Red Planet Day is today! Mars, the red planet, is honored today because Mariner 4 was launched on November 28, 1964. It reached Mars on July 14, 1965, sending back to NASA 22 photos of the planet. Mars is a cold desert planet, the fourth from the sun. It is red because a great deal of iron is in the soil. It has two moons, Phobos and Deimos. Children can learn more at: Mars.
Albania celebrates Liberation Day. The Ottoman Empire gave up control of Albania in 1912. Located in southeastern Europe, the country is a bit smaller than the state of Maryland (according to the CIA World Factbook). Almost three million people live in this mountainous and hilly country. Tirana is the capital. Albania’s major industries are food processing and textiles. Older children can learn more at: Albania.
Mauritania celebrates Independence Day. It gained its freedom from France in 1960. The country, located in northwestern Africa, is larger than the state of Texas. Over three million people live in Mauritania, and the capital is Nouakchott. Located in the Sahara Desert, the country derives most of its income from livestock, iron ore, and gypsum. Older children could learn more at: Mauritania.
Timor-Leste celebrates Independence Day. The day marks the 1975 end of Portuguese rule. Located in Southeast Asia, the islands experience tropical weather with rainy and dry seasons. The area of the islands is about half the area of Maryland. Natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, and gold. About 1.41 million people live in Timor-Leste, and the capital is Dili. Children can learn more at: Timor-Leste.
First automobile race in the United States took place in 1895. This is an interesting story. Cars had been invented only two year earlier. The Chicago Times-Herald wanted to promote cars and boost newspaper circulation, so the newspaper sponsored the race. Approximately 83 cars were entered, but only six cars participated in the 54-mile race from Chicago to Evanston and back. The cars and drivers had to battle cold weather, snow, and local laws to finish. The winner, Charles Duryea in his motorized wagon, averaged seven miles per hour. He won $5000 (over $100,000 in today’s money). Children could learn more at: First Automobile Race.
Lady Astor became the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament. Born in the United States, Lady Astor was elected in 1919. She served until 1945. Children could find out if British Parliament elections differ from American elections by watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs-9B3FRXCA.
Stephanie Calmenson (born Brooklyn, New York, 1952) has written at least 35 books for children. Her works include The Principal’s New Clothes and Dinner at the Panda Palace. Children can learn more at: Stephanie Calmenson.
Ed Young (born Tientsin, China, 1931) is a children’s author and illustrator. He has written/illustrated 17 books and has illustrated more than 60 books written by other authors. He wrote among other works Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding-Hood Story from China (1990 Caldecott Medal). His Emperor and the Kite received a 1968 Caldecott Honor Award. His Seven Blind Mice earned a 1992 Caldecott Honor Award. In 1992 and again in 2000 he was the United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. His website has a very interesting home page: Ed Young.
Tomi Ungerer (born Strasbourg, France, 1931; died Cork, Ireland, February 9, 2019) published over 140 children’s books. His books have been translated into many different languages. He illustrated Jeff Brown’s Flat Stanley in 1964. Children can visit Ungerer’s website at: Tomi Ungerer.