A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Jerry Stanley (Children of the Dustbowl), Raffi (Baby Beluga), and James Cross Giblin (The Life and Death of Adolph Hitler, The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy).
- In 1776, the bell now known as the Liberty Bell, rang out in Philadelphia, to call the cityâ€™s population together for first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Then, on this day in 1835, the Liberty Bell cracks. Read Saving the Liberty Bell by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Marsha Gray Carrington.
- Happy birthday Paris, founded in 951 A.D. Reread Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans.
- In 1941, Nazi Germany requires all Jews in Baltic States to wear a six-pointed star. Read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.
- Itâ€™s Video Game Day (though frankly, for some folks, every day is video game day!) Read Game On!: The Adventures of Daniel Book, Loud Boy by D. J. Steinberg, illustrated by Brian Smith.
Today marks the birthday of Ă‰tienne de Silhouette, the French finance minister. In 1759, because of Franceâ€™s credit crisis during the Seven Years War, he had to impose severe economic demands on the country, particularly the wealthy. Something of an artist, Silhouette enjoyed making cut-paper portraits, and his name became synonymous with these creations. After all, they could be made of anything and executed cheaply.
Although we often say â€śYou canâ€™t judge a book by its cover,â€ť authors, publishers, critics, and readers focus a lot of their attention on the book jacket. It serves as the first advertisement for the book, either drawing in the reader or repelling them. Recently, the silhouette has been getting a lot of front cover exposure in childrenâ€™s books.
One of the most remarkable adorns the jacket for The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, a novel for ages ten through fourteen by Jacqueline Kelly. In cover art created by Beth White, the portrait of a young girl with a butterfly net behind her absolutely begs the reader to open the cover. They will be glad when they do.
Living in Fentress, Texas, in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Vee doesnâ€™t excel in sewing or cooking, but she has a passion for science. Not really an acceptable calling for a girl in the nineteenth century, but her penchant truly makes her crotchety grandfather happy. He delights in providing Callie with information from a controversial book, Darwinâ€™s On the Origin of Species. In their outdoor explorations, the two even discover a new plant, which they have scientifically verified by the Smithsonian. Callieâ€™s voice, feisty and engaging, brings readers along in this saga, one that makes science seem like the most exciting passion a girl, or a grandfather, could ever have. The tension between what society and her mother expect of Callie and what she herself longs to do underscores the action of the novel. Callie emerges as an engaging young girl, whom readers want to succeed.
So, happy birthday Finance Minister de Silhouette. Just like Callie Vee, you demonstrated that unlikely contributions can come from those people society expects to act differently. Both you and Callie Vee remind us to hold on to our passion and our dreams.
Hereâ€™s a passage from The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate:
My first recorded notes were of the dogs. Due to the heat, they lay so still in the dirt as to look dead. Even when my young brothers chivvied them with sticks out of boredom, they wouldnâ€™t bother to raise their heads. They got up long enough to slurp at the water trough and then flopped down again, raising puffs of dust in their shallow hollows. You couldnâ€™t have roused Ajax, Fatherâ€™s prize bird dog, with a shot-gun let off a foot in front of his muzzle. He lay with his mouth lolling open and let me count his teeth. In this way, I discovered that the roof of a dogâ€™s mouth is deeply ridged in a backwards direction down his gullet, in order no doubt to encourage the passage of struggling prey in one direction only, namely that of DINNER. I wrote this in my Notebook.
Originally posted July 8, 2011. Updated for .