Mount Rushmore was completed in 1941. The project, depicting likenesses of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt, began on October 3, 1927. Nearly three million people visit it each year. Children could visit the park’s website at: http://www.nps.gov/moru/.
Gettysburg Address was delivered by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The Civil War battlefield was being dedicated as a national cemetery. While keynote speaker Edward Everett spoke for more than two hours, Lincoln’s speech lasted just two minutes. However, the speech stands today as one of the best pieces of oration ever written. The Library of Congress stores the actual written speeches. Children can read the words of the Gettysburg Address at: Gettysburg Address.
Thanksgiving Day was celebrated nationally for the first time in 1789. President Washington issued a proclamation declaring that the day should be one of prayer and thanksgiving. Children could research what the first Thanksgiving meal was. How does it compare to what they eat on the holiday today? In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. In 1941 Congress passed a resolution changing Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November. Children can read about “The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings” at: Two Thanksgivings.
Lincoln Tunnel opened in 1937. It connects New Jersey with Manhattan and goes under the Hudson River. The tunnel is 1.5 miles long, and over 100,000 cars use it every day. Its original name was the Midtown Vehicular Tunnel, but officials named it after Abraham Lincoln.
Emancipation Proclamation was declared by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, ending slavery. Children could read Dennis Brindell Fradin’s book, Emancipation Proclamation. Children could also read a transcript of the original document at: Emancipation Proclamation.
Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams (born London, England, 1775; died Washington, DC, May 14, 1852) was America’s First Lady from March 4, 1825 to March 4, 1829. She was the wife of John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States. She was the first First Lady not born in the United States. A few years after Adams’s presidency, he was elected to the House of Representatives. They lived in Washington, DC for another seventeen years. Older children could visit a website at: Louisa Adams.
Judy Blume (born Elizabeth, New Jersey, 1938) is a children’s author. She wrote, among other works, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great in 1972, Blubber in 1974, and Fudge-a-Mania in 1990. In 1996 she received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her contributions to young adult literature. Children could visit her website at: Judy Blume.
Charles Darwin (born Shrewsberry, England, 1809; died Down, Kent, England, April 19, 1882) was a writer and a naturalist. He proposed the theory of natural selection after visiting the Galapagos Islands. One of his most famous works is The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Young adults could read his works at: Project Gutenberg.
Christian McKay Heidicker (born 1982) writes books for middle schoolers and young adults. His book Scary Stories for Young Foxes received a 2020 Newbery Honor Award. His other works include Cure for the Common Universe. Middle schoolers and young adults can learn more at: Christian McKay Heidicker.
Abraham Lincoln (born Hodgenville, Kentucky, 1809; died Washington, DC, April 15, 1865) was the sixteenth president (1861-1865) of the United States. He was born in a log cabin, and his formal schooling added up to one year. He taught himself law and fought in the Black Hawk War of 1832. He served in the state legislature and became a Congressman in 1846. His debates with Stephen A. Douglas made him a more well-known figure. The Civil War brought him terrible sorrows. He was shot five days after the end of the Civil War. Children could visit a website at: Abraham Lincoln. Children could read Russell Freedman’s book, Lincoln: A Photobiography. Russell Freedman received the 1988 Newbery Medal for the book.
Anna Pavlova (born St. Petersburg, Russia, 1881; died The Hague, The Netherlands, January 23, 1931) was a ballerina. She toured worldwide and made ballet more popular. She also studied dance of different countries. Even when she was famous, she practiced fifteen hours a day.
David Small (born Detroit, Michigan, 1945) is a writer and illustrator. His illustrations in The Gardener earned him a Caldecott Honor Award in 1998. His illustrations in So You Want to Be President? won the 2001 Caldecott Award. He received another Caldecott Honor Award in 2013 for One Cool Friend. Children can visit his fascinating website at: David Small.
Jacqueline Woodson (born Columbus, Ohio, 1963) is an AMAZING author of children’s books. She has won many awards. Miracle’s Boys received the Coretta Scott King Medal. Locomotion earned a Coretta Scott King Honor Award. Coming on Home Soon earned E. B. Lewis, the illustrator, a Caldecott Honor Award. Both Show Way and Feathers obtained Newbery Honor Awards. In 2006 Jacqueline received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. She earned a 2015 Newbery Honor Award for Brown Girl Dreaming. Children can visit her text-rich and visually appealing website at: Jacqueline Woodson.
Presidents’ Day is a national holiday. Originally meant to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, this day honors all of our Presidents. Children could read Anne Rockwell’s book, Presidents’ Day. They could also visit the White House site to read a biography of every president, starting with George Washington, at: White House Biographies. Children could participate in some Presidential trivia. Which President served the least amount of time? Which President served the most amount of time? Which President received a patent? Which President went on to serve on the Supreme Court?
Abraham Lincoln was shot in 1865. He was at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, to see a performance of “Our American Cousin.” He died the next day. Children could learn more at: Lincoln. They could also read Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson. Children could decide how the future of America would have been different if Lincoln had not been assassinated.
Abraham Lincoln in 1849 received patent #6469 for “A Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals.” After working with boats that were stuck on sand bars, he invented the device that would inflate and move ships to water. However, the device was heavy enough that it caused problems. The model, whittled by Lincoln, is on display at the Smithsonian. Children can see the model and read more at: Lincoln Model. They can view the actual patent at: Lincoln Patent. Lincoln is the only president to hold a patent.
Lincoln-Douglas debates began in 1858. The seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas provided the voters of Illinois a chance to evaluate the candidates for a senate seat. The last debate was held in Alton, Illinois, on October 15, 1858. Although Lincoln lost the election, he became more known nationally. Older children can read transcripts of the speeches at: Lincoln-Douglas Debates.