Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Unknown Birthday: George Crum

George Crum, chef
1822-July 22, 1914

George Crum and the Saratoga Chip by Gayila Taylor, illustrated by Frank Morrison (Lee & Low, 2006)

Thank you, George Crum. For inventing a most tasty treat. August 24 is National Potato Chip Day, though by all accounts, Americans celebrate potato chips every day of the year. Crum, part African-American and part American Indian is the king of snack-makers.

The Lemelson-MIT Program highlighted George Crum as an Inventor of the Week.

Unknown Birthday: Cleopatra

Cleopatra, leader
69 BC-August 12, 30 BC

Cleopatra by Peter Vennema and Diane Stanley, illustrated by Diane Stanley (HarperTrophy, 1997)

The woman was a savvy ruler. Incredible artwork accompanies the story of the last queen of Egypt.

Take a look at the Field Museum of Chicago's Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth exhibit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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.

Monday, August 29, 2011

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.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

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.

Friday, August 26, 2011

August 26 Birthday: Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, humanitarian, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Aug. 26, 1910-Sept. 5, 1997

Mother Teresa by Demi (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon&Schuster, 2005)

Mother Teresa's message of service shines through this eloquent biography about her and her devotion to serve the "poorest of the poor."

See the Vatican tribute to Mother Teresa.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

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.

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 19 Birthday: William "Bill" Clinton

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.

August 19 Birthday: Orville Wright

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.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 18 Birthday: Meriwether Lewis

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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 17 Birthday: Davy Crockett

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 today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16 Birthday: George Littlechild

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.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

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.

Friday, August 12, 2011

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.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 11 Birthday: Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell, astronomer
Aug. 11, 1818-June 28, 1889

Maria's Comet by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Deborah Lanino (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1999)

Maria Mitchell's passion and determination shine through this fictionalized account of her childhood.

The Maria Mitchell Association in Nantucket continues Mitchell's legacy through education programs, museums and research.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

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.

Monday, August 08, 2011

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.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

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.