Geography Awareness Week stresses the importance of local and global geography. It is sponsored by the Geography Education Program of the National Geographic Society. Held during the third week in November since 1987, this year’s week runs from November 13 to November 17. One easy but very informative activity is the Global Closet Calculator, where children locate the origin of their clothing and shoes. Children and adults can learn more at: Geography Awareness Week.
National Pickle Day is today! This day celebrates the preservation of cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables by fermenting them in a solution of water, vinegar, salt, and various spices. The history of pickling is long; cucumbers were preserved as far back as 2000 BC. Idea: children could list various types of pickles and determine their favorites.
World Diabetes Day is promoted by the International Diabetes Federation. The group’s purpose today is to educate people about diabetes. November 14th was chosen because today is Sir Frederick Grant Banting’s birthday. Born in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, in 1891, he discovered insulin. He died in an airplane crash near Newfoundland in 1941. Children could visit the International Diabetes Federation website to find out more about diabetes: https://worlddiabetesday.org/.
Nellie Bly began her trip in 1889 to go around the world in eighty days. She was trying to copy the trip Jules Verne created for his character Phileas Fogg in the book Around the World in Eighty Days. She completed the 24,899 mile trip in slightly over 72 days, returning to New Jersey on January 25, 1890. During her trip she met Jules Verne in France. She sailed through the Suez Canal and traveled through Hong Kong and Japan. Her record lasted only a few months; in 1890 George Francis Train went around the world in 67 days. Children can visit a website devoted to her at: Nellie Bly.
Apollo 12 was launched in 1969. The craft carried astronauts Richard F. Gordon, Alan L. Bean and Pete Conrad to the second landing on the moon’s surface, which occurred on November 19th. They returned to earth November 24th. Children could learn more at: Apollo 12.
Aaron Copland (born Brooklyn, New York, 1900; died North Tarrytown, New York, December 2, 1990) was a composer. Two of his most famous works are Fanfare for the Common Man, composed in 1942, and Appalachian Spring, composed in 1944. Older children could learn more at: Aaron Copland.
Robert Fulton (born in what is now Fulton Township, Pennsylvania, 1765; died New York, New York, February 24, 1815) did not invent the steamboat, but he did make it practical. Children could learn more at: Robert Fulton.
Leo Hendrik Baekeland (born Ghent, Belgium, 1863; died Beacon, New York, February 23, 1944) invented Bakelite, an early plastic. Today’s children find plastic all around them. They could list ten items made of plastic and then try to find out what those items were made of before plastic was around.
Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower (born Boone, Iowa, 1896; died Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 1, 1979) was America’s First Lady from January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961. She was the wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower, thirty-fourth president of the United States. Because he was a military officer for many years, they lived in a variety of places. She enjoyed her years as First Lady. Children could visit a website at: Mamie Eisenhower.
Astrid Lindgren (born Vimmerby, Sweden, 1907; died Stockholm, Sweden, January 28, 2002) was a children’s author. She is famous for her books about Pippi Longstocking. Children could visit a wonderful website with great photos and a wonderful timeline at: Astrid Lindgren. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was created by the Swedish government in 2002 to honor children’s writers and illustrators. The award is not given for a specific work but for a lifetime of achievement. A cash prize of five million Swedish crowns (about $665,000) accompanies the award. The Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs administers the award. The winners are announced in March in Vimmerby, Sweden, Astrid Lindgren’s hometown. The winners receive their awards in May in Stockholm, Sweden. Visit the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award website: ALMA. Children could learn more about Astrid Lindgren and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award by consulting the Children’s Book Award Handbook, by Diana F. Marks.
Patricia Miles Martin, aka Miska Miles (born Cherokee, Kansas, 1899; died San Mateo County, California, 1986) wrote over 100 books for children. She received a 1972 Newbery Honor Award for Annie and the Old One. Other works include Small Rabbit and Gertrude’s Pocket. Children could learn more at: Miska Miles.
Claude Monet (born Paris, France, 1840; died Giverny, France, December 5, 1926) was a painter. One of his early paintings was entitled Impression: Sunrise. The painting conveyed his emotions regarding the scene. The title started the movement of impressionism. Children could visit a website at: Claude Monet. They could also read A Blue Butterfly: A Story about Claude Monet, by Bijou Le Tord. Idea: Students could listen to Aaron Copland’s music as they view prints of Monet’s paintings. They could find out how both creative geniuses used emotion and feelings.
Jawaharlah Nehru (born Allahabad, India, 1889; died New Delhi, India, May 27, 1964) was India’s first prime minister after it became an independent country.
William Steig (born New York, New York, 1907; died Boston, Massachusetts, October 3, 2003) was a children’s author and illustrator. He wrote, among other works, Abel’s Island which received a 1977 Newbery Honor Award, and Doctor De Soto, which received a 1983 Newbery Honor Award. His Sylvester and the Magic Pebble received the 1970 Caldecott Award, and The Amazing Bone was a 1977 Caldecott Honor Book. Notice he earned both Newbery and Caldecott Awards – quite an accomplishment! Children could learn more at: William Steig.