Mar 302018
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 312018

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) has written and/or illustrated at least 27 books for children. He co-authors some books with his wife, Robin Page. Their book What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? received a 2004 Caldecott Honor. 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 012018

Samuel Alito, Jr.

Samuel Alito, Jr. (born Trenton, New Jersey, 1950) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Nominated by George W. Bush, he assumed the office on January 31, 2006.

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) writes books for children. His books include Jamie’s Tiger and Grandmother Told Me.

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Apr 022018
Image of Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen (born Odense, Denmark, 1805; died Copenhagen, Denmark, August 4, 1875) wrote 168 stories and fairy tales. Born the son of a poor shoemaker, he moved to Copenhagen when he was 14. He wrote his first story in 1835. Famous stories include The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Ugly Duckling. He never married. In Denmark people celebrate birthdays by displaying banners. Students could make banners of Andersen’s various stories. Children can read his stories in a variety of languages at: Project Gutenberg.  The Hans Christian Andersen Award, created by the International Board on Books for Young People, is bestowed every two years to the world’s best writers and illustrators of children’s books. Readers could learn more about Hans Christian Andersen and the Han Christian Andersen Award by reading the Children’s Book Award Handbook by Diana F. Marks.

Statue of Liberty

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (born Colmar, Alsace, 1834; died Paris, France, October 4, 1904) designed the Statue of Liberty and actively raised funds for its construction.

Richard Bassett (born Cecil County, Maryland, 1745; died Maryland, either August 16 or September 15, 1815) represented Delaware at the Constitutional Convention. A former slave owner, he fought in the Revolutionary War. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1789 to 1793. His son-in-law, grandson, and great-grandson also were elected to the U.S. Senate.

Charlemagne (born birthplace unknown, 742; died Aauchen in what is now Germany, August 18, 814) became the ruler of the Franks in 768 and thus controlled Western Europe. Before he seized power, Europe was crumbling. “Charles the Great” restored the importance of education, arts, culture, law and order.

Ruth Heller (born Winnipeg, Canada, 1923; died San Francisco, California, July, 2004) wrote and illustrated books for children. She created at least 28 coloring books, and her children’s books include Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones and Galapagos Means Tortoises. One classic is The Egyptian Cinderella. Children could learn more at: Ruth Heller.

Anne Mazer (born Schenectedy, New York, 1953) has written 45 books for children. Her books include The Salamander Room and The Oxboy. Children could visit her website at: Anne Mazer.

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Apr 032018

Sandra Boynton (born Orange, New Jersey, 1953) has written and illustrated at least 50 books, most of them for young children. Her books include Amazing Cows and Happy Birthday, Little Pookie. Children can visit her very clever website at: Sandra Boynton.

John Burroughs (born Roxbury, New York, 1837; died Kingsville, Ohio, March 29, 1921) was a writer and naturalist. He wrote at least 32 books over 50 years on such topics as Ways of Nature and The Breath of Life. Children can read many of his works at: Project Gutenberg.

Jane Goodall (born London, England, 1934) is an anthropologist. She studied the behavior of wild chimpanzees for a number of years. Idea: Have students read about her observation techniques, choose a pet or a wild animal, and make observations similar to Goodall’s  technique. Children could also read Me…Jane, a biography written by Patrick McDonnell.

Edward Everett Hale (born Boston, Massachusetts, 1822; died Boston, Massachusetts, June 10, 1909) was a clergyman and a writer. He is most famous for his story, “The Man Without a Country.” He also served as chaplain of the United States Senate from 1903 until he died. Children can read some of his work, including “The Man Without a Country,” at: Project Gutenberg.

Washington Irving (born New York, New York, 1783; died Tarrytown, New York, November 28, 1859) may have been one of the first great American writers and historians. His writings include The Sketch Book (containing “Rip van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”), Tales of a Traveller, The Life of Washington, and The Alhambra. Children can read many of his works at: Project Gutenberg. They can also learn more at: Washington Irving.

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Apr 042018

Maya Angelou (born Saint Louis, Missouri, 1928; died Winston-Salem, North Carolina, May 28, 2014) was an author and a poet. One of her most famous books is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Children can learn more at a site devoted to her: Maya Angelou.

