Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31 Birthday: Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts

Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts
October 31, 1860 – January 17, 1927

Here Come the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-true Story of Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure by Shana Corey, illustrated by Hadley Hooper (Scholastic, 2012)

Growing up, Daisy embraced every facet of life. Which was unusual for a girl in Victorian times. So when she grew up, she wanted to help others live to the fullest, too. Especially girls. After discovering the Girl Guides group in England, she founded the Girl Scouts in America. And this year the group celebrates its 100th birthday!

Click here to visit the Official Website of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30 Birthday: John Adams

John Adams, U.S. President
Oct. 30, 1735-July 4, 1826

Those Rebels, John and Tom by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic, 2012)

Opposites in physical appearance, childhood experiences and manners of speech, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who both grew up to be lawyers, teamed up (with others) to oppose King George of England and create the Declaration of Independence for the newly formed United States of America. 

Read more about Adams at the page devoted to him.

October 30 Birthday: Charles Atlas

Charles Atlas, athlete
Oct. 30, 1892-Dec. 23, 1972

Strong Man: The Story of Charles Atlas by Meghan McCarthy (Knopf, 2007)

Angelo Siciliano was a one-man revolution for fitness. Tired of being a weak and skinny kid, Angelo embarked on a quest for physical health. A trip to a local museum where he saw a statue of Hercules, and a visit to his favorite thinking place, the zoo, where he watched a lion stretch his muscles fueled Siciliano's inspiration. He took a new name to go with his new muscles—Charles Atlas—and was ultimately named “The World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man.” Atlas inspired millions to exercise, eat right and live right.

Print out a copy of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans [PDF Version - 7.8 MB) to learn more about keeping healthy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28 Birthday: Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty, statue extraordinaire
Oct. 28, 1886 dedication

Lady Liberty: A Biography by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Tavares (Candlewick Press, 2008)

Vignettes written from the perspective of those who created the Statue of Liberty offer moving accounts of her inspiring story. From Edouard De Laboulaye, a professor of law in France who dreamed of giving this birthday gift from his country; to Emma Lazarus, who wrote a poem in Liberty’s honor; to Florence De Foreest, a young girl who was one of more than 100,000 people in America who contributed to the campaign to raise funds; this is a story of honor and hope and love. One of the best book cover designs, ever. And the interior art is glorious, too.

You can visit the Statue of Liberty online. Take a look at the beautiful photo gallery, read about Lady Liberty’s history and take the Junior Ranger Program self-guided program for kids.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27 Birthday: Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, US President
October 27, 1858-January 6, 1919

The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein (Dial, 2012)

An unlikely alliance rose from an unlikely adventure. President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a camping trip to Yosemite. Snow! Waterfalls! Bears! The environment had to be preserved and enjoyed by all for generations to come. Their trip laid the groundwork for the establishment of the National Parks.

Visit a National Park today!

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26 Birthday: Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson, musician
Oct. 26, 1911-Jan. 27, 1972

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

Renowned gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson "brought the blues feeling into church music." Born in New Orleans, she moved to the city of Chicago when she was a teenager. It was there that Jackson found her voice.

America's Library has a small feature on  Mahalia Jackson with photos that would be of great interest to children.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25 Birthday: Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso, artist
October 25, 1881-April 9, 1973

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso by Jonah Winter (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2012)

Change is what Picasso was all about. Always chasing new, Picasso continually reinvented his art. A true original.

A biography and works of Picasso can be found here at the Art History Archive.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24 Birthday: Sarah Hale

Sarah Hale, author
Oct. 24, 1788-Apr. 30, 1879

Thank you, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002)

It took thirty-eight years of letters to U.S. presidents from Sarah Hale before Thanksgiving became a national holiday. Lincoln made the day official in 1863. "Pick up your pen. Change the world."

Visit to read more about Hale's contributions as editor and writer.

October 24 Birthday: Annie Edson Taylor

Annie Edson Taylor, daredevil
October 24, 1838-April 29, 1921

Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011)

The first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel. On her 63rd birthday!

