Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30 Birthday: Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley, author
Aug. 30, 1797-Feb. 1, 1851

Through the Tempests Dark and Wild: A Story of Mary Shelley, Creator of Frankenstein by Sharon Darrow, illustrated by Angela Barrett (Candlewick, 2003)

Focused on the teen years "where some believe that Mary's famous novel took root" this fictionalized picture book biography is a moving account of Shelley, who published her renowned Gothic at the age of nineteen.

A Wikipedia biography of Mary Shelley with additional links is available.

Read an interview with author Sharon Darrow (includes questions related to Through the Tempests) at Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog.

Friday, August 29, 2008

August 29 Birthday: Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker, musician
Aug. 29, 1920-Mar. 12, 1955

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka (Scholastic, 1992)

The words feel like they're bouncing off the pages of this lively picture book biography of the master of be bop. A read-aloud must.

Visit the Official Site of Charlie "Yardbird" Parker.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 27 Birthday: Lyndon Baines Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson, U.S. President
Aug. 27, 1908-Jan. 22, 1973

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

Although the Vietnam War dominated the 36th president's two terms of office, Johnson's legacy also includes important Civil Rights legislation.

Fantastic resources about LBJ and his presidency are available at the LBJ Library and Museum Kids Homepage

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 24 Birthday: Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku, athlete
Aug. 24, 1890-Jan. 22, 1968

Duke's Olympic Feet by Ellie Crowe (Island Heritage, 2002)

Duke Kahanamoku is known by many names: The Ambassador of Aloha, father of surfing, and Olympic swimmer. In this gloriously illustrated picture book biography, Kahanamoku's challenges as an untrained swimmer who not only participated in the 1912 Olympics, but won a Gold Medal are recorded. Additionally, how Kahanamoku introduced surfing to Australia is chronicled.

Visit the Surfing Museum bio link for more information about Kahanamoku.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August 20 Birthday: Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison, U.S. President
Aug. 20, 1833-Mar. 13, 1901

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

"Human Iceberg" Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd U.S. president and grandson of a president is highlighted in one paragraph in this collective biography.

See a snapshot biography of Benjamin Harrison at the White House Kids site.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 19 Birthdays: William "Bill" Clinton and Orville Wright

William "Bill" Clinton, U.S. President
Aug. 19, 1946-

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

The jazz sax playing 42nd president of the U.S. is highlighted in humor and fact within the pages of this collective biography.

To learn more about Clinton and his presidency, visit the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Orville Wright, pioneer of flight
Aug. 19, 1871-Jan. 30, 1948

Into the Air: The Story of the Wright Brothers' First Flight by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Bill Wylie (Silver Whistle/Harcourt, 2002)

Trial and error. And lots of perseverance and smarts. That's what it took to get the first successful flying machine off the ground. Comic-book style art brings the Wright's triumph to life.

Find an online biography of Wright at NASA as well as information at the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August 18 Birthdays: Roberto Clemente and Meriwether Lewis

Roberto Clemente, athlete
Aug. 18, 1934-Dec. 31, 1972

Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Raul Colon (Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books, 2005)

Inspirational. From Clemente's childhood of poverty to World Series triumph, and then tragic death, Clemente lives on as a role model on and off the field.

Continue reading about Clemente at his Official Web site or find out more about him at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Meriwether Lewis, explorer
Aug. 18, 1774-Oct. 11, 1809

A Picture Book Biography of Lewis and Clark by David A. Adler, illustrated by Ronald Himler (Holiday House, 2003)

The spirit of adventure is captured in this book about Lewis and Clark's most celebrated journey-the expedition of the West.

Visit Discovering Lewis & Clark, an online "hyperhistory in progress" and retrace the steps of these explorers and more

See also: Aug. 1, William Clark.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17 Birthdays: Davy Crockett and Jorge Posada

Davy Crockett, "King of the Wild Frontier"
Aug. 17, 1786-Mar. 6, 1836

A Picture Book of Davy Crockett by David A. Adler, illustrated by John Wallner (Holiday House, 1996)

Remember the Alamo. The life and times of Davy Crockett, real-hero and folk hero, are brought to life in this picture book biography of an American icon.

Visit The Alamo.

Jorge Posada, athlete
Aug. 17, 1971-

Play Ball! by Jorge Posada with Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raul Colon (Simon& Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2006)

Dreams can come true. New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada's perseverance and hard work are captured in this story based on his childhood in Puerto Rico. Way cool--this book is also available in Spanish.

To learn more about Jorge Posada's stats, visit Baseball-Reference.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

August 16 Birthdays: George Littlechild and Joseph "Joe" Switzer

George Littlechild, artist and author
Aug. 16, 1958-

This Land is My Land by George Littlechild (Children's Book Press, 1993)

Part autobiography, part history, Littlechild matches his words with his bold, colorful art in this book about his life and the lives of other Native American peoples. Littlechild is a member of the Plains Cree Nation.

Resources about George Littlechild can be found in the Native American Authors Project page.

Joseph "Joe" Switzer, inventor
Aug. 16, 1915-c.1973/4

The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tony Persiani (Charlesbridge, 2008)

Not yet published, but in the queue, this bio about the brothers who invented eye-popping colors is sure to be a hit.

Take a look at these pseudo "Day-Glo" flowers and worms.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August 13 Birthday: Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley, sharpshooter
Aug. 13, 1860-Nov. 3, 1926

Bull's-Eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley by Sue Macy (National Geographic Children's Books,2001)

This book hits the target with its engaging text, period photos and drawings.

