December 7 Pearl Harbor Day
December 10 Human Rights Day
December 15 Bill of Rights Day
December 16 Boston Tea Party
December 20 Louisiana Purchase Day
Basketball Created. Anniversary. On this day in 1891, the game of basketball was created by Dr. James Naismith. The first official game was played in a YMCA gymnasium on January 20, 1892. For more information, go here.
Jan Brett. Birthday. Born December 1, 1949. Brett is a children's book author and illustrator. Visit her Web site.
United Nations World AIDS Day. For more information, go here.
John Brown Executed. On this day in 1859, Brown, a militant American abolitionist, was executed by hanging. After leading a raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, he was captured, tried, and convicted. Historians consider his execution to be an integral part of the beginning of the American Civil War. For more information, visit PBS's Web site.
Environmental Protection Agency Established. On this day in 1970, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established to consolidate
into one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting, and
enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection. EPA's mission is to
protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment—air, water, and land—upon which life depends. For more information, visit the EPA Web site.
David Macaulay. Birthday. Born December 2, 1946. Macaulay is an author and illustrator. He wrote the popular book, The Way Things Work. Be sure to visit his Web site.
Monroe Doctrine. On this day in 1823, President James Monroe announced a new U.S. foreign policy initiative. This would later become known as the Monroe Doctrine. The initiative stated that the United States should be closed to future European colonization and interference. To read the text of the President's address, as well as a brief background about the Doctrine, go here.
Joseph Conrad. Anniversary of Birth. Born Józef Teodor Nałęcz Konrad Korzeniowski in Poland on December 3, 1857. Conrad was an author best known for the classic novella Heart of Darkness.
Illinois Admitted to U.S. On this day in 1818, Illinois was admitted to the Union as the 21st state. For more information, go here.
Mary CelesteSighted. The Mary Celeste, a merchant sailing ship, was found abandoned and drifting off the coast of Portugal in 1872. None of the ship's crew or passengers was ever found. Why it had been abandoned remains unknown to this day. There are several children's books available about the Mary Celeste.
Recommended book: The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History by Jane Yolen (Simon & Schuster, 1999; ISBN: 0689810792; 32 pages; Ages: 4-8).
World's First Sunday Newspaper Published. On this day in 1791, The Observer, a broadsheet newspaper of the United Kingdom, began publication on Sundays.
Walt Disney. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 5, 1901; Died December 15, 1966. For more information, go here.
International Volunteer Day. Started on this day in 1985 by the United Nations to celebrate the efforts of those who have made an important contribution to society by giving their time as volunteers. For more information, go here.
Montgomery Bus Boycott. Anniversary. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American, was arrested in Montgomery, AL, for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. The African-American community of Montgomery organized a bus boycott that lasted from December 5, 1955 until December 20, 1956. The United States Supreme Court decision on November 13, 1956, declared illegal the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses.
Recommended book: If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold (Simon & Schuster, 1999; ISBN: 0689818920; 32 pages; Ages: 4-8).
Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution Ratified. On this day in 1933, the newly ratified amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment which had mandated nationwide Prohibition.
Martin Van Buren. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 5, 1782; Died July 24, 1862. Van Buren served as the 8th President of the United States. For more information, go here.
Joyce Kilmer. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 6, 1886; Died July 30, 1918. Born in New Brunswick, NJ. Kilmer was an American journalist and poet, perhaps best known for his poem, "Trees." For more information, go here.
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution Ratified. On this day in 1865, the newly ratified amendment abolished slavery.
Harriet Tubman Escapes From Slavery. On this day in 1849, American slave Harriet Tubman escaped northward. She left behind
her husband, who did not want to follow. For more information, go here.
Elizabeth Yates. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 6, 1905; Died July 29, 2001. Yates authored approximately 50 books for children. She is perhaps best known for Amos Fortune, Free Man, which won the Newbery Medal in 1951.
Willa Cather. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 7, 1876; Died April 24, 1947. Cather was the Amercian author of O Pioneers, My Ántonia, and Death Comes for the Archbishop. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for One of Ours. For more information, visit the Willa Cather Archive.
Pearl Harbor Bombed. On this day in 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack against the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into WWII. For more information, visit National Geographic's Remembering Pearl Harbor.
Mary Azarian. Birthday. Born December 8, 1940, Azarian is an artist and children's book illustrator. She won the Caldecott award in 1999 for the picture book Snowflake Bently. Visit her Web site.
Mary, Queen of Scots. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 8, 1542; Died February 8, 1587. Mary Stuart was born at Linlithgow Palace, Scotland, to King James V of Scotland and his French wife, Marie de Guise. For more information, go here.
U.S. Enters WWII. On this day in 1941, the United States declared war on Japan after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
Eli Whitney. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 8, 1765; Died January 8, 1825. Whitney is credited with inventing the cotton gin, a mechanical device which removed the seeds from cotton, a process which until that time had been extremely labor-intensive. For more information, go here.
