Monday, March 31, 2008

March 31 Birthday: Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez, civil rights activist
Mar. 31, 1927-Apr. 23, 1993

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Harcourt, 2003)

A heartfelt account of Chavez’s childhood, his days as a field laborer and as the nonviolent organizer of the 1965 grape boycott.

America’s Library posts several great stories about Chavez for kids.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March 30 Birthday: Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh, artist
Mar. 30, 1853-July 29, 1890

Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt (Harcourt, 1995)

Van Gogh was the artist who cut off his ear and drank a lot of coffee, although the two were not related. Even though he was extraordinarily productive, he never saw acclaim in his lifetime.

Hop over to the WebMuseum, Paris to read about Van Gogh and see images of his work.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

March 29 Birthday: John Tyler, Jr.

John Tyler, Jr., U.S. President
Mar. 29, 1790-Jan. 18, 1862

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

This collective biography devotes one paragraph to the tenth commander and chief. Interesting factoid: Tyler had more children than any other president.

Basic information about Tyler can be found on the Miller Center of Public Affairs University of Virginia site.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Unknown Birthday: Kate Shelley

Kate Shelley, teenage heroine
19th century

Kate Shelley: Bound for Legend by Robert D. San Souci (Dial, 1995)

A storm. A broken bridge. A train. Fifteen-year old Kate Shelley to the rescue. High drama in Iowa, July 6, 1881.

An anonymous report describing Kate Shelley's heroic actions is posted on a DesMoines River site.

The Kate Shelley Railroad Museum run by the Boone County Historical Society is open June through September.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 25: Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, musician
Mar. 25, 1942-

The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World by Julius Lester, illustrated by Lisa Cohen (Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2001)

Surrounded by musical neighbors such as Smokey Robinson, Otis Williams and Dianna Ross, Aretha Franklin loved to sing, too. Can you spell R-e-s-p-e-c-t?

Read about Franklin at the Time 100 site.

Monday, March 24, 2008

March 24 Birthdays: John Harrison and Harry Houdini

John Harrison, inventor
Mar. 24, 1693-Mar. 24, 1776

The Man Who Made Time Travel by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003)

Harrison succeeded in figuring out how to track longitude for ships at sea...after five tries and over thirty-five years. Thank you for your perseverance, Mr Harrison!

The National Maritime Museum dedicates a page to Harrison and the Longitude problem.

Harry Houdini, magician
Mar. 24, 1874-Oct. 31, 1926

Houdini: World’s Greatest Mystery Man and Escape King by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Walker Books for Young Readers, 2005)

Houdini sawed people in half and wrapped himself in chains—all in the name of magic. This biography offers a look inside his life, his challenges and his performances.

Visit the PBS American Experience site about Houdini, The Man Behind the Myth for a timeline, gallery, teacher’s guide and special features.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Unknown Birthday: Shaka

Shaka, ruler
c. 1787-ca. Sept. 22, 1828

Shaka: King of the Zulus by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema, illustrated by Diane Stanley (HarperTrophy, 1994)

A respected leader, this story of Shaka's childhood and rise to power in southern Africa is a story of perseverance.

Some information about the Zulu Tribe is available from the University of Iowa.

Friday, March 21, 2008

March 21 Birthdays: Johann Sebastian Bach and Ruth Law

Johann Sebastian Bach, musician
Mar. 21, 1685-July 28, 1750

Sebastian: A Book about Bach by Jeanette Winter (Silver Whistle, 1999)

Bach survived the sorrows of childhood and created magnificent music. And aren't we glad he did!

The J.S. Bach Home Page celebrates the life and work of Bach.

Ruth Law, aviator
Mar. 21, 1887-Dec. 1, 1970

Ruth Law Thrills a Nation by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin, 1995)

In 1916, Law flew nonstop from Chicago to New York and set the American record. This is the story of her great achievement.

See a photo of Law and read a short bio at the Hill Aerospace Museum.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March 19 Birthday: Charles M. Russell

Charles M. Russell
Mar. 19, 1864-1926

Cowboy Charlie: The Story of Charles M. Russell by Jeanette Winter (Harcourt Children’s, 1995)

When he grew up, Russell wanted to be a cowboy. He did that and more. After years on the frontier, he exchanged that life for one of an artist and brilliantly painted and sculpted the Old West.

According to their web site, the C.M. Russell Museum has the “most complete collection of Russell works and personal objects in the world.” Mosey on over soon.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March 18 Birthday: Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland, U.S. President
Mar. 18, 1837-June 24, 1908

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

In one paragraph, the legacy of the 22nd president is summed up. Cleveland was the only president to marry in the White House.

facts are available on the IPL (Internet Public Library)site.

