Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27 Birthday: Marian Anderson


Marian Anderson, musician
Feb. 27, 1897-Apr. 8, 1993

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic, 2002)

When African-American contralto Marian Anderson was 57 years old, she sang with the Metropolitan Opera. This is the story of her journey, from childhood church singer to European sensation to opera star.

Marian Anderson: A Life in Song exhibit at the Penn Library not only contains information about Anderson’s tours, but includes video and audio excerpts from interviews and performances.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 26 Birthday: Fats Domino

Shake Rattle and Roll

Fats Domino, musician
Feb. 26, 1928-

Shake, Rattle and Roll: The Founders of Rock and Roll by Holly George-Warren, illustrated by Laura Levine (Houghton Mifflin, 2001)

Domino learned to play piano when he was ten. Born and raised in New Orleans, he's still rockin'.

Domino was an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Unknown Birthday: Dave the Potter

Dave the Potter, artist, poet, slave
c. 1880s

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Little Brown, 2010)

A lyrical portrayal of the artistic process of Dave, who handcrafted beautiful jars from clay and sometimes wrote poems on them.

To see examples of Dave's work and learn more about him, visit Dave the Potter, hosted by the University of South Carolina.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 23 Birthday: George Frideric Handel


George Frideric Handel, musician
Feb. 23, 1685-Apr. 14, 1759

Handel, Who Knew What He Liked by M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Candlewick, 2001)

Here’s a humorous (and detailed) take on Handel’s life and music, including the a debunking of the myth that the tradition of standing during the Hallelujah Chorus began with the king.

Read an introduction to the Handel House, it’s history, restoration and about Handel’s London at the Handel House Museum.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22 Birthday: George Washington

George Washington, U.S. President
Feb. 22, 1732-Dec. 14, 1799

George: George Washington, Our Founding Father by Frank Keating, illustrated by Mike Wimmer (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon and Schuster, 2012)

Written in first person, this moving portrait of one of our founding fathers captures the heart and soul of Washington.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens offers a virtual mansion tour. Visit today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20 Birthday: Joshua Slocum

Joshua Slocum, navigator
Feb. 20, 1884-Nov. 14, 1909

Born in the Breezes: The Voyages of Joshua Slocum by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop (Orchard, 2001)

Sail the high seas with this story about Slocum’s life and his love of it.

The Joshua Slocum Society International website attempts to “maintain a complete record of all single-handed circumnavigators, to popularize the legendary first solo circumnavigator, Captain Joshua Slocum.”

Saturday, February 18, 2012

February 18 Birthday: Toni Morrison

Women of Hope

Toni Morrison, professor and writer
Feb. 18, 1931-

Women of Hope: African Americans Who Made a Difference by Joyce Hansen (Scholastic, 1998)

Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved in 1988 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Highlights of this extraordinary woman can be found in this collective biography.

Biographies, bibliographies, essays, interviews are posted on a site devoted to Morrison.

Friday, February 17, 2012

February 17 Birthday: Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, athlete
Feb. 17, 1963-

Jump! From the Life of Michael Jordan by Floyd Cooper (Philomel, 2004)

Meet African-American basketball player Air Jordan as a child and young adult in this picture book biography about him. Hoops, anyone? offers a player profile of Jordan. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 15 Birthday: Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony, civil rights activist
February 15, 1820-March 13, 1906

Susan B. Anthony by Alexandra Wallner (Holiday House, 2012)

Instrumental in crusading for women's rights, Anthony's  voice, though unpopular with some, could not be denied. And eventually the US Congress listened. The Nineteenth Amendment was passed and since 1920, women have had the right to vote.

Learn more about Anthony from the Susan B. Anthony House website where you can read her biography, view a timeline, find links to the Suffrage Movement and much more.

February 15 Birthday: Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei, astronomer
Feb. 15, 1564-Jan. 8, 1642

Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, reprint, 2000)

Winner of the Caldecott Honor Medal for its glorious artwork, this is the story of the scientist who was heralded and them condemned for his ideas.

