Oklahoma became the forty-sixth state of the United States in 1907. French trappers visited the area around 1700. Several Native American groups were relocated to Oklahoma, only to be forced out later. Oil and gas were and still are important sources of income. Oklahoma’s name can be traced to a Choctaw word okla humma, meaning land of the red people. Its nickname is the Sooner State. Idea: Oklahoma has a panhandle. Children could look at a United States map and find out which other states also have panhandles. Children can visit the America’s Library website and learn about kolaches at: Oklahoma.
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer died on November 16, 1790. His exact date of birth is unknown. He represented Maryland at the Constitutional Convention. Before the Revolutionary War, he was active in settling border disputes between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Older children could learn more at: Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer.
Venera 3, a Soviet unmanned space probe, was launched in 1965. It crash landed on the surface of Venus on March 1, 1966. It was the first man-made object to travel to another planet. Children could figure out how many days it took to get to Venus and the distance it traveled. They could make various math problems from those statistics.
Skylab 4, with three astronauts, was launched in 1973. The crew (Commander Gerald P. Carr, Pilot William R. Pogue, and Scientist Edward G. Gibson) spent over 84 days in space, returning to earth on February 8, 1974. Daily life in space is much different from daily life on earth. Marianne J. Dyson wrote a very interesting book, Space Station Science: Life in Free Fall. She provides some easy and fascinating experiments. I like her chapter on space bathrooms. Children could also learn more at: Skylab 4.
Jean Fritz (born Hankow, China, 1915; died Sleepy Hollow, New York, May 14, 2017) was a children’s author of at least 36 books. She wrote among other works Homesick: My Own Story (Newbery Honor Book), 1982. She received the 1986 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her body of work. Children could learn more at: Jean Fritz.
W. C. Handy (born William Christopher Handy in Florence, Alabama, 1873; died New York, New York, March 28, 1958) was known as the “Father of the Blues.” One of his most famous works is St. Louis Blues, composed in 1914.
James McHenry (born Ireland, 1753; died Baltimore, Maryland, May 3, 1816) represented Maryland at the Constitutional Convention. During the Revolutionary War, he was an army surgeon and an aide to George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. After the war, he became active in politics. For some time he served simultaneously in Maryland’s senate and in Congress. For four years he served as Secretary of War during George Washington’s administration and into the start of John Adams’s administration. Fort McHenry is named after him. Children can learn more at: James McHenry.
Robin McKinley (born Warren, Ohio, 1952) is a writer for young adults. Her The Hero and the Crown was the Newbery Medal winner in 1985, and the The Blue Sword was a Newbery Honor Book in 1983. Read some beginning chapters of new books at: Robin McKinley.
Carolyn Reeder (born Washington, DC, 1937; died Washington, DC, January 20, 2012) was a children’s author and wrote about ten books. Her book Shades of Gray received the 1990 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.
Barbara Reid (born Toronto, Canada, 1957) writes and illustrates books for children. She illustrated, among other works, Effie, published in 1990. She uses plasticine as an art medium, and she generously shares her ideas at her website. Her videos are a must-see at: Barbara Reid.
Miroslav Sasek (born Prague, Czechia, 1918; died Wettingen, Switzerland, May 1980) wrote books for children. He is most famous for his eighteen This Is…books (This is Paris, This Is Ireland, etc.). Children can learn more at: Miroslav Sasek.