Basketball became an official Olympic sport in 1936, just 45 years after it had been invented by James Naismith. As a young teacher, Naismith took over an unruly gym class, and he was challenged to educate and control the young men in his care. After having little success with the conventional activities and sports, Naismith decided to make up a game of his own, and the sport of basketball was born. His experiment with his original 13 rules was successful, and the boys in the gym class eagerly returned day after day to work on their game. When the holiday break arrived in 1891, the students shared the new game with friends and family, and excitement for the game spread quickly.
James Naismith went on to coach and teach at the University of Kansas. He is often quoted as saying, “You can’t coach basketball, you just play it.” Naismith’s original 13 rules now reside in Kansas.
Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy, illustrated by Joe Morse (Carolrhoda, 2013)Filed under "People Who Make a Difference", Picture Book Biography, Sports, Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Looking into the eyes of a wild dolphin – who is looking into mine – inspires me to learn everything I can about them and do everything I can to take care of them…You can’t care if you don’t know. Sylvia Earle
When she was a young child, Sylvia Earle went off on her own observing nature in the woods and pond near her home. Her family moved to Florida when she was twelve years old, and there she began her “investigations” in the water along the Gulf of Mexico. Once Sylvia got swim goggles and a snorkel, she marveled at the life in the water and yearned to learn about it. Her curiosity about the ocean extended into her adult life as a marine biologist and chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Sylvia has walked on the ocean floor in an aqua suit, lived for two weeks in a deep-sea laboratory off the U.S. Virgin Islands, descended 3,000 feet in the Pacific Ocean in a one-person spherical bubble that she helped to design, and plunged to 13,000 feet underwater in a Japanese submersible. Her mission in life is to protect our oceans and foster understanding and research in them.
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola (FSG, 2012) is a delightful introduction to this inspirational woman.Filed under "People Who Make a Difference", Picture Book Biography, Science | Comment (0)
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso’s father, Don Jose Ruiz was an art teacher and painter who was so impressed with his son’s work that he laid down his brushes. Don Jose said that he was abandoning his own art because his son had more talent than he had. When he was in his teens, Pablo Picasso’s style echoed the work of other French artists like Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, and Monet. As an adult, he developed his own styles (The Blue Period, The Rose Period, Cubism, Surrealism) for which he is now known.
Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Scholastic, 2012) shares events about the famous artist from his childhood through his twenties. Despite harsh criticism, Picasso persevered to perfect his own style in paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures.
Tony Penrose grew up with Pablo Picasso as a family friend. His father, Sir Roland Penrose was an artist who often visited back and forth with Picasso. In The Boy Who Bit Picasso (Abrams, 2010), Tony shares his childhood memories of this remarkable artist. He includes photographs taken of Picasso by his mother, the famous photographer Lee Mill. Penrose also includes images of drawings that Picasso made especially for him.
Other books in our collection about this genius include Picasso: A Day in His Studio by Veronique Antoine (Chelsea House, 1993) and Picasso by Mike Venezia (Children’s Press, 1988).
Photo of Pablo Picasso taken from Wikipedia.org.Filed under Art, Biography | Comment (0)
Our lower school students were fascinated this week when they viewed a clip that demonstrated the launch and landing of the Mars Rover, Spirit. This engineering feat is inspirational to children who are interested in science.
The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch (Houghton Mifflin, 2012) tells the story of one scientist who was inspired by the Apollo mission to the moon when he was thirteen-years-old. Steven Squyres went on to study geology and planetary science. His dream was to learn more about Mars. When Steve was a professor of astronomy at Cornell, he organized a team of scientists and engineers and proposed a project to NASA. His idea was to have a special robot to photograph Mars.
In 2000, NASA and his team of 170 scientists began their Mars project with hundreds of engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Their dreams became a reality when the two Mars Rovers landed and began to send information to earth.
One child’s dream can become a reality!Filed under "People Who Make a Difference", All Ages, Science | Comment (0)
(1930-2013) Elaine Lobi Konigsburg is known to our Fourth Graders as E. L. Konigsburg, the beloved author of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Her books have been honored with Newbery awards by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. The Newbery Medal is awarded annually “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”. Konigsburg is the only author who has received the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor in the same year. In 1967, she received the Newbery Medal for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was an honor book. She was honored with the Newbery Medal again, in 1997, for The View from Saturday.
Konigsburg made many of her main characters 12 years old. In an interview with Leonard Marcus in Talking with Authors, she said, “Because it is at that age that the serious question of childhood is asking for an answer. Kids want acceptance from their peers, but in two different, opposing ways: They want to be like everyone else and they want to be different from everyone else. So the question is: How do you reconcile these opposing longings?”