Dorothea Lynde Dix (born Hampden, Maine, 1802; died Trenton, New Jersey, July 17, 1887) fought for social reform, especially regarding jails, insane asylums, and orphanages. Children could read Breaking the Chains: The Crusade of Dorothea Lynde Dix, by Peggy Colman.

Phoebe Gilman (born New York New York, 1940; died Toronto, Canada, August 29, 2002) was a picture book author and illustrator. Her works include Grandma and the Pirates and Jillian Jiggs. Children could learn more at: Phoebe Gilman.

Hicks Penn Treaty

Edward Hicks (born Langhorne, Pennsylvania, 1780; died Newtown, Pennsylvania, August 23, 1849) was a self-taught artist known for his many Peaceable Kingdoms. Children can see some of his works by visit this website and clicking on the names of the paintings: Edward Hicks.

Elizabeth Levy (born Buffalo, New York, 1942) has written over 100 children’s books. Her books include the Fletcher mysteries, the Something Queer is Going On series, and the Jodi and Jake mysteries. Children can learn more at: Elizabeth Levy.

Johanna Reiss (born Winterswijk, Netherlands, 1932) writes books for children. She moved to the United States during the 1950’s. She wrote The Upstairs Room, a memoir of her growing up during World War II. The book received a 1973 Newbery Honor Award and a Jane Addams Peace Association Honor Award. Her other books are also autobiographical. Children can view her website at: Johanna Reiss.

Glen Rounds (born near Wall, South Dakota, 1906; died Pinehurst, North Carolina, September 27, 2002) wrote and illustrated at least 100 children’s books. His works included Ol Paul, the Mighty Logger and Wild Horses of the Red Desert. Children could learn more at: Glen Rounds.

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Apr 052018

Benjamin Harrison V

Benjamin Harrison V (born Virginia, 1726; died Virginia, April 24, 1791) signed the Declaration of Independence. He represented Virginia and was active in both the First Continental Congress and the Second Continental Congress. After the Revolutionary War, he was the fifth Governor of Virginia. His son, William Henry Harrison, was elected the ninth President, but he died of pneumonia a month after taking office. William Henry Harrison’s grandson, Benjamin Harrison, was the 23rd President of the United States.

Anthony Horowitz (born England, 1955) has written over 35 books for children. He also creates British television series, such as Foyle’s War. His books include the Alex Rider series, the Power of Five series, and the Diamond Brothers series. Children can learn more at: Anthony Horowitz.

Joseph Lister (born Upton, Essex, England, 1827; died Walmer, England, February 10, 1912) was the forefather of antiseptic surgery.

Colin Powell (born Harlem, New York, 1937) is a former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of the United States. He has been active in politics, and he was the first African American to be United States Secretary of State.

Judith A. Resnick (born Akron, Ohio, 1949; died January 28, 1986) in 1984 became the second American woman to go into space. She died in the Challenger explosion.

Frank Stockton (born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1834; died Washington, DC, April 20, 1902) wrote books for children. His works include The Bee-Man of Or and Other Fanciful Tales. He is perhaps best known for his story “The Lady, or the Tiger?” Children can read many of his works at: Project Gutenberg. They can learn more at: Frank Stockton.

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Booker T. Washington

Booker Taliaferro Washington (born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia, 1856; died Tuskegee, Alabama, November 14, 1915) was an important African-American leader and educator. He founded the Tuskegee Institute, and he influenced presidents, governors, and members of Congress. Children can read a biography, Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington, by Jabari Asim. They can also read his book Up from Slavery at: Project Gutenberg.

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Apr 062018

Graeme Base (born Amershame, England, 1958) is an author and illustrator. One of his most famous works is Animalia, published in 1986. Children could visit his very interesting website at: Graeme Base.

Raphael (born Urbino, Italy, 1483; died Rome, Italy, April 6, 1520) was a Renaissance painter. He was also an architect. Visit a website at: Raphael. Children could look at some prints of his works. How does he compare with other artists of the Renaissance?

