Nov 032023

Flag of Panama

Panama celebrates Independence Day. Originally settled by the Spanish, Panama in 1821 was part of the Republic of Gran Colombia. Today’s Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador were also included in the Republic. In 1831 the Republic of Gran Colombia disintegrated, and Panama remained part of Colombia. In 1903 Panama broke away from Colombia and formed its own government. Slightly smaller than the state of South Carolina, Panama has a tropical climate. Its population exceeds three million, and the country depends on revenue from the Panama Canal. Panama City is the capital. Farmers in Panama grow a number of crops, including bananas, cocoa, and coffee. Children can learn more at: Panama.


Nov 032023

Flag of Dominica

Dominica celebrates Independence Day. Great Britain granted Dominica its independence in 1978. This small (about four times the size of Washington, DC) Caribbean island is located between Guadeloupe and Martinique. Around 70,000 people live among the rainforests and volcanic mountains. Known for its variety of amazing animals and plants (including bananas), the island is home to the world’s second-largest hot spring, Boiling Lake. Roseau is the capital. Older children can learn more at: Dominica.

Nov 032023

Flag of Micronesia

Micronesia celebrates Independence Day. The archipelago, located in the western Pacific Ocean, gained its freedom from the United States and the United Nations in 1986. Palikir is the capital. The combined area of the 607 islands is about four times the size of Washington, DC. Its tropical climate allows the islanders to grow and export black pepper and bananas. The total population is slightly greater than one hundred thousand. Older children can learn more at: Micronesia.

Nov 032023

Sputnik 2, a Soviet spacecraft, was launched in 1957. The Russian spacecraft was the second craft to be launched into earth orbit. It carried the first animal, a dog named Laika, into space. Unfortunately, the dog died hours into the mission from excessive heat and stress.

Nov 032023

Stephen Fuller Austin (born Wythe County, Virginia, 1793; died Columbia, Texas, December 27, 1836) was a Texas hero. He founded a settlement in Texas in 1822 when the land belonged to Mexico. He was imprisoned when he pushed for Texas autonomy, but he was given his freedom in 1835. In 1836 he ran against Sam Houston for the presidency of Texas, but he lost. The Texas state capital is named in honor of him.

William Cullen Bryant (born Cummington, Massachusetts, 1794; died New York, New York, June 12, 1878) was an American poet. Children can read some of his works at: Project Gutenberg.

Janell Cannon (born Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1957) is a children’s author and illustrator. Most of her books feature animals, and her most famous book is Stellaluna. Children can watch Pamela Reed read Stellaluna on Storyline Online at:

Bette Bao Lord (born Shanghai, China, 1938) is a writer and an activist. She wrote In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, published in 1984.

A Sandwich

A Very Tasty Sandwich!

John Montague, Fourth Earl of Sandwich (born London, England, 1718; died London, England, April 30, 1792) invented the sandwich. He held many posts, including lord of the admiralty. Captain Cook named the Sandwich Islands in honor of him in 1778. According to legend, he created the sandwich as a way of saving time during a gambling party in 1762, because he could eat with one hand and gamble with the other.