A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday James Howe (Bunnicula series, Brontorina).
- Itâ€™s the birth date James Baldwin (1924-1987), Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son.
- In 1610 Henry Hudson sailed into what is now known as Hudson Bay and mistakes it for the Northwest Passage entry for Pacific Ocean. Read Beyond the Sea of Ice: The Voyages of Henry Hudson by Joan Elizabeth Goodman, maps by Bette Duke.
- Happy birthday to the United States Census, first held in 1790. Read Tricking the Tallyman by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by S. D. Schindler.
- In 1870, the first underground tube railway opens in London. Read The London Underground by Elaine Pascoe and Underground by David Macaulay.
- Scientists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard write to U.S. President Roosevelt asking to start the Manhattan project on this day in 1939. Their work will lead to the creation of the first atomic bomb. Read The Ultimate Weapon: The Race to Develop the Atomic Bomb by Edward T. Sullivan.
Today marks the birthday of one of Americaâ€™s greatest author and illustrators. Holling Clancy Holling worked on developing his signature style for forty years before the release of his classic, Paddle-to-the-Sea, in 1941. For this book he drew on his years as a Michigan farm boy, a sailor on the Great Lakes, an anthropological researcher in New Mexico, and a muralist in Montanaâ€”along with his training at the Chicagoâ€™s Art Institute and Field Museum of Natural History. Holling camped on Native American reservations and attended tribal ceremonies.
In Paddle-to-the-Sea, Holling brought all of his interests together to tell the story of a Native American boy who launches a tiny carved Indian in a canoe as the snows melt on Lake Superior. Bearing the inscription, â€śPlease put me back in the water,â€ť this canoe makes its way through the Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic. It survives the perils of fishing nets, saw mills, and Niagara Falls. Holling provided spectacular full-color art for each step of the journey; his wife, Lucille, added in detailed line drawings that helped clarify the discussions in the text.
Long before information book writers for children began to talk about creating works of narrative nonfiction, Holling demonstrated how to do it. The book is both story (often responded to by younger children) and information (pored over by older readers) in equal parts. Over the years Paddle-to-the Sea has encouraged many children and classes to launch small carved canoes, hoping that they, too, will reach the Atlantic Ocean.
Holling created several other gems in his lifetime: Seabird, about a boy who carves a seabird out of ivory; Minn of the Mississippi, an exploration of the life of a snapping turtle; and Tree in the Trail, which focuses on the Sante Fe Trail. The best teaching tool to use with Hollingâ€™s books is a set of four maps for the regions covered, printed on sturdy ivory paper, which can be secured from Beautiful Feet Books. The maps are designed so children can follow the narrative and draw their own map, learning geography, ecology, biology, and history as they do.
Whether for school or pleasure, the books of Holling Clancy Holling can be visited again and again. Holling knew how to create heartwarming stories, communicate exciting information, and deliver spectacular artwork. He set standards of excellence in nonfiction books for childrenâ€”and all of us are much richer because of him.
Hereâ€™s a page from Paddle-to-the-Sea:
Â All this time the world was changing. The air grew warmer, the birch twigs swelled with new buds. A moose pawed the snow beside a log, uncovering green moss and arbutus like tiny stars. And then, one morning, the gray clouds drifted from the sky. The sun burst out warm and bright above the hills, and under its glare the snow blankets dropped on the fir trees. Everywhere the snow was melting. There was a steady tap-tap-tap of fat drops falling.
Originally posted August 2, 2011. Updated for .