Las Posadas is celebrated in Mexico. This event begins December 16th and ends December 24th. Each evening families walk from house to house, seeking shelter for Mary and Joseph. At the last house, everyone enters. People feast and dance, and a piñata is broken open. Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith’s Las Posadas: an Hispanic Christmas Celebration gives great insights into this tradition.
Republic of Kazakhstan celebrates Independence Day. In 1991 it broke away from the Soviet Union. According to the CIA World Factbook, Kazakhstan is about four times the size of Texas. Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world. About 16 million inhabitants live in this arid country. Although Almaty is the biggest city, Astana is the capital. Kazakhstan exports oil and wheat. Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in Kazakhstan’s desert steppe, is the world’s oldest and largest space launch site.
Bahrain celebrates National Day. The country broke away from Great Britain in 1971. This archipelago of 33 islands lies in the Persian Gulf. According to the CIA World Factbook, Bahrain is about 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC. About 1.2 million people live in this desert country, and Manama is the capital. Bahrain’s economy depends on oil exports and tourism.
Boston Tea Party was a protest against a duty placed on imported tea. In 1773 over 100 men, dressed as Native Americans and led by Samuel Adams, boarded three English ships moored in Boston’s harbor. They dumped at least 300 chests of tea overboard. They did not wish to pay the tax for the tea. The British retaliated by imposing the Intolerable Acts on the colonists. These acts led to further opposition on the part of the colonists and eventually the meeting of the First Continental Congress. Children could read The Boston Tea Party, by Russell Freedman. Were the patriots right in what they did?
Jane Austen (born Steventon, Hampshire, England, 1775; died Winchester, England, July 18, 1817) was a writer. Two of her most famous works are Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. Children can read many of her works at: Project Gutenberg.
Ludwig van Beethoven (born Bonn, Germany, 1770; died Vienna, Austria, March 26, 1827) was one of the greatest composers. He created nine symphonies, a number of overtures and chamber music, an opera and about 35 sonatas. He grew deaf in his later years, but he still was able to compose. Children could read Beethoven Lives Upstairs by Barbara Nichol.
Quentin Blake (born Sidcup, Kent, England, 1932) is a children’s author and illustrator. While he has written and/or illustrated at least 323 books, he is perhaps best known for his illustrations of books by Raold Dahl. He won the 1980 Kate Greenaway Award for his book Mister Magnolia. In 2002 he won the very prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award for his body of works. Children could visit his website at: Quentin Blake.
Bill Brittain (born Rochester, New York, 1930; died December 16, 2011) was an author. One of his books is All the Money in the World. Another of his most well-known works is The Wish Giver. It received the 1984 Newbery Honor Award.
Arthur Charles Clarke (born Minehead, England, 1917; died Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 19, 2008) was an author. He is best known for his science fiction, including 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Marie Hall Ets (born Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1895; died Inverness, Florida, January 17, 1984) was an author and/or illustrator of more than 20 children’s books. She received the 1960 Caldecott Medal for Nine Days to Christmas. Children could learn more at: Marie Hall Ets.
Wassily Kandinksy (born Moscow, Russia, 1866; died Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, December 13, 1944) was an abstract painter. He moved from Russia to Germany and eventually to France where he became a French citizen. Many experts consider him to be the founder of abstract art. Children can view some of his work at: Wassily Kandinsky.
Margaret Mead (born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1901; died New York, New York, November 15, 1978) was an anthropologist and a writer. Coming of Age in Samoa, published in 1928, showed her strong interest in other cultures. Her writings often compared and contrasted two cultures.
George Santayana (born Madrid, Spain, 1863; died Rome, Italy, September 26, 1952) was a philosopher. One of his most famous quotes is, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Children can read some of his earlier works at: Project Gutenberg.