Daredevils of Niagara Falls shows photos of Taylor and others who have dared to attempt this dangerous feat.

October 24 Birthday: Louis Sockalexis

Louis Sockalexis, athlete
Oct. 24, 1871-Dec. 24, 1913

Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer by Bill Wise, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth (Lee and Low, 2007)

Sockalexis, the first Native American major league baseball player, won the hearts of fans with his incredible skill, but the prejudice he faced on the field and off was intense. A note in the Afterword mentions that almost fifty years after Sockalexis’ rookie year, African American Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the major leagues.

Visit the Official Site of the Cleveland Indians, Sockalexis’ team, then known as the Cleveland Spiders.

October 24 Birthday: Alexandra David-Neel

Alexandra David-Neel, explorer
Oct. 24, 1868-Sept. 8, 1969

Far Beyond the Gate: Alexandra David-Neel's Journey to Lhasa by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin, 2002)

David-Neel did not represent the norm. This intrepid Victorian traveler and opera singer gloried in journeying to remote parts of the world. She became  and the first Western woman to enter Lhasa, Tibet in 1924.

A bio on Alexandra David-Neel's web site offers additional info.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23 Birthday: Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull, politician
Oct. 23, 1838-June 9, 1927

Woman for President: The Story of Virginia Woodhull by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Jane Dyer (Walker, 2006 reprint)

Woodhull's run for president in 1872 is a fascinating part of American history. In this race, women's rights were raised to a new level.  Her eclectic background: fortune-teller, newspaper owner and investment business owner, to name only a few of her talents also make Woodhull a woman to be remembered.

"Who is Victoria Woodhull?" offers more information about this political pioneer.

October 23 Birthday: Pele

Pele, athlete
Oct. 23, 1940-

Young Pele: Soccer’s First Star by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2007)

Soccer was Pele’s passion from an early age. He played and dreamed and dreamed and played, all the while honing his skills and talent. When he finally had the opportunity to play in a youth soccer tournament, he saw that it would be possible for him, a child from humble means, to achieve his goal.

ESPN posts a biography of the "King of Futbol" on their site.

October 23 Birthday: Gertrude Ederle

Gertrude Ederle, athlete
Oct. 23, 1906-Nov. 30, 2003

America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle by David A. Adler, illustrated by Terry Widener (Harcourt, 2000, Voyager, 2005 reprint)

It's twenty-one miles across the English Channel and in 1926, an American named Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to successfully swim across it. In the process she beat the men's record by almost two hours.

Sports Illustrated for Women named Ederle one of the Top 100 Women Athletes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 21 Birthday: Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie, musician
Oct. 21, 1917-Jan. 6, 1993  

Dizzy by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Sean Qualls (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2006)

Everything changed the day Dizzy Gillespie's music teacher gave him a trumpet. From that moment on, Gillespie channeled all his feelings into his music. Jazz was his music and with it he created a whole new sound, BEBOP.

Drop by to learn more about the man and his music from Ken Burns' Jazz.

October 21 Birthday: Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz, musician
Oct. 21, 1925-July 16, 2003  

Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Julie Maren (Dial, 2005)

When this salsa superstar was a child, her neighbors crowded the street to hear her sing to her family. Jewel toned illustrations add much to this vibrant story of her life.

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History featured Celia Cruz in a exhibit called Azucar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz.

October 21 Birthday: Ursula Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin, author
Oct. 21, 1929-

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

Best known for her Earthsea fantasy series, Le Guin is featured as "U" in this collective biography of women.

Visit Ursula Le Guin's web site to read more about the Earthsea series, current work and other facts.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20 Birthday: Charles Ives

Charles Ives, musician
Oct. 20, 1874-May 19, 1954

What Charlie Heard by Mordicai Gerstein (Frances Foster/FSG, 2002)

A composer of innovative music, Charles Ives realized his dream at 77 years of age! What an inspiration. This is one of my all-time favorite picture book biographies.

