making one-crust pies. Make a birthday pie. Eat pieces of the pie and listen to Rachmaninoff’s music.

Jagjivan Ram (born Chandwa, Bihar, India, 1908; died New Delhi, India, July 6, 1986) worked closely with Gandhi and Nehru to gain India’s independence from Great Britain. Ram, born into the “untouchable” caste, was one of the first “untouchables” to graduate from college. He labored to eliminate the caste system and served in various cabinet positions in the new Indian government.

Libby Riddles (born Madison, Wisconsin, 1956) in 1985 was the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditerod. Children can read about her activities at: Libby Riddles.

Jan Boyer Wahl (born Columbus, Ohio, 1933; died Toledo, Ohio, January 29, 2019) wrote over 120 books for children. His books include Jamie’s Tiger and Grandmother Told Me.

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