Henry M. Stanley in 1871 found David Livingstone, the missing missionary, in Africa. He asked the famous question, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Dr. Livingstone, missing for six years, was trying to find the source of the Nile. Most people assumed he had died. Stanley was sent by the New York Herald to find Livingstone. After their meeting Livingstone remained in Africa but died about 2.5 years later. Older children can read books by Livingstone and by Stanley at: Project Gutenberg.
Windshield wipers were patented by Mary Anderson of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1903. Her “window cleaner devices for electric cars and other vehicles” received patent number 743801. She invented the windshield wipers after she was a passenger on a trolley where the conductor could not easily clean the windshield of ice and snow. Children could view her patent at: Windshield Wiper Patent.
Sesame Street aired for the first time in 1969. It is still a favorite with young children. Idea: Each episode is sponsored by a number and a letter or two. Assign certain letters to children. Ask the children to present new and unusual vocabulary words that begin with those letters. Children can learn more at: Sesame Street.
Great Wall of China opened to tourists in 1970. The wall is about 5,500 miles long and separates China from its historical northern enemies. Begun by Qin Shi Huang Di around 220 BC, the wall welcomes about ten million visitors a year. Children could view photos and video at the UNESCO site: Great Wall of China.
Badlands National Park became a national park in 1978. This South Dakota park encompasses 244,000 acres and is home to many animals, including bison, bighorn sheep and black-footed ferrets. The park website has amazing videos, photos, and activities for children: Badlands National Park.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in 1978. Composed of three portions (North, South, and Elkhorn Ranch), the park encompasses 70,446 acres in western North Dakota. Theodore Roosevelt first visited the area in 1883 to hunt bison. Mourning the deaths of his first wife and his mother, he returned in 1884 and built Elkhorn Ranch. The area is mixed prairie grasslands, and bison, elk, and bighorn sheep are among the many animals to be found there. It is the only national park to be named solely for one person. Children could learn more at: Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
NASA launched and retrieved LOFTID in 2022. LOFTID (Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator) tested whether the HIAD (Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator) works, and it does! One the problems with landing on either the moon or on other planets (or even on earth) is that the friction of deceleration causes previous vehicles’ heat shields to become unreliable. This new inflatable heat shield, a giant, inflatable set of cone tubes, reduced entry speed from Mach 28 (21,483 miles per hour) to Mach 0.7 (537 miles per hour). The HIAD and another project lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Center in Lompoc, California. The HIAD returned to earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean. Children can learn more at: HIAD.
Holly Black (born West Long Branch, New Jersey, 1971) is a children’s author. She and Tony DiTerlizzi wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles. Children could visit her website at: Holly Black.
Neil Gaiman (born Portchest, United Kingdom, 1960) is a children’s author and graphic novelist. His book The Graveyard Book won the Newbery Medal in 2009. Children could visit his website at: Neil Gaiman.
Martin Luther (born Eisleben, Saxony, 1483; died Eisleben, Saxony, February 18, 1546) was a priest who actually started the Protestant movement. He nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Wittenberg’s castle church on October 31, 1517. He also was an accomplished musician. He was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church and married a former nun, Katherine von Bora. Older children could read a transcription in English of his statements at: Ninety-Five Theses.
Kate Seredy (born Budapest, Hungary, 1899; died Middletown, New York, March 7, 1975) wrote and illustrated at least twelve books for children. In addition, she illustrated at least 50 books and textbooks written by other authors. Her The Good Master was awarded a 1935 Newbery Honor Award. The White Stag won the 1936 Newbery Medal. Then The Singing Tree was awarded a 1940 Newbery Honor Award. Her illustrations for The Christmas Anna Angel, written by Ruth Sawyer, were recognized with a 1945 Caldecott Honor Award. Notice she earned both Newbery and Caldecott Awards – quite an accomplishment! Children could learn more at: Kate Seredy.