Visit the Charles Ives Society web site for background information, works, and useful links.

October 20 Birthday: Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson, musician
Oct. 20, 1937-

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

A performer at nine, Jackson sang country for years. Until she sang with Elvis. Then she became known as the Queen of Rockabilly.

At Wanda you'll find tour dates, photos, biographical info and the latest news on Jackson.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 18 Birthday: Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry, musician
Oct. 18, 1926-

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

This collective biography includes a double page spread devoted to Berry. Chuck Berry learned to play the guitar as a teen and is still playing today. His first hit, Maybellene was in 1955. Go, Mr. Berry, Go!

The Official Site of Chuck Berry offers his bio, photos, song lyrics and more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17 Birthday: Jerry Siegel

Jerry Siegel, writer
Oct. 17, 1914-Jan. 28, 1996

Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ross MacDonald (Knopf, 2008)

Everyone will champion this story of ingenuity and perseverance. Together, mild-mannered and unassuming teens Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster created the most inspiring and beloved comic book hero of all-time—Superman. Their struggles in the industry were heartbreaking and their successes equally phenomenal. A super read!

Click here, and faster than a speeding bullet, you can learn about planet Krypton, Superman’s birthplace.

October 17 Birthday: Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison, astronaut
Oct. 17, 1956-

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

Jemison, a medical doctor, was the first African American women astronaut. She flew on the Endeavor in 1992.

Check out the NASA Kids site for games, stories, activities and a cool kids' club.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16 Birthday: Princess Ka'iulani

Princess Ka'iulani, leader
Oct. 16, 1875-Mar. 6, 1899

The Last Princess: The Story of Princess Ka'iulani of Hawai'i by Fay Stanley, illustrated by Diane Stanley (HarperCollins, 2001)

Heir to the throne, the United States annexed Hawai'i before Ka'iluani would rule. This is the story of her all too brief life.

A photo of Ka'iulani and information about her can be found at a web site devoted to this Hawaiian royal.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 14 Birthday: Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower, U.S. President
Oct. 14, 1890-Mar. 28, 1969

A Picture Book of Dwight Eisenhower by David A. Adler (Holiday House, 2004)

Opening with a 1945 parade in New York City at which General Eisenhower was given a medal, this book then highlights his childhood, West Point career, family life, WWII leadership and presidency.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library is the place to go for more information about this president.

October 14 Birthday: William Penn

William Penn, colonist
Oct. 14, 1644-July 30, 1718

William Penn: Founder of Pennsylvania by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Ronald Himler (Holiday House, 2000)

This book about William Penn, a strong Quaker, is also a lesson about the history of his time. writes about Penn's life and work.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13 Birthday: Art Tatum

Art Tatum, musician
Oct. 13, 1907-Nov. 5, 1956

Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum by Robert Andrew Parker (Schwartz and Wade Books, 2008)

Mostly self-taught, Tatum began playing the piano as a young child. Because of his poor eyesight, he could not participate in many activities. The piano was his refuge and strength. Word spread and soon he was playing in cafes, bars and the local radio station in his hometown of Toledo. Written in first person, this is a humble story of a gifted child who becomes one of the all-time jazz greats.

Watch and listen to Art Tatum play “Humoresque” on YouTube, his signature tune.

October 13 Birthday: Mary Kingsley

Mary Kingsley, adventurer
Oct. 13, 1862-June 3, 1990

Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa by Don Brown (Sagebrush, 2000)

Kingsley traveled through the pages of the books in her father's library as a child. Caregiver of her parents until the age of 30, upon their death, Kingsley traveled to Africa. When this British explorer returned to England, she wrote about her observations.

Living on Earth Today offers an online profile of Mary Kingsley.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11 Birthday: Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt
October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962

Eleanor, Quiet No More: The Life of Eleanor Roosevelt By Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Gary Kelley (Disney Hyperion Books, 2009)

Eleanor Roosevelt didn’t have an easy childhood. A teacher reached out to her and helped Eleanor find her way. Filled with quotes from her remarkable life, “You must do the things you cannot do,” this book shows how Roosevelt became the First Lady of the World.