For extensive resources on Galileo Galilei, visit The Galileo Project at Rice University.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14 Birthday: Anna Howard Shaw


Anna Howard Shaw, women’s rights advocate
Feb. 14, 1847-July 2, 1919

A Voice From the Wilderness: The Story of Anna Howard Shaw by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin, 2001)

Based on her autobiography, this story of Shaw traces her life from childhood to adulthood. A teacher, then a doctor, Shaw became active in the women’s suffrage movement.

A biography and photo of Shaw are available at the National Women's History Museum.

February 14 Birthday: Katherine Stinson Otero

Katherine Stinson Otero, aviator
Feb. 14, 1891-July 8, 1977

Katherine Stinson Otero, High Flyer by Neila Skinner Petrick, illustrated by Daggi Wallace (Pelican, 2006)

High flyer, indeed. Stinson was the fourth woman in the U.S. to earn a pilot’s license and performed throughout the world. But when she was denied permission to fly for the armed services in WWI, she raised money for the effort by flying in exhibitions.

The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission posts a bio of Stinson on their site.

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13 Birthday: Grant Wood


Grant Wood, artist
Feb. 13, 1891-Feb. 12, 1942

Artist in Overalls: The Life of Grant Wood by John Duggleby  (Chronicle, 1996)

A picture book biography about the man who grew up to paint American Gothic showcases his love of the Heartland and determination to paint his own way.

Going Back to Iowa: The World of Grant Wood looks at Woods’ world and work.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February 12 Birthday: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, US President
February 12, 1809-April 15, 1865

Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman (Penguin, 2012)

This picture book biography chronicles the high and low points of Lincoln’s life thru the eyes of a contemporary child narrator.

Much has been written about Lincoln. For Life Facts and links to teacher resources, American is a helpful source.

February 12 Birthday: Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth

Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth, social activist
Feb. 12, 1884-Feb. 20, 1980

What to Do About Alice? How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove her Father Teddy Crazy! by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic Press, 2008)

Alice Roosevelt had an appetite for life. She had spark. And verve. Because her father was the president of the United States, her enthusiasms were well documented. Thank goodness. Among other things, young readers will love knowing she had a snake named Emily Spinach and that she interrupted her father's second term swearing in ceremony.

Learn more about Alice Roosevelt at the Theodore Roosevelt Association.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 11 Birthday: Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison, inventor
Feb. 11, 1847-Oct. 18, 1931

A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood & Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010)

This daydreamer didn’t sync with school so Edison’s mother taught him at home. He made a lab in the cellar. He was a huge reader. Telegraph lessons led to a job as an operator. He devoted all his time to his inventions and invent hie did—the electric storage battery, motion picture camera, electric light bulb-1,093 patents in all!

At a site hosted by Rutgers, you'll find The Edison Papers, a collection of over five million pages of documents. Search Edison’s bio, patents, inventions and other related materials.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

February 9 Birthday: W.A. Bentley

W. A. Bentley, photographer
Feb. 9, 1865-1931

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs, illustrated by Mary Azarian (Houghton Mifflin, 1998)

As a boy, snowflakes captured William Bentley’s attention. But it was a microscope with a camera that led to his life’s work: photographing snowflakes. This Caldecott Medal Winner is cool!

The Official page of Snowflake has articles by Bentley, snowflake links, current Jericho weather conditions, and more.

February 9 Birthday: William Henry Harrison

Lives of the Presidents

William Henry Harrison, U.S. President
Feb. 9, 1773-Apr. 4, 1841

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

Harrison, Number 9, served the shortest term—one month.

The POTUS (Presidents of the United States) section of the IPL (The Internet Public Library) gives an overview of Harrison’s life with plenty of links to take you beyond the basic facts.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

February 8 Birthday: Alice Walker

Women of Hope
Alice Walker, writer
Feb. 8, 1944-
Women of Hope: African Americans Who Made a Difference by Joyce Hansen (Scholastic, 1998)

Born to sharecroppers in Georgia, Alice Walker worked hard in school. She was an active participant in the civil rights movement and is an accomplished poet and novelist. The Color Purple is her most well-known work. 

Links to information about Walker can be found at a site.

