Djibouti celebrates Independence Day. It declared its independence from France in 1977. Located in northeastern Africa, Djibouti is a bit smaller than Massachusetts. The capital is named Djibouti as well. According to the CIA World Factbook, most of the country is a desert, and natural resources include gold, limestone, and marble. About 800,000 people live in Djibouti. Children can learn more at: Djibouti.
James Smithson, a British subject, died in Genoa, Italy, in 1829. He bequeathed his fortune to the United States, a country he had never visited. Children can learn more about him at: James Smithson. The Smithsonian Institute, established in 1846, was created from his money and personal possessions. Today the Smithsonian has nineteen museums and nine research centers. The Smithsonian houses 137 million artifacts, and 30 million people visit it every year. Children can visit its website at: http://www.si.edu.
Happy Birthday Song was created in 1859. Mildred J. Hill created the melody, and Patty Smith Hill wrote the lyrics. It was published in 1893. It is probably one of the most popular songs today. Mildred Hill died before it became so famous.
Newbery Medal was awarded for the first time to Hendrik Van Loon for The Story of Mankind in 1922. Children can read The Story of Mankind at: Project Gutenberg. The Newbery Awards are presented to the American writers of the best children’s books. Children can learn more about John Newbery and the Newbery Awards at: Newbery. You could also read the portion dedicated to John Newbery and the Newbery Medal in the Children’s Book Award Handbook by Diana F. Marks.
Lucille Clifton (born DePew, New York, 1936; died Baltimore, Maryland, February 13, 2010) wrote poetry and children’s books. Her book Amifca received a Jane Addams Special Recognition Award in 1978. Everett Anderson’s Good-bye earned the 1984 Coretta Scott King Medal. Children could learn more at: Lucille Clifton.
Paul Laurence Dunbar (born Dayton, Ohio, 1872; died Dayton, Ohio, February 9, 1906) was the son of former slaves. He wrote novels, but he is best remembered for his poetry. He published twelve books. Children can read his works at: Project Gutenberg.
James Lincoln Collier (born New York, New York, 1928) is an author. He wrote with his brother, Christopher Collier, My Brother Sam Is Dead.
Helen Adams Keller (born Tuscumbia, Alabama, 1880; died Westport, Connecticut, June 1, 1968) was a lecturer despite being deaf and blind. When she was nineteen months old, she became very sick and lost her sight and hearing. At age seven, she met Anne Sullivan. Anne taught her Braille; and she even learned how to speak. She graduated with honors from Radcliffe in 1904. She traveled and lectured for most of her adult life. The play The Miracle Worker was written in 1959. It became a movie in 1962. Children could learn more at: http://www.braillebug.org/hkfacts.asp.
Helen Sewell (born Mare Island, California, 1896; died New York, New York. February 24, 1957) illustrated at least 60 books for children. She received a 1955 Caldecott Honor Award for her illustrations in The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh. She early on illustrated some of the Little House on the Prairie series until Garth Williams replaced her in 1953. Children can learn more at: Helen Sewell.