How fortunate we all are that this woman, who received a degree in chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, decided to write children’s books as her own children began school!
(Photo of the author taken from Publishers Weekly)Filed under 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Middle School, Novels | Comment (0)
Cautious, careful people never can bring about a reform. Susan B. Anthony
Having grown up in North Adams, I was always fascinated when my family drove past the house on East St. in Adams, MA where Susan B. Anthony was born. It was inspiring to me to think that a woman who was born in my area of western Massachusetts went on to be such a leader in the women’s suffrage movement in the 1800s.
In 1826, Susan B. Anthony’s family moved to the state of New York so that Susan’s father could manage a factory that manufactured cotton. That is where Susan grew up and became a life-long reformer. Even as a young girl, she identified injustices. The first was when a male teacher refused to teach the girls in his class mathematics because he believed that certain school subjects were too hard for a girl to learn. In her early career, Susan became a teacher herself. After a few years, Susan left her teaching job so that she could speak to many people about women’s rights.
"People Who Make a Difference", Biography, Picture Book Biography | Comment (0)
A is for America’s Most Beloved Ballpark
For baseball lovers everywhere
the experience they want to share
is Fenway’s magic and mystique,
which make this classic park unique.
The Boston Red Sox have played at Fenway Park since 1912. Fenway is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium that is still in use. In 2012, the organization and fans celebrated the centennial of this beloved ballpark.
Jerry Pallotta has written dozens of alphabet and counting books. F is for Fenway illustrated by John S. Dykes (Sleeping Bear Press, 2012) is one of his best for readers of all ages who live in New England. Pallotta adds interesting facts on each page that describes the particular letter. An example of this is the page for N. The author lists all of the retired numbers and includes interesting information about the players who are honored.
To relive one of the glory years for the team, check out this ESPN video on the 2007 World Series.Filed under All Ages, Non-Fiction, Sports | Comment (0)
In July 2007 a rare baseball card
was sold at auction
for almost three million dollars.
The player on the card
was hatchet-faced, bandy-legged,
and arguably the most famous shortstop
baseball has ever known.
His name was Honus Wagner.
This is his story.
Thus began author Jane Yolen in her book, All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever, illustrated by Jim Burke (Philomel Books, 2010). Honus Wagner went from being a coal miner to becoming one of the most popular baseball players in history. During his playing years, baseball cards were sold in cigarette packs. Because he was concerned with being a role model for his young fans, and he didn’t smoke, he had the cards pulled off the market. A few had already been sold, and these went on to be highly sought after by fans. Honus Wagner was one of the original five men inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.Novels, Picture Book Biography, Sports | Comment (0)
In 1962, Rachel Carson caused an uproar when her book, Silent Spring, was published. The New Yorker published excerpts of the ground-breaking title, and Houghton Mifflin was the publisher. Both companies faced lawsuits from major chemical companies and several government agencies. These battles raged for years, but the book became an immediate best seller all over the world.
(Photo from Wikipedia.org)
Rachel Carson’s inspirational life is chronicled in many books for children. Our newest one is Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor, illustrated by Laura Beingessner (Holiday House, 2012). When she was young, this budding naturalist enjoyed going to the woods and observing birds and nature. Rachel Carson went on to study science at Pennsylvania College for Women and was one of few women to earn her Master’s Degree at John Hopkins University. Rachel worked for the rest of her life to raise awareness of environmental issues.Filed under "People Who Make a Difference", Picture Book Biography | Comment (0)
Many young readers are inspired when they first learn about Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan. Their lives were inspirational for both blind and sighted people. Annie Sullivan’s commitment to reaching Helen, a young child who could neither see nor hear, became a model for others. She first reached Helen by teaching her sign language, so that Helen could make sense of her world. After that came Braille, writing block letters, and putting her hands on people’s lips to lip-read. Because of Sullivan’s work, Helen went on to become an author and speaker who traveled the world.
Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Raul Colon (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2012) depicts Helen’s childhood from her early year’s and her work with Annie as a young child. There are entries from Sullivan’s journal that describe her thoughts as she brought her student out of darkness.
The word coming so close upon the sensation of cold water rushing over her hand seemed to startle her. She dropped the mug and stood as one transfixed. A new light came into her face.
Annie Sullivan, April 5, 1887
Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Dorreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Tavares (Disney/Hyperion Books, 2012) tells the entire story of Helen Keller’s life. Each page is complimented by quotes from this remarkable woman.
I have the advantage of a mind trained to think, and that is the difference between myself and most people, not my blindness and their sight.
Do check out this rare footage of Annie Sullivan with Helen Keller.Filed under "People Who Make a Difference", Picture Book Biography | Comment (0)