Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated by children in Central and Northern Europe. Dutch children fill their shoes with hay the night before. Treats can be found in shoes the next day.
Finland celebrates Independence Day. It became free from Russia in 1917. For centuries Sweden and Russia have fought over Finland. Russia took over the country in 1809. According to the CIA World Factbook, Finland is slightly smaller than the state of Montana. Today Helsinki is the northernmost capital of any country in Europe. More than five million people live in Finland, and most live in a small coastal plain. Over three-fourths of the land is covered with forests. It exports timber and wood pulp.
Washington Monument was completed in 1884. The monument’s cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848, and building began. However, lack of funding and the Civil War stopped work. Then President Ulysses Grant started construction again. It was completed on this day in 1884 and dedicated in 1885. Children can learn more at: Washington Monument.
Everglades National Park was founded in 1947. The park contains over 1,500,000 acres of land. It is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist. The park provides an amazing array of photos, audio programs, and videos. Children could visit the park’s website at: http://www.nps.gov/ever. They could use a Venn diagram to show the differences between alligators (left) and crocodiles (right).
Dave Brubeck (born Concord, California, 1920; died Norwalk, Connecticut, December 5, 2012) was a jazz musician. Children can view a great website devoted to him and listen to his music at: http://davebrubeck.com/work/.
Ira Gershwin (born New York, New York, 1896; died Beverly Hills, California, August 17, 1983) was a lyricist. He often worked with his brother, George. His Broadway hits include Funny Face. Children can visit a wonderful website and listen to his lyrics at: Ira Gershwin.
Alfred Eisenstaedt (born Dirschau, Prussia, 1898; died Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, August 23, 1955) was a famous photojournalist. He was known for his photographs published by Life magazine. One of his most popular photographs was of a soldier kissing a nurse to celebrate the end of World War II. Children can view that photograph and many others at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjq1iKVr2Es.
John Reynolds Gardiner (born Los Angeles, California, 1944; died Anaheim, California, March 4, 2006) was a children’s author. One of his most famous books is Stone Fox. Over four million copies of the book have been sold. Children can learn more about Gardiner at: John Reynolds Gardiner.
Alfred Joyce Kilmer (born New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1886; died in battle near Ourcy, France, July 30, 1918) was a poet. One of his most famous poems is “Trees,” published in 1913. Children could read “Trees” at: Trees. Children can read his works at: Project Gutenberg.
Cornelia Meigs (born Rock Island, Illinois, 1884; died Havre de Grace, Maryland, September 10, 1973) wrote over 30 books for children as well as screenplays and books for adults. The Windy Hill received a 1922 Newbery Honor Award. Clearing Weather won a 1929 Newbery Honor Award. Swift Rivers obtained a 1933 Newbery Honor Award. Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of “Little Women” received the Newbery Medal in 1934. Children can read The Windy Hill at: Project Gutenberg. Children can learn more at: Cornelia Meigs.
Elizabeth Yates (born Buffalo, New York, 1905; died Concord, New Hampshire, July 29, 2001) was a children’s author, publishing at least 25 books. In 1944 she received a Newbery Honor Award for Mountain Born, and in 1951 her Amos Fortune, Free Man was awarded the Newbery Medal. In 1955 Rainbow Round the World received the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Children can learn more at: Elizabeth Yates.