Joan W. Blos. Birthday. Born December 9, 1928. Blos is a children's book author. She won the Newbery Medal in 1980 for A Gathering of Days. For a brief biography, go here.
Mary Downing Hahn. Born December 9, 1939. Hahn is a children's book author. For more information, go here.
John Milton. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 9, 1609; Died November 8, 1674. Best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, Milton was born in Cheapside, England. For more information, visit the Milton Reading Room.
Melvil Dewey. Anniversary of Birth. Born Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey on December 10, 1851; Died December 26, 1931. Dewey created the Dewey Decimal System for classifying books and is known as the "Father of Modern Librarianship." For a brief biography, go here. For elementary appropriate information about the Dewey Decimal System, go here. Visit a thinkquest appropriate for elementary students here.
Emily Dickinson. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 10. 1832; Died May 15, 1886. Dickinson was born in Amherst, MA. She was a prolific poet, writing nearly 1800 poems. For a brief biography, visit Poets.org.
Human Rights Day. This day marks the anniversary of the United Nation's General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. For more information, visit the CyberSchoolBus at the UN's Web site.
Mercer Mayer. Birthday. Born December 10, 1943. Mayer is a children's book author and illustrator known for Little Critter™. Visit his Web site.
Treaty of Paris Ends Spanish American War. Signed on December 10, 1898. For more information, go here.
Indiana Admitted to U.S. On this day in 1816, Indiana was admitted to the Union as the 19th state. For more information, go here.
George Mason. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 11, 1725; Died October 7, 1792. Mason was a statesman and delegate from Virginia to the U.S. Constitutional Convention. He is known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights." For more information, go here.
William Joyce. Birthday. Born December 11, 1957. Joyce was a children's book author and illustrator. He is known for Rolie Polie Olie and George Shrinks.
Gustave Flaubert. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 12, 1821; Died May 8, 1880. Flaubert was a French novelist, perhaps best known for Madame Bovary.
William Lloyd Garrison. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 12, 1805; Died May 24, 1879. Born in Newburyport, MA, Garrison was an American abolitionist and reformer. He produced the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator.
John Jay. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 12, 1745; Died May 17, 1829. Born in New York, New York, Jay was one America's founding fathers. He co-wrote the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.For more information, go here.
First U.S. Newspaper Published. On this day in 1719, the Boston Gazette first appeared.
Battle of Fredericksburg. Fought on this day in 1862 between General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside. The battle is remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the American Civil War. For more information, go here.
Sir Francis Drake Begins Circumnavigation of Globe. On this day in 1577, Drake left Plymouth, England, aboard the Pelican. He was the first Englishman to circle the globe.
Alabama Admitted to U.S. On this day in 1819, Alabama was admitted to the Union as the 22nd state. For more information, go here.
Roald Amundsen Reaches the South Pole. On this day in 1911, Norwegian Roald Amundsen and a four-member team were the first to successfully reach the South Pole. For more information, go here. Visit also the PBS's Alone on the Ice.
Tycho Brahe. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 14, 1546; Died October 24, 1601. Brahe was a Danish astronomer. For more information, go here.
Max Planck Publishes Study of Quantum Theory. Born on April 23, 1858, Planck was a German physicist who is considered to be the inventor of quantum theory.
Rosemary Sutcliff. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 14, 1920; Died July 23, 1992. Born in East Clanden, England, Sutcliff was a children's book author.
George Washington Dies. On this day in 1799, Washington, the first president of the United States, died of acute laryngitis at age 67.
Bill of Rights Day. On this day in 1791, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution became law. To read the Bill of Rights, go here.
Betty Smith. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 15, 1904; Died January 17, 1972. Born in New York, NY, Smith authored A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, among others.
Jane Austen. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 16, 1775; Died July 18, 1817. Born in Steventon, Hampshire, England. Austen was an English novelist. Her novels include Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion.
Battle of the Bulge Begins (WWII). On this day in 1944, the Second Battle of the Ardennes began. It was the largest land battle of World War II in which the United States participated. It was also the last major German offensive on the Western Front.
Ludwig Van Beethoven. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 16, 1770; Died March 26, 1927. Born in Boon, Germany, Beethoven is considered by some to be the most famous composer of all time.
Boston Tea Party. Occurring on this day in 1773, the Boston Tea Party was a political protest by Boston, Massachusetts, residents against the British parliament. It was a key point in the start of the American Revolution. For more information, go here.
E.B. Lewis. Birthday. Born December 16, 1956. White, a children's book illustrator, was born in Philadelphia, PA. Visit his Web site.
First Successful Airplane Flight. On this day in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew their airplane, the Wright Flyer, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. For more information go here.