Rose Schneiderman (born Saven, Poland, 1882; died New York, New York, August 11, 1972) fought for better working conditions for women.

James Watson (born Chicago, Illinois, 1928) created, with partner Francis H. C. Crick, a model for the structure of DNA. The two, along with Maurice H. F. Wilkins, received the 1962 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. Older children could see his fascinating TED Talk at: James Watson.

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Apr 072018

Donald Carrick (born Dearborn, Michigan, 1929; died Edgartown, Massachusetts, 1989) wrote and illustrated children’s books. His wife, Carol, and he collaborated on 37 books. Their books include Patrick’s Dinosaur and Drip Drop.

El Greco (born Domenikos Theotokopoulos in Iraklion, Crete, 1541; died Toledo, Spain, April 7, 1614) was a great painter. He studied in Venice in 1559 or 1560. Looking for patrons, he moved to Toledo, Spain, in 1577. Named “The Greek” by the Spaniards, he spent the rest of his life in that country. His paintings, especially for the time, were fairly abstract. He used light and dark colors to his advantage, and he distorted figures to achieve an emotional impact. Children could visit a website at: El Greco.

Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1915; died New York, New York, July 17, 1959) was an African American singer. Children can learn more about her at: Billie Holiday.

Cheryl Willis Hudson (born Portsmouth, Virginia, 1948) writes books for children. Her books include Hands Can and Let’s Count, Baby. Children can learn more at: Cheryl Willis Hudson.

Corn Flakes

Corn Flakes

Will Keith Kellogg (born Battle Creek, Michigan, 1860; died Battle Creek, Michigan, October 6, 1951) was a cereal manufacturer. Known as the “King of the Corn Flakes,” he started a cereal company in 1906 and made a $50 million fortune. Idea: Children could make a bar graph of favorite cereals. They could also see a timeline of cereal development at:

Tony Palazzo (born New York, New York, 1905; died Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, September 10, 1970) wrote and/or illustrated about 65 books for children. He received a Caldecott Honor Award in 1947 for Timothy Turtle. Other works include Animals of the Night and The Biggest and Littlest Animals.

William Wordsworth (born Cockermouth, England, 1770; died Grasmere, England, April 23, 1850) may have been the most significant English romantic poet. He wrote over five hundred sonnets, and he collaborated with Samuel Taylor Coleridge to write Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth actively supported the French Revolution. Children can read his works at: William Wordsworh.

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Apr 082018

Kofi Annan (born Kumasi, Ghana, 1938) was the United Nations Secretary General from 1997 to 2006.

Ruth Chew (born Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1920; died Castro Valley, California, May 13, 2010) wrote and illustrated at least 30 books for children. Her works include The Wednesday Witch and The Enchanted Book. 

Linda Crew (born Corvallis, Oregon, 1951) writes books for children and young adults. Her books include Children of the River and Nekomah Creek. Children can visit her website at: Linda Crew.

Betty Ford

Betty Ford

Elizabeth “Betty” Bloomer Ford (born Chicago, Illinois, 1918; died Rancho Mirage, California, July 8, 2011) was a First Lady. She was the wife of Gerald Ford, the thirty-eighth President of the United States. Children could visit a website at: Betty Ford.

Trina Schart Hyman (born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1939; died Lebanon, New Hampshire, November 19, 2004) wrote and/or illustrated more than 100 books for children. She received the 1985 Caldecott Medal for Saint George and the Dragon. She earned three Caldecott Honor Awards: in 1984 for Little Red Riding Hood, in 1990 for Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, and in 2000 for A Child’s Calendar. Children can learn more at: Trina Schart Hyman.

Harold Keith (born Lambert, Oklahoma Territory, 1903; died Norman, Oklahoma, February 24, 1998) wrote about fourteen books for children. His book Rifles for Watie received the 1958 Newbery Medal.

Lewis Morris (born Westchester County, New York, 1726; died Westchester County, New York, January 22, 1798) signed the Declaration of Independence. He represented New York. Prior to the Revolutionary War, he was a judge in a British court. During the Revolution, he was active in New York politics.

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