Namibia celebrates Independence Day. It declared itself free from South Africa in 1990. The Kalahari Desert is one of the geographic features of this fairly large (about half the size of Alaska) country. Windhoek is the capital. About 2.2 million people live in Namibia, and many of them depend on mining for jobs. The country is the world’s fourth largest producer of uranium, and diamonds and zinc also contribute to the economy.
Pocahontas died in Gravesend, Kent, England, in 1617. She was probably born in 1595. She had accompanied her husband, John Rolfe, on a trip to England to meet his family and friends. Children could visit a website at: Pocahontas.
Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones in 1999 became the first people to circle the earth in a hot air balloon. Their 26,000-mile trip took 19 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes. Their trip started in Switzerland and ended in Egypt. The gondola looks like a gigantic red pill, and solar panels provided power for GPS and communication. Children can see a photo of the gondola and read more at: Hot Air Balloon.
United Nations designates today as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Johann Sebastian Bach (born Eisenach, Germany, 1685; died Leipzig, Germany, July 28, 1750) was a composer of Baroque music. His work is very complex, and it was not popular during his lifetime. He became famous after his death. He created several hundred compositions, including almost 300 cantatas.
Peter Catalanotto (born Long Island, New York, 1959) is a children’s author and illustrator. He has written and illustrated about fourteen books. He has also illustrated books by other authors, including Cynthia Rylant and Susan Patron. One of his books is Dylan’s Day Out. Children can visit his website at: Peter Catalanotto.
Lisa Desimini (born Brooklyn, New York, 1964) writes and illustrates books for children. Her works include Moon Soup and My House. Children can learn more at: Lisa Desimini.
Michael Foreman (born Pakefield, England, 1938) is a British writer and illustrator of children’s books. He has written and/or illustrated over 180 books. He has won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice, once in 1982 and again in 1989. Children can view a list of his works at: Michael Foreman.
Francis Lewis (born Wales, 1713; died New York, New York, December 31, 1802) signed the Declaration of Independence. He represented New York. In his early life, he fought in the French and Indian War. The British imposition of the Stamp Act angered him, and he became politically active. After he signed the Declaration of Independence, he worked hard to strengthen the navy and the army. In the fall of 1776, the British seized and destroyed his home, and they imprisoned his wife for several months under deplorable conditions. She died two years later. His only daughter married an English officer and moved to England.
David Wisniewski (born Middlesex, England, 1953; died Alexandria, Virginia, September 11, 2002) was a children’s author and illustrator. He had an unusual method of illustration; he layered cut papers to create a kind of three-dimensional effect. One of his books, Golem, won the 1997 Caldecott Award. Children can learn more at: David Wisniewski.