The online version of the PBS documentary of Annie Oakley on American Experience offers a program transcript, timeline, values, posters from the Wild West Show and other fascinating facts.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 12 Birthday: Katharine Lee Bates

Katharine Lee Bates, author of words to America the Beautiful
Aug. 12, 1859-Mar. 28, 1929

Purple Mountain Majesties: The Story of Katharine Lee Bates and "America the Beautiful" by Barbara Younger, illustrated by Stacey Schuett (Turtleback Books, 2002)

Where do ideas come from? In this case, from majestic scenery. Inspired by view from Pikes Peak, Katharine Lee Bates began to write a poem that would become a national treasure.

View images from Pikes Peak Cam Top Peak Pics in Colorado Springs, Colorado for a sense of Bates' wonder.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August 10 Birthday: Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover, U. S. President
Aug. 10, 1874-Oct. 20, 1964

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

One brief paragraph in this collective biography is devoted to Herbert Hoover, millionaire and 31st president of the United States.

Check out the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum to learn more about Hoover and his legacy.

Friday, August 08, 2008

August 8 Birthday: Esther Morris

Esther Morris, pioneer
Aug. 8, 1814-Apr. 2, 1902

When Esther Morris Headed West: Women, Wyoming, and the Right to Vote by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers (Holiday House, 2001)

Go, Esther! What one woman (and others) did to make the West a more equitable place to live.

Online information about Esther Morris can be viewed at the WOW Museum-Women of the West Museum.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

August 7 Birthday: Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche, peacemaker
Aug. 7, 1904-Dec. 9, 1971

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

Sixteen profiles of world peacemakers include a double-page spread of American diplomat Bunche. Stunning collages accompany each biography. Bunche was the first person of color to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

To learn more about Dr. Ralph Bunche, visit the PBS site Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

August 6 Birthday: Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol, artist
Aug. 6, 1928- Feb. 22, 1987

Uncle Andy's: A Faabbbulous Visit with Andy Warhol by James Warhola (Putnam, 2003)

Campbell's soup. Paintings of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. Andy Warhol's nephew gives readers an insider's view of his uncle's pop art.

The Andy Warhol Museum in Warhol's hometown of Pittsburgh has a stellar collection of his work. Of note: Warhol's "fifteen minutes of fame" quote lives on.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

August 5 Birthday: Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, American astronaut
Aug. 5, 1930-

One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin, 1998)

An ordinary boy. An extraordinary adult. Imagine. Walking on the moon. Armstrong's childhood sets the stage for his historic lunar landing in this introduction to an American hero.

The Armstrong Air and Space Museum chronicles Ohio's contributions to space flight.Or click on over to NASA's Kid Page.

Monday, August 04, 2008

August 4 Birthdays: Louis Armstrong and Maurice "Rocket" Richard

Louis Armstrong, musician
Aug. 4, 1901-July 6, 1971

If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin, 1997)

A jazzy story about achieving dreams. Illuminating artwork makes this book about "Satchmo" sing.

The Official Site of the Louis Armstrong House & Archives is well worth a visit.

Maurice Richard, athlete
Aug. 4, 1921-May 27, 2000

Lives of the Athletes: Thrills, Spills (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt (Harcourt, 1997)

In just a few pages of this collective biography, Krull crams tons of data, descriptions and anecdotes about Canadian professional ice hockey player Maurice "Rocket" Richard's life. Lively illustrations add humor and zip.

CBS Archives offer radio and TV clips of this famous NHL player.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

August 3 Birthday: Alexander Posey

Alexander Posey, poet, journalist
Aug.3, 1873-May 27, 1908

How We Are Smart by W. Nikola-Lisa, illustrated by Sean Qualls (Lee & Low Books, 2006)

There are lots of ways of being smart. This collection of twelve talented people includes a portrait, short profile and a poem about Alexander Posey.

An 1933 article from Oklahoma's Historical Society, Chronicles of Oklahoma provides additional insight into Posey's life.

Friday, August 01, 2008

August 1 Birthdays: Abbie Burgess, William Clark and Francis Scott Key

Abbie Burgess, lighthouse keeper
Aug. 1, 1839-June 16, 1892

Abbie Against the Storm: The True Story of a Young Heroine and a Lighthouse by Marcia K. Vaughan, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth (Beyond Words Publishing, 1999)

Abbie saved the day. And the day after that. And the day after that. This book is a dramatic fictionalized account of the four weeks that seventeen year old Abbie Burgess spent caring for a Maine lighthouse and her family. “Not once in all that time did the lights fail. Not one ship floundered. Not one life was lost.” Amazing.

A special thanks to Bob Trapani, Executive Director, American Lighthouse Foundation for supplying Abbie Burgess Grant’s birthdate.

William Clark, explorer
Aug. 1, 1770-Sept. 1, 1838

A Picture Book Biography of Lewis and Clark by David A. Adler, illustrated by Ronald Himler (Holiday House, 2003)

The spirit of adventure is captured in this book about Lewis and Clark’s most celebrated journey—the expedition of the West.

Join in online and Go West Across America with Lewis & Clark! at the National Geographic website.

Visit Discovering Lewis & Clark , an online “hyperhistory in progress” and retrace the steps of these explorers and more.

Meriwether Lewis’ birthday is August 18.

Francis Scott Key, wrote words to U.S. national anthem
Aug. 1, 1779-Jan. 11, 1843

Francis Scott Key and “The Star Spangled Banner” by Lynea Bowdish, illustrated by Harry Burman (Mondo, 2002)

This book, the story behind the story of the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” illustrated with impressionistic paintings simply and vividly accounts Key’s inspiration.

Visit the Smithsonian’s Star-Spangled Banner National Museum of American History site to learn more.