National Inventors’ Day is today! In 1983 President Ronald Reagan declared February 11 to be National Inventors’ Day, honoring Thomas Edison who was born on this day in 1847. The day recognizes all inventors and encourages everyone to try out new ideas. Children could learn more about creating an invention by reading Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors by Susan Casey.
Philadelphia established the first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, in the United States in 1751. Aided by Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Thomas Bond created the hospital where people received free medical care. Children can take a virtual tour of the old buildings at: Pennsylvania Hospital.
Vatican achieved its independence from Italy in 1929. While Vatican City had been separate from Rome for centuries, documents signed this day in 1929 made the Vatican a distinct government. According to the CIA World Factbook, the Vatican is about 0.7 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC. The smallest country in the world, the Vatican is home to around 850 people. More than four million people visit the Vatican each year.
Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in South Africa in 1990. He had been in prison for 27 years due to his anti-apartheid activities. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He was elected president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He died on December 5, 2013.
Thomas Alva Edison (born Milan, Ohio, 1847; died Menlo Park, New Jersey, October 18, 1931) held more than 1,200 patents. He invented the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and part of the telephone transmitter. Children can learn more by visiting the Thomas Edison National Park website at: Thomas Alva Edison.
Holly Keller (born New York, New York, 1942) writes and illustrates books for children. She has illustrated some of her own books, including Geraldine and Mrs. Duffy and Farfalina and Marcel, which received the Charlotte Zolotow Award in 2005. She has also illustrated books by other authors, including Patricia Lauber and Paul Showers.
Mo Willems (born Des Plaines, Illinois, 1968) is an animator and a writer/illustrator of books for children. He has received three Caldecott Honor Awards: Don’t Let the Pigeons Drive the Bus in 2004, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale in 2005, and Knuffle Bunny: A Case of Mistaken Identity in 2008. He has also received two Theodore Geisel Awards: There is a Bird on Your Head in 2008 and Are You Ready to Play Outside? in 2009. Children can visit his very interesting website at: Mo Willems.
Jane Yolen (born New York, New York, 1939) has written over 365 books for children, and she has received many, many awards. Her book Devil’s Arithmetic received the 1989 Sydney Taylor Award. She has received three Golden Kite Awards: The Girl Who Cried Flowers and other Tales in 1974, The Transfigured Hart (Honor Book) in 1975, and Moon Ribbons and other Tales (Honor Book) in 1976. She wrote The Emperor and the Kite, and its illustrator, Ed Young, received a Caldecott Honor Award in 1968. She wrote Owl Moon, and its illustrator, John Schoenherr, received the 1988 Caldecott Medal. Children can visit her very interesting website at: Jane Yolen.