William Harvey (born Folkestone, Kent, England, 1578; died London, England, June 3, 1657) discovered how blood circulated in mammals. Prior to his work, many scientists believed the liver changed food to blood and the body consumed that blood. Through experiments and observations, he found that the heart acts like a pump and that blood moves through veins and arteries, forming a closed system of circulation.
Wangari Maathai (born Ihithe Village, Kenya, 1940; died Niarobi, Kenya, September 25, 2011) started the Green Belt Movement in Kenya in the 1970’s. This group taught women how to plant trees. These trees then provided them with income. Often in conflict with Kenya’s government, she began to gain the world’s attention. In 2004 she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She was elected to Kenya’s Parliament and served as assistant minister to President Mwai Kibaki. Children coud read Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya, written by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Anne McCaffrey (born Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1926; died Wicklow, Ireland, November 21, 2011) wrote science fiction books for children. She is perhaps best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series.
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (born Semyonovo, Russia, 1873; died Beverly Hills, California, March 28, 1943) was a Russian composer, conductor and pianist. He composed at least 45 major works. He moved to the United States in order to escape the Bolshevik Revolution and eventually became an American citizen. Experts state his compositions reflect a romantic style influenced by his Russian heritage. Idea: Russians celebrate birthdays by making one-crust pies. Make a birthday pie. Eat pieces of the pie and listen to Rachmaninoff’s music.
Jagjivan Ram (born Chandwa, Bihar, India, 1908; died New Delhi, India, July 6, 1986) worked closely with Gandhi and Nehru to gain India’s independence from Great Britain. Ram, born into the “untouchable” caste, was one of the first “untouchables” to graduate from college. He labored to eliminate the caste system and served in various cabinet positions in the new Indian government.
Libby Riddles (born Madison, Wisconsin, 1956) in 1985 was the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditerod. Children can read about her activities at: Libby Riddles.
Jan Boyer Wahl (born Columbus, Ohio, 1933) writes books for children. His books include Jamie’s Tiger and Grandmother Told Me.