Nov 162023

Great American Smokeout Day hopes to persuade smokers to quit. The day is always the third Thursday in November. The American Cancer Society states that 36.5 million Americans smoke cigarettes. The percentage of Americans smoking has declined from 42 percent in 1965 to 14 percent in 2019. However, the number of people smoking cigars or pipes is rising.  Children could visit a website at: Great American Smokeout Day.


Nov 162023
Oklahoma State Flag

Oklahoma Flag

Oklahoma became the forty-sixth state of the United States in 1907. French trappers visited the area around 1700. Several Native American groups were relocated to Oklahoma, only to be forced out later. Oil and gas were and still are important sources of income. Oklahoma’s name can be traced to a Choctaw word okla humma, meaning land of the red people. Its nickname is the Sooner State. Oklahoma ranks 20th in size and 35th in population. Oklahoma City is the capital. Idea: Oklahoma has a panhandle. Children could look at a United States map and find out which other states also have panhandles. Children can visit the America’s Library website and learn about kolaches at: Oklahoma.

Nov 162023

Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer died on November 16, 1790. His exact date of birth is unknown. He represented Maryland at the Constitutional Convention. Before the Revolutionary War, he was active in settling border disputes between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Older children could learn more at: Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer.

Nov 162023

Venera 3, a Soviet unmanned space probe, was launched in 1965. It crash landed on the surface of Venus on March 1, 1966. It was the first man-made object to travel to another planet.  Children could figure out how many days it took to get to Venus and the distance it traveled. They could make various math problems from those statistics.

Nov 162023
Skylab 4

Carr “balances” Pogue in weightless conditions

Skylab 4, with three astronauts, was launched in 1973. The crew (Commander Gerald P. Carr, Pilot William R. Pogue, and Scientist Edward G. Gibson) spent over 84 days in space, returning to earth on February 8, 1974. Daily life in space is much different from daily life on earth. Marianne J. Dyson wrote a very interesting book, Space Station Science: Life in Free Fall. She provides some easy and fascinating experiments. I like her chapter on space bathrooms. Children could also learn more at: Skylab 4.

Nov 162023

Artemis I lifted off in 2022. The rocket sent Orion, the upper stage without humans aboard, toward the moon. Orion circled the moon for several days and then splashed down in the Pacific on December 11. Data regarding both the project and the moon will indicate how to improve Artemis II that is to send four astronauts to the moon in 2024. The rocket launched from Cape Kennedy Space Center. Older children can learn more at: Artemis I.

Nov 162023

Jean Fritz (born Hankow, China, 1915; died Sleepy Hollow, New York, May 14, 2017) was a children’s author of at least 36 books. She wrote among other works Homesick: My Own Story (Newbery Honor Book), 1982. She received the 1986 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her body of work. Children could learn more at: Jean Fritz.

W. C. Handy (born William Christopher Handy in Florence, Alabama, 1873; died New York, New York, March 28, 1958) was known as the “Father of the Blues.” One of his most famous works is St. Louis Blues, composed in 1914.

James McHenry (born Ireland, 1753; died Baltimore, Maryland, May 3, 1816) represented Maryland at the Constitutional Convention. During the Revolutionary War, he was an army surgeon and an aide to George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. After the war, he became active in politics. For some time he served simultaneously in Maryland’s senate and in Congress. For four years he served as Secretary of War during George Washington’s administration and into the start of John Adams’s administration. Fort McHenry is named after him. Children can learn more at: James McHenry.

Robin McKinley (born Warren, Ohio, 1952) has written about 20 books for young adults. Her The Blue Sword was a Newbery Honor Book in 1983, and The Hero and the Crown was the Newbery Medal winner in 1985. Young adults can read some beginning chapters of new books at: Robin McKinley.

Carolyn Reeder (born Washington, DC, 1937; died Washington, DC, January 20, 2012) wrote about ten books for children. Her book Shades of Gray received the 1990 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Barbara Reid (born Toronto, Canada, 1957) writes and illustrates books for children. She illustrated, among other works, Effie, published in 1990. Her works also include Welcome Baby and The Subway Mouse. She uses plasticine as an art medium, and she generously shares her ideas at her website. Her videos are a must-see at: Barbara Reid.

Miroslav Sasek (born Prague, Czechia, 1918; died Wettingen, Switzerland, May 28, 1980) wrote books for children. He is most famous for his eighteen This Is…books (This is Paris, This Is Ireland, etc.). Children can learn more at: Miroslav Sasek.