While there are many books about the Wright brothers, an educator favorite is: The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman (Holiday House, 1991; ISBN: 0823408752; 129 pages; Ages: 9-12).
Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Published. The novella was published on this day in 1843 to immediate acclaim. It has become one of the most popular Christmas stories of all time. To read the text, go here.
Marilyn Sachs. Birthday. Born December 18, 1927. Born in New York, NY, Sachs is a children's book author. Visit her Web site.
Eve Bunting. Birthday. Born December 19, 1928. Born in Ireland, Bunting is the author of more than 100 books for children. For a brief biography, go here.
Poor Richard's Almanack Published. Benjamin Franklin first published the Almanack on this day in 1732.
Louisiana Purchase Day. On this day in 1803, the United States acquired more than 529,911,680 acres of territory from France. The purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States. For teacher background, and to read the text of the treaty, go here.
Pilgrim Landing. On this day in 1621, a group of English religious separatists who sailed from Europe to North America on the Mayflower landed at what today is known as Plymouth Rock. For more information, go here.
Jerry Pinkney. Birthday. Born December 22, 1939. Pinkney was born in Philadelphia, PA. Children's book illustrator. Winner of three Caldecott Honor Medals. Read an interview here.
Winter Solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is shining directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, marking this the first day of winter.
Avi. Birthday. Born Avi Wortis on December 23, 1937, in New York, NY. Highly acclaimed young adult and children's book author. He won the Newbery award for Crispin: The Cross of Lead. Visit Avi's Web site.
Transistor First Demonstrated. On this day in 1947, the transistor was demonstrated at Bell Laboratories. The transistor is considered by many to be one of the greatest inventions in modern history. For more information, go here.
Kit Carson. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 24, 1809; Died May 23, 1969. Carson was an American frontiersman. During his lifetime, he was a trapper, guide, military scout, Indian agent, soldier, and rancher. For more information, go here.
Lynn Munsinger. Birthday. Born on this day in 1951. She is a children's book illustrator.
Benjamin Rush. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 24, 1745; Died April 19, 1813. In addition to being one of the founding fathers of the United States, Rush was a physician, writer, educator, and humanitarian. He is considered the "Father of American Psychiatry." For more information, go here.
War of 1812 Ends. On this day in 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed by British and American representatives, ending the war.
Clara Barton. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 25, 1821; Died April 2, 1912. Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born in Oxford, MA. She founded the American Red Cross.
Christmas. A Christian holiday which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
Charles Darwin Embarks on HMS Beagle. On this day in 1831, Darwin—a British naturalist— embarked on a five-year journey aboard the Beagle. Darwin made detailed observations and discoveries during the voyage. He would eventually posit the theory of evolution through natural selection. For a brief biography, go here.
Johannes Kepler. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 27, 1571; Died November 15, 1630. Kepler, a German mathematician and astronomer, was a central figure in the scientific revolution. He discovered the laws of planetary motion. For more information, go here.
Louis Pasteur. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 27, 1822; Died September 28, 1895. Pasteur, born in Jura, France, was a microbiologist and chemist. Known for the germ theory of disease, as well as his development techniques of inoculation.
Endangered Species Act. Anniversary. The act, enacted in 1973, is designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction due to "the consequences of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation." To read the act, go here. For a list (updated daily) of threatened and endangered plants and animals, go here.
Iowa Admitted to U.S. On this day in 1846, Iowa was admitted to the Union as the 29th state. For more information, go here.
Woodrow Wilson. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 28, 1856; Died February 3, 1924. Wilson served as the 28th President of the United States. For more information, go here.
Molly Bang. Birthday. Born December 29, 1943. Bang is a children's book author and illustrator. Visit her Web site.
Andrew Johnson. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 29, 1808; Died July 31, 1875. Johnson served as the 17th President of the United States. A native of Raleigh, N.C., Johnson became president upon the death of Abraham Lincoln. For more information, go here.
The Massacre of Wounded Knee. Anniversary. On this day in 1890, the Battle of Wounded Knee was fought. It was the last major armed conflict between the Sioux Nation and the U.S. For more information, go here.
Texas Admitted to U.S. On this day in 1845, Texas was admitted to the Union as the 28th state. For more information, go here.
Gadsden Purchase. On this day in 1853, the United States purchased from Mexico a region of land in what today is southern Arizona and southern New Mexico for $10 million. The purchase secured the final boundaries of the
continental United States.
Rudyard Kipling. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 30, 1865; Died January 18, 1936. A native of Bombay, India, Kipling was an author and poet. He is best known for The Jungle Book and Kim. For more information, go here.
Henri Matisse. Anniversary of Birth. Born December 31, 1869; Died November 3, 1954. A native of Le Cateau, France, Matisse is one of the best known artists of the twentieth century. For more information, go here.