National Autism Awareness Month. For more information, visit the Autism Society of America.National Child Abuse Prevention Month. For more information, go here. National Humor Month. Visit the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Jokes and Trivia page for jokes, riddles, and more.
National Poetry Month. "National Poetry Month (NPM) brings together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets around the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture." Visit the Academy of American Poets for more information. Scholastic features wonderful resources and activities here. Education Oasis's article, "Painlessly Bringing Poetry into Your Classroom includes a list of activities. Interested in combining technology and poetry? Check out "Creating Poetry Videos."
National Youth Sports Safety Month. According to the non-profit, educational organization National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, "Millions of children are injured each year due to their participation in sports and fitness activities with a cost to the government and their families of many billions of dollars. Many of these injuries could be prevented with the utilization of safety resources." For more information and activities visit the organization's Web site.
April Fools' Day or All's Fool Day. Thought to have begun in France in 1564. Read more about the day at Infoplease.
International Children's Book Day. Celebrated since 1967 on (or around) the birthday of Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. For more information, go here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassinated. King, a preacher and civil rights leader, was shot shortly after 6 p.m. on this day in 1968 by James Earl Ray.Maya Angelou. Birthday. Born: April 4, 1928. Angelou is an American poet, writer, and civil rights activist. Visit Dr. Angelou's official Web site.
U.N. World Health Day. For more information, visit here. William Wordsworth. Anniversary of Birth. Born April 7, 1770; Died: April 23, 1850. Born in England, Wordsworth is considered the father of the English Romantic Movement. For the "Complete Poetical Works," go here.
Gautama Buddha. Anniversary of Birth. Although the dates of his birth and death are uncertain, some believe Siddhartha Gautama was born around April 8 on this day in 563 B.C. and died around 483 B.C. He was an Indian spiritual leader and the founder of Buddhism. For more information, visit The Life of Buddha for Secondary Students.
Trina Schart Hyman. Anniversary of Birth. Born April 8, 1939; Died November 19, 2004. Hyman was an American illustrator of children's books. She won Caldecott Medal in 1984 for Little Red Riding Hood, and again in 1985 for Saint George and the Dragon. For a biography and interview, go here.
National Library Week.April 10-16. First celebrated in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association. Here are two of our favorite books about libraries:
I.Q. Goes to the Library
Author: Mary Ann Fraser
Publisher/Date: Walker & Company /2003
Age Levels: 4-8 Read the review »
Author: Sarah Stewart
Publisher/Date: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/1995
Age Levels: 4-8
Beverly Cleary. Birthday. Born April 12, 1916. Cleary is a children's book author. She won the Newbery Medal in 1983 for Dear Mr. Henshaw. Be sure to visit her Web site.
First Human in Space. On this day in 1961, USSR cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin orbited the planet. Gagarin was born in Lushino, Smolensk, on March 9, 1934, and died on March 27, 1968 in an airplane crash.
Thomas Jefferson. Anniversary of Birth. Born 1743; Died 1826. Jefferson served as the third President of the United States (1801-1809). Visit the Jefferson Timeline at the American Memory Project. Take a virtual tour of Jefferson's home here.
Abraham Lincoln Shot. On this day in 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington. A brief biography of Lincoln may be found here.
Pan-American Day. "Pan American Day is a day established by the governments of the American republics as a symbol of their sovereignty and their voluntary union in one continental community. Each year, on April 14th, by Presidential Proclamation or legislative enactment, Pan American Day and Week are commemorated in major cities, towns, and communities." For more information, go here.
Young People's Poetry Week. April 14-20. Sponsored by the Children's Book Council in collaboration with the American Academy of Poets and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. For more information, go here. Visit the following sites for more information, activities, and resources visit the Academy of American Poets as well as The Center for the Book.
Abraham Lincoln Dies. On this day in 1865, President Lincoln died as a result of being shot the day before by John Wilkes Booth.
National & Global Youth Service Day. April 15-17. For more information, go here.
The Titanic Sinks. On this day the British ocean liner Titanic sunk on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. It went down approximately 400 miles (650 kms) off the coast of Newfoundland after striking an iceberg. More than half of the 2,228 passengers and crew on board died. On September 1, 1985, the wreck was discovered. For more information, visit Discovery Channel's Titanic Explorer. While there are many books available concerning the Titanic, one we especially recommend is:
Heroine of the Titanic: The Real Unsinkable Molly Brown
Author: Elaine Landau
Publisher/Date: Clarion Books/2001
Age Levels: 9-12
For more information, visit the publisher's page.
Paul Revere and William Dawes Ride. On this day in 1775, Revere and Dawes rode to alert Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and the Boston colonists that "the British were coming!" Be sure to check out the Paul Revere House. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride," may be read here. An inspirational fourth-grade class project may be seen here.
The following are links to lesson plans and activities:
Library of Congress Established. On this day in 1800, the United States Congress established the institution. During his tenure as President (1801-1809), Thomas Jefferson helped guide and shape the library. When the library was destroyed by the British in 1814, Jefferson sold his own personal library (then the largest collection in the country) to Congress to replace the lost volumes. Be sure to visit The Library of Congress Web site.
Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Go here for more information.
Robinson Crusoe Published. On this day in 1719, Daniel Defoe's The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe was published by William Taylor in England.
International Reading Association's Annual National Convention. April 25-28. Go here for more information.
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Disaster. On this day in 1986, the worst nuclear power accident ever occurred when a nuclear power station at Chernobyl (in what was then the Soviet Union) experienced a meltdown, releasing radiation. A lesson plan for grades 9-12 may be found at Science NetLinks.
National Playground Safety Week. April 26-30. Go here for more information.
Patricia Reilly Giff. Birthday. Born April 26, 1935. Giff is a children's book author. She wrote Lily's Crossing among others. For more information, go here.
Lois Duncan. Birthday. Born April 28, 1934. Duncan is a young adult book author. For more information, go here.
Harper Lee. Birthday. Born April 28, 1926. Lee won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Mutiny on the HMS Bounty. Characterized by some as the most famous sea story ever. Captain William Bligh and his crew left England on December 23, 1787. They sailed the HMS Bounty to Tahiti to collect breadfruit plants. On the way home, a crewman named Fletcher Christian and some of the crew mutinied. They put Bligh and 18 other crewmen in a launch and set them adrift. The mutineers then sailed back to Tahiti where they began a settlement on Pitcairn Island.
National Arbor Day. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. For more information, visit the National Arbor Day Foundation. There you will find a history of the celebration, activities, and ideas. Be sure to check out the "Teaching Youth About Trees" Web page.
The Louisiana Purchase. On this day in 1803, the U.S. purchased the Louisiana Territory (820,000 square miles) from France for $15 million dollars—roughly doubling the size of the United States. "The Louisiana Purchase: A Living Timeline" lesson plan for elementary students may be found here.
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. Birthday. Born April 30, 1940. Patent is a children's book author. For more information, visit her Web site.