Monday, March 17, 2008

March 17 Birthday: St. Patrick

St. Patrick
AD 373-493
Mar. 17=St. Patrick’s Day

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola (Holiday House, 1992)

Born in Britain, Patrick was kidnapped as a boy and spent time in Ireland as a slave. Follow the story of his life and sainthood as well as five legends about him in this book.

The University of College Cork is an online resource for Irish history, literature and politics.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

March 16 Birthday: Rosa Bonheur and James Madison

Rosa Bonheur, artist
Mar. 16, 1822-May 25, 1899

Rosa Bonheur by Robyn Montana Turner (Little Brown, reprint, 1993)

With pictures from her life and reproductions of her work illustrating the book, Bonheur’s life and the challenges she faced as a woman artist are explored.

A photo of Bonheur’s work, The Horse Fair, is shown on this page along with a short bio and suggestions for hands-on activities and discussions about the painting.

James Madison, U.S. President
Mar. 16, 1751-June 28, 1836

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

The "Father of the Constitution" and smallest of our presidents, Madison was number 4.

Learn more about Madison at The White

Friday, March 14, 2008

March 14 Birthday: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, scientist
Mar. 14, 1879-Apr. 18, 1955

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)

Einstein was not the best student and yet...he grew up to win the Nobel Prize.

Some quotations, a poster of Albert Einstein and more can be found at the St. Andrews site.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Unknown Birthday: Saladin

Saladin, ruler
1137 or 1138-1193

Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam by Diane Stanley (HarperCollins, 2002)

Even Saladin's enemies had kind things to say about him! This is a bio-history of the life and times of the "Muslim saint-king" with stunning illustrations.

The Egypt State Information Service site on Egypt is filled with facts on this country including a brief history of the Islamic Era when Saladin ruled.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Unknown Birthday: Sacagawea

Sacagawea, explorer
c. 1787-Dec. 12, 1812 or April 9, 1884

A Picture Book of Sacagawea by David A. Alder, illustrated by Dan Brown (Holiday House, 2001)

A translator and guide on the Lewis and Clark expedition, this Native American woman was an invaluable member of the team.

The PBS special Lewis & Clark: Inside the Corps offers more biographical information on Sacagawea.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Unknown Birthday: Giselle Potter

Giselle Potter, children's author and illustrator
20th century-

The Year I Didn't Go to School by Giselle Potter (Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books, 2002)

What a year! Traveling around Italy with her family's theater troupe when she was seven, Potter gives a first-person account of this magical time.

Puppeters of America can link you up with a guild, festival or event in the US and Canada.

Friday, March 07, 2008

March 7 Birthday: Maud Lewis

Maud Lewis, artist
Mar. 7, 1903-July 30, 1970

Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis by Jo Ellen Bogart, illustrated by Mark Lang (Tundra Books, 2002)

Lewis, a Canadian artist who had physical disabilities, painted amazing images in a primitive folk art style. Five-star inspirational.

Take the virtual tour through The Painted House of Maud Lewis to learn more about this gifted artist.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

March 6 Birthday: Michelangelo

Mar. 6, 1475-Feb. 18, 1564

Michelangelo by Diane Stanley (HarperTrophy reprint, 2003)

Michelangelo’s life and art, including the Pieta and the Sistine Chapel are at the forefront of this detailed picture book biography about him.

Click over to the WebMuseum, Paris for more info on Michelangelo.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

March 4 Birthday: Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi, musician
Mar. 4, 1678-July 28, 1741

I, Vivaldi by Janice and Tom Shefelman (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008)

Just published, this picture book transports readers to Vivaldi's Venice, where he lived and found success as a violinist and composer.

An informative bio and photo of Vivaldi is available at the Baroque Music site.

Monday, March 03, 2008

March 3 Birthday: Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell, inventor
Mar. 3, 1847-Aug 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell by Leonard Everett Fisher (Atheneum, 1999)

Hello? The inventor of the telephone and other inventions is featured in this bio about his childhood and beyond.

The Franklin Institute Resources of Science Learning offers a short article about Bell’s Telephone and the history of telephones.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

March 2 Birthday: Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss, writer
Mar. 2, 1904-Sept. 24, 1991

The Boy on Fairfield Street by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (Random House, 2004)

From a childhood spent dreaming and doodling to budding artist at 22, this biography of the famous children’s writer shows what made Seuss tick.

Dr. Seuss’ Seussville is maintained by his publisher, Random House and has a biography of Seuss as well as cool games for kids.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

March 1 Birthday: Frederic Chopin

Frederic Chopin, musician
Mar. 1, 1810-Oct. 17, 1849

Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt (Harcourt, 1993)

Chopin began playing the piano at four and performing at eight. This Polish composer is known as one of the "greatest pianists in history."

An online bio of Chopin is available here.