National Bison Day is today! Celebrated on the first Saturday in November, the day honors our national mammal, the bison. The US Senate created the day in 2012 with the encouragement of conservation groups and Native American tribal organizations. The bison is also the state mammal of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Bison were almost hunted to extinction, but today the animals can be found in refuges and ranches.
Tonga celebrates Independence Day. It became independent from the United Kingdom in 1970. A constitutional monarchy, Tonga still remains part of the British Commonwealth. The country, located in the South Pacific, is composed of 172 islands. Its total area is about four times the size of Washington, DC. Slightly over 100,000 people live on the islands. Its capital is Nuku’alofa. Captain James Cook explored the area in 1773. Today Tonga exports copra, bananas, and vanilla. Children could complete a coloring activity about Tonga at: Tonga. They could learn more about the country at: Tonga Country.
Artificial leg was patented by Benjamin Franklin Palmer in 1846. His invention received patent number 4,834. Children can read about Palmer and his invention at: Palmer.
Cash register was patented in 1879 by James Ritty and John Ritty of Dayton, Ohio. They invented the cash register, called “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier,” because they felt employees were stealing money from them. Children can see the patent at the Google patent site at: Cash Register Patent.
Refrigeration apparatus was patented by Thomas Elkins in 1879. He received patent number 221,222. Children can see his patent at the Google patent site at: Refrigeration Patent.
King Tut’s tomb was discovered in 1922. Howard Carter had been looking for the tomb for a number of years. His expeditions had been financed by Lord Carnarvon. Tutankhamen had become pharaoh when he was nine years old. He died at approximately age nineteen. His tomb was one of the few that had never been plundered. The National Museum at Cairo retains the relics. Children can find out more about Howard Carter and take an interactive tour of King Tut’s tomb at: Howard Carter.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was created in 1946. The goal of UNESCO is to promote “world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the arts, the sciences, and culture.” Children could learn about all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites at: World Heritage Sites.
M. T. Anderson (born Stow, Massachusetts, 1968) is a children’s author. One of his books is The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing. Children could visit his very interesting website at: M. T. Anderson.
Laura Welch Bush (born Midland, Texas, 1946) was America’s First Lady from January 20, 2001 to January 20, 2009. She is the wife of George W. Bush, the forty-third president of the United States. She is the only First Lady to have twins. Children could visit a website at: Laura Bush.
Walter Leland Cronkite (born St. Joseph, Missouri, 1916; died New York, New York, July 17, 2009) was a journalist and television anchorperson. He was a pioneer in television news reporting. He was one of the first news reporters to break the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Gail E. Haley (born Charlotte, North Carolina, 1939) is a children’s book author and illustrator. Her A Story, A Story earned the 1971 Caldecott Medal. Gail also received the 1976 Kate Greenaway Award for The Post Office Cat. Children could visit her website, filled with videos and activities, at: Gail Haley
Sterling North (born Edgerton, Wisconsin, 1906; died Whipanny, New Jersey, December 21, 1974) was a children’s author. He wrote Rascal, the 1964 Newbery Honor Award book. His hometown bought his childhood home and created a museum. Children could visit the museum’s website, especially the photos, at: Sterling North.
Will Rogers (born Oolagah, Indian Territory (now called Oklahoma), 1879; died in a plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska, August 15, 1935) was a famous humorist, writer, and actor. Children can learn more at: Will Rogers.