The National First Ladies' Library hosts a biography and pics of Roosevelt.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10: Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi, composer
Oct. 10, 1813-Jan. 27, 1901

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

An opera composer from Italy, Verdi was playing the organ for his village by the age of ten. Aida and La Traviata are two of his most famous works.

A Stanford University web site offers information about Verdi's operas.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

October 9 Birthday: John Lennon

John Lennon, musician
Oct. 9, 1940-Dec. 8, 1980

John's Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Hyperion, 2004)

In prose and song lyrics, John Lennon's life and music are examined in this tribute to a rock 'n' roll great.

The Official John Lennon web site offers a look at the history, bio, and discography of this famous Beatle.

Monday, October 08, 2012

October 8 Birthday: Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold, artist
Oct. 8,19??-

Faith Ringgold by Robyn Montana Turner (Little Brown, 1993)

Famous for her "story quilts," this Caldecott Honor Medalist's (Tar Beach) life and art are on display in this book about this gifted African American woman.

Learn more about Ringgold and her work at her web site.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

October 6 Birthday: Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer, activist
Oct. 6, 1917-Mar. 14, 1977

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

Hamer was involved with voting rights in the 1960s in addition to being a champion for the poor and underprivileged. The tombstone of this great African American woman reads, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."

Hamer was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993.

Friday, October 05, 2012

October 5 Birthday: Chester Arthur

Chester Arthur, U.S. President
Oct. 5, 1829-Nov. 18, 1886

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

Krull gives us a quick snapshot of the 21st U.S president, nicknamed "Elegant Arthur," in her collective biography of U.S. leaders.

For a look at all of the U.S. Presidents, go to The White House web site links.

October 5 Birthday: Maya Lin

Maya Lin, architect
Oct. 5, 1959-  

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

Most famous for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lin, "M"is for Maya in this collective biography about women who've made a difference.

The Official web site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is operated by the National Park Service.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

October 4 Birthday: Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton, actor
Oct. 4, 1895-Feb. 1, 1966

Keep Your Eye on the Kid: The Early Years of Buster Keaton by Catherine Brighton  (Roaring Brook Press, 2008)

Born into a vaudeville family, Keaton was nicknamed “Buster” because he could take a fall. And fall he did, over and over again onstage when he was a child. Audiences loved him. When Buster saw his first movie, he fell even harder. Eventually he made it to Hollywood and became a great comedic screen actor and movie-maker. Written in first person, this story is a class act.

The International Buster Keaton Society provides news, a biography, articles, and other resources related to this remarkable man.

October 4 Birthday: St. Francis

Oct. 4 is St. Francis' Feast Day
c. 1181/1182-Oct. 3, 1226

Francis: Poor Man of Assisi by Tomie dePaola (Holiday House, 1990)

Wealthy by birth, Francis gave away his possessions to help the poor and become a protector of animals.

The Catholic Encyclopedia writes about St. Francis.

October 4 Birthday: Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President
Oct. 4, 1822-Jan. 17, 1893

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

Krull sums up Hayes' contributions in one paragraph in this collective biography. The 19th president's phone number was "1."

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center invites visitors to learn more about this former president.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

October 2 Birthday: Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi, peacemaker
Oct. 2, 1869-Jan. 30, 1948

Gandhi by Demi (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2001)

The life of this extraordinary leader who fought "the disease of prejudice" through nonviolent means is accompanied by stunning illustrations.

The Mahatma web site provides additional information about Gandhi; his life, his work and his philosophy.

Monday, October 01, 2012

October 1 Birthday: Jimmy Carter

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, U.S. President
Oct. 1, 1924-

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

Carter was a peanut farmer and a former governor of Georgia prior to taking office. This 39th president was and is an advocate for the homeless.

Visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia for more information.