May 052024

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico and the United States. The Battle of Puebla took place in 1862. General Ignacio Zaragoza led his Mexican army, outnumbered three to one, against Napoleon III’s French forces. Zaragoza won. Speeches, festivals, and parades are held nationwide. Young children could read Cinco de Mayo by Mary Dodson Wade. Idea: Children could have a Cinco de Mayo celebration. A piñata should be included.

May 052024

Flag of Ethiopia

Ethiopia celebrates Freedom Day. Also known as Patriots’ Day, the day marks the 1941 end of Italy’s occupation of Ethiopia. Located in eastern Africa, it is the largest land-locked country in the world. The country’s area is a bit less than twice the area of Texas. It has small reserves of gold, copper, potash, and natural gas. Crops include maize, wheat, sorghum, and sweet potatoes, but food insecurity exists. Over 113 million people live in Ethiopia, and Addis Ababa is the capital. Children can learn more at: Ethiopia.

May 052024

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. Her book of poetry, Annie Allen, described the life of an African American girl growing up during World War II. Older children could read a great article about Brooks and the Pulitzer at: Gwendolyn Brooks.

May 052024

Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly (born Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, 1867; died New York, New York, January 22, 1922) was perhaps the leading female journalist of her time. She worked for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, reporting on working conditions, slum life and other topics. She moved to New York and worked on Pulitzer’s New York World. She pretended to be insane, and she was institutionalized. She then reported on the extreme conditions she found there. Perhaps her most exciting adventure came when she followed the route of Jules Verne’s imaginary Phileas Fogg and traveled around the world in 72 days. Children could read or listen to copies of her books at: Project Gutenberg. Children could also read Bonnie Christensen’s The Daring Nellie Bly: America’s Star Reporter.

J. Patrick Lewis (born Gary, Indiana, 1942) has written over 100 poetry and and fiction books for children. His books include the Tugg and Tiny series and What’s Looking at You, Kid?

Inch by Inch

Leo Lionni (born Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1910; died Chianti, Italy, October 11, 1999) was an author/illustrator of over 40 books. He earned four Caldecott Honor Awards: Inch by Inch in 1961, Swimmy in 1964, Frederick in 1968, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse in 1970.

Todd Strasser (born New York, New York, 1950) has written more than 140 books for middle-grade children. He also uses the pen names Morton Rhue and T. S. Rue. His books include The Wave and Thief of Dreams. Children can learn more at: Todd Strasser.