Monday, December 31, 2007

December 31 Birthday: Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse, artist
Dec. 31, 1869-Nov. 3, 1954

A Bird or 2: A Story About Henri Matisse by Bijou Le Tord (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 1999)

This tribute to the French artist, known as the father of modern art, focuses on Matisse's later years, when he lived in Nice and was inspired by its extraordinary light.

View the collection of Matisse art at the Museum of Modern Art.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

December 29 Birthday: Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson, U.S. President
Dec. 29, 1808-July 31, 1875

Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt (Harcourt, 1998)

A tailor by profession, this was our only president who could quilt. He was number 17.

You can read Johnson's State of the Union Address on the Project Gutenberg site.

Friday, December 28, 2007

December 28 Birthday: Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson, U.S. President
Dec. 28, 1856-Feb. 3, 1924

Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt (Harcourt, 1998)

Our most educated president spent more money on books than clothes. His number? 28.

Read the official White House biography of President Wilson at

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

December 25 Birthdays: Jesus and Anwar el-Sadat

Dec. 25-

Jesus by Brian Wildsmith (Eerdmans, 2000)

Beginning with the birth of Jesus, Wildsmith highlights the rest of Jesus' life, death on the cross, resurrection and ascension. Merry Christmas!

The King James version of the Bible is available online at Verse Link.

Anwar el-Sadat, politician
Dec. 25, 1918-Oct. 6, 1981

Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World by Jane Breskin Zalben (Dutton, 2006)

Anwar el-Sadat, a former president of Egypt is featured in this book dedicated to sixteen celebrated individuals.

Read more about this Nobel Prize for Peace recipient (an award he shared with Israel's prime minister Mehachem Begin) at the Britannica's guide to the Nobel Prizes.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

December 23 Birthday: Sarah Breedlove Walker

Sarah Breedlove Walker, philanthropist
Dec. 23, 1867-May 25, 1919

Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Nneka Bennett (Candlewick, 2000)

Born to former slaves, Sarah Breedlove Walker triumphed over numerous adversities to become the owner and operator of a hair products business, which became one of the largest companies in America by 1912. Her generosity was legendary as she shared her wealth with others.

The Official Website of Madam C. J. Walker a.k.a Sarah Breedlove Walker offers a bio and more.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

December 22 Birthday: Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson

Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson, environmentalist and former First Lady
Dec. 22, 1912-July 11, 2007

Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein (HarperCollins, 2005)

One person can make our world a more beautiful place. Here's proof. Thank you, Lady Bird.

Visit The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Unknown Birthday: Esther

Esther, leader

Esther's Story by Diane Wolkstein, illustrated by Juan Wijngaard (HarperTrophy, 1998)

Esther saved the day. Literally. In this biblical account, written in the form of a diary, Esther tells the story of her life and how as Queen Esther she saved her people from Haman, who wished to destroy the Jewish people.

Queen Esther: The Merit of Things Hidden from the Women in Judaism

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Unknown Birthday: Eratosthenes

Eratosthenes, mathematician and librarian
c. 276 BC-194 BC

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Little Brown, 1994)

Sun and shadows. Those were the keys to the Eratosthenes' discovery of how to measure the Earth's circumference. A fascinating look at ancient times and at how geometry can make sense of our world.

Learn how Eratosthenes figured it out at the Cornell website.