Arkansas became the twenty-fifth state of the United States in 1836. Hernando de Soto explored the area in 1541. Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet visited the region in 1673. Henri de Tonti built Arkansas Post in 1686. The capital is Little Rock, and the state’s nickname is the “Land of Opportunity.” Its state gem is the diamond. Children can visit an Internet site at: Arkansas.
Magna Carta was signed in 1215. King John I was forced to sign the document in Runnymede, England. Written in haste and in Latin, the Magna Carta was the first English document to outline human rights. Only four originals of the document still exist, and one copy resides in the National Archives in Washington, DC. Older children can read a translation at: Magna Carta.
Ben Franklin flew his famous kite in 1752, demonstrating that lightning carries an electrical current. Idea: Actually Franklin was lucky to survive the lightning. Children could locate more information on lightning and its dangers.
Charles Goodyear patented vulcanized rubber in 1844. He received patent number 3633, and he stabilized rubber by heating the rubber and adding sulfur. However, he made little money from the process. In 1898 the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was named after him.
Lou Gehrig in 1923 played the first of 2,130 baseball games with the New York Yankees. He played his last game on April 30, 1939. Young children could read Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David A. Adler.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created in 1934. Because the park hovers on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, it is close to large centers of population. Over eight million people visit the park each year. People lived in the area prior to its becoming a park. Over 6,000 tracts of land had to be purchased before the area could be declared a national park. Children can visit a website at: http://www.nps.gov/grsm.
Edvard Grieg (born Bergen, Norway, 1843; died Bergen, Norway, September 4, 1907) was a Scandinavian composer and conductor. He was heavily influenced by Norwegian folk music. One of his most famous works is the Peer Gynt Suite.
Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson (born Halifax County, North Carolina, 1767; died Nashville, Tennessee, December 22, 1828) was the wife of Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States. She died after he was elected but before he was inaugurated. Children can visit a website at: Rachel Jackson.
Brian Jacques (born Liverpool, England, 1939; died Liverpool, England, February 5, 2011) was an author. He wrote the Redwall series and The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series. Over 20 million copies of his books have been sold, and the works have been translated into 28 languages. Children could learn more at: Brian Jacques.
Loreen Leedy (born Wilmington, Delaware, 1959) has written and illustrated about 40 books for children. Her books include Fraction Action and The Shocking Truth about Electricity. Children can visit her website, especially her projects page, at: Loreen Leedy.
Betty Ren Wright (born Wakefield, Michigan, 1927; died Racine, Wisconsin, December 31, 2013) wrote at least 35 books for children. Her works include The Ghost in the Window and Nothing but Trouble.