February 8 Birthday: Waterhouse Hawkins


Waterhouse Hawkins, artist
Feb. 8, 1807-1889

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: An Illuminating History of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, Artist and Lecturer  by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic, 2001)

This is the story of a man with a vision and talent. Hawkins was passionate about dinos and it led him to build life-size models of them.

From an article in Prehistoric Times Magazine, see drawings of Hawkins’ work and read more about him.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

February 7 Birthday: Charles Dickens--200th Birthday!


Charles Dickens, author
Feb. 7, 1812-June 9, 1870

Charles Dickens: The Man Who Had Great Expectations by Diane Stanley (HarperCollins, 1993)

Fans of A Christmas Carol will be especially interested in this biography of Dickens, who rose above his troubled childhood but never forgot it.

The New York Public Library hosts an online seminar by Kenneth Benson called Charles Dickens: The Life of the Author in six sessions.

February 7 Birthday: Laura Ingalls Wilder


Laura Ingalls Wilder, author
Feb. 7, 1867-Feb. 10, 1957

Laura Ingalls Wilder  by Alexandra Wallner (Holiday House, 1997)

The story of the pioneer girl turned author is featured in this simple biography about the creator of the Little House books.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum contains Wilder’s history, museum information and a link just for kids.

Monday, February 06, 2012

February 6 Birthday: Babe Ruth


Babe Ruth, athlete
Feb. 6, 1895-August 16, 1948

Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer (Voyager Books, 2003)

The story of Ruth as well as his home run record-breaking in 1927 is illustrated with realistic paintings and images of baseball cards with career stats. is a source for biography, stats, achievements, quotes, photos and awards about Babe Ruth.

February 6 Birthday: Ronald Reagan

Lives of the Presidents

Ronald Reagan, U.S. President
February 6, 1911-June 5, 2004

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

A movie actor turned president, Regan loved to ride horses and tell a good story. He was the 40th president of the United States.

Read a bio of Regan on the White House site.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

February 5 Birthday: Hank Aaron


Hank Aaron, athlete
Feb. 5, 1934-

Hank Aaron: Brave in Every Way by Peter Golenbock, illustrated by Paul Lee (Gulliver Books, 2001)

African-American baseball great Hank Aaron followed his dream and in spite of the racial tensions in the 1960s and hate mail directed to him, he kept on and broke the home run record of Babe Ruth.

Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, Aaron is featured on their site.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

February 4 Birthday: Honus Wagner

Honus Wagner, athlete
February 4, 1874-December 6, 1955

All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jim Burke (Philomel Books, 2009)

Honus Wagner grew up playing baseball. Wanger grew into a professional baseball player who “had more home runs, RBIs, doubles, triples…more steals…and played in more games than any other player in the National League.” And that makes his baseball card the most valuable of them all.

The Official Site of Honus Wagner features his biography, photos, career highlights and more.

February 4 Birthday: Charles Lindbergh


Charles Lindbergh, aviator
Feb. 4, 1902-Aug. 26, 1974

Flight by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer (Putnam Juvenile paperback, 1997)

This is one of my all-time favorite picture book biographies. It is the dramatic account of Lindbergh’s solitary flight across the Atlantic in 1927 with picture-perfect artwork.

Information about the flight, flight timeline, Spirit of St. Louis, photos, documents, articles, and biographies can be found at

February 4 Birthday: Alexis Soyer


Alexis Soyer, chef
Feb. 4, 1810-Aug. 5, 1858

The Adventurous Chef: Alexis Soyer by Ann Arnold (FSG, 2002)

French chef Soyer organized a soup kitchen during the Irish potato famine and worked with Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War.

To read more about Soyer, visit the site.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

February 2 Birthday: John P. Parker


John P. Parker, abolitionist, inventor
Feb. 2, 1827-Jan. 30, 1900

Freedom River by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Jump At the Sun, 2000)

This Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book recounts the story of ex-slave John P. Parker, and his efforts to assist others in gaining freedom through the Underground Railroad.

The Autobiography of John Parker, an Online Archival Collection at Duke University gives visitors information about Parker and links to Underground Railroad sites.