Tuesday, March 31, 2009

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.

Monday, March 30, 2009

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.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

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 26, 2009

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.

American Folklore.net recounts Kate Shelley's heroic actions.

The Kate Shelley Railroad Museum in Miongona, Iowa is open for visitors. Stop by soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24 Birthday: Harry Houdini

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.

March 24 Birthday: John Harrison

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.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March 21 Birthday: Johann Sebastian Bach

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.

March 21 Birthday: Ruth Law

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 history of her aviation life. Other links are also featured.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 16 Birthday: James Madison

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 House.gov.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 15 Birthday: Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson, U.S. President
Mar. 15, 1767-June 8, 1845

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

Jackson, the 7th president, added running water to the White House. He was known as the "people's president."

The White House posts a bio of Jackson and the highlights of his term.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

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 11, 2009

March 11 Birthday: Wanda Gag

Wanda Gag, illustrator and author
March 11, 1893-June 27, 1946

Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw by Deborah Kogan Ray (Viking, 2008)

Captivated by drawing from the time she could hold a pencil, Gag honed her skills and although family tragedies waylaid her dreams for a time, eventually she went to art school and became the creator of one of the most beloved children’s books, Millions of Cats.

The Minnesota Historical Society offers biographical notes and additional resources on Gag at its Minnesota Author Biographies Project site.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

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 08, 2009

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.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

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.

To learn more about this gifted artist, visit the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

Friday, March 06, 2009

March 6 Birthday: Michelangelo

Michelangelo, artist
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.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

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)

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.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

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.

April 3 Birthday: Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall, scientist (primatologist)
Apr. 3, 1934-

Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World by Cynthia Chin-Lee, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy (Charlesbridge, 2005)

Goodall’s research on chimpanzees is remarkable because of it's length (forty-five plus years) and because of her devotion to the animals and the environment.

Read Jane Goodall: An Extraordinary Life at the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation.

Monday, March 02, 2009

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.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

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.