• Mayi and Rodika live side by side in the beautiful country of Transylvania. But one girl is Hungaria - 09/01/2011

    Mayi lived in Transylvania, which means “across the woods.” Transylvania was not a country or a state; it was more like a state of mind, which changed often. From time to time, this region was part of two different countries. Sometimes it was the southern part of Hungary, but just as often it was...

  • As a child, the author thought steam engines were dragons. As an adult, he encountered a fearsome re - 09/01/2011

    The first time I saw a train, I was standing on a wooded slope outside a tunnel in the foothills near Simla in India. Suddenly, with a shrill whistle and a great burst of steam, a green and black engine came snorting out of the darkness. I turned and ran to my father. “A dragon!” I shouted. “There’s...

  • Benjy's sister, Iris, tells him the story of the brave Judah and Hanukkah. - 09/01/2011

    Iris sat by the window watching the candles burn in the Hanukkah lamp, the one that had belonged to her great-grandmother in Poland. This menorah was the only one Iris had ever seen with a lion carved onto its shiny golden surface. Tonight three candles were burning, one on top near the lion’s face,...

  • There are enough holidays to fill every day of the year. Here are a few of them. - 09/01/2011

    Everyone knows about New Year’s Eve and Independence Day. But did you know that there are enough holidays to fill every day of the year? Here are just a few we found interesting. World Hello Day Hello. Guten Tag. Buenos días. To celebrate this day, say hello to at least ten different people. World...

  • Gao Ling has a long way to go to overcome her shyness. - 09/01/2011

    The January cold sliced through Gao Ling’s windbreaker as she stood on the deck of the East Wind 37. Few passengers on the steamboat were willing to put up with the biting wind that whipped off the river today. Gao Ling was glad. Being alone here at the bow was like riding down the Yangtze in her...

  • A famous tree, the Charter Oak, became a symbol of freedom throughout early America. - 09/01/2011

    An unusual funeral took place in Hartford, Connecticut, on August 21, 1856. The city’s bells tolled in mourning, and a band played funeral hymns. It was an outpouring of grief fit for a hero—except that this hero was a tree, a white oak to be exact. For nearly 169 years this special tree had been...

  • A delicious treat reminds Ishmael of a special place. - 09/01/2011

    Ishmael lived in Missouri with his mom and dad and little brother. They had lived there for years. It was home. It was the only place Ishmael could imagine feeling homesick for. Then one summer Ishmael went to visit his grandma. She lived in the West Indies in a country made up of two islands called...

  • A Japanese good-luck charm you can make yourself. - 09/01/2011

    A Good-Luck Charm You Can Make Yourself Do you have a lucky penny? Maybe you carry a rabbit’s foot or a four-leaf clover. All around the world, people believe special charms will bring them good fortune. In Japan, the most popular good-luck piece is an egg-shaped doll with a fierce face and blank...

  • To the Chinese, handwriting is an art called calligraphy. - 09/01/2011

    Do you like your handwriting well enough to frame it and hang it on a wall? To the Chinese, writing is an art called calligraphy. Calligraphy is a popular hobby many Chinese children enjoy. Throughout Asia, Chinese calligraphy is admired just as much as painting. Special equipment is necessary....

  • In Malaysia, air battles between kites are popular--especially since anyone can claim a fallen conte - 09/01/2011

    I was throwing paddy to the chickens when I saw the kites: Cobra Kite and Moon Kite. They said Cobra Kite had a cobra’s head on it, but you couldn’t see it from the ground. No other kite was black and had a tail so long. So when Cobra was up, you would recog-nize it, no problem. Moon Kite looked...

  • Annalisa works hard to realize her secret dream. - 09/01/2011

    The trailer door closed softly. Annalisa glanced through the window and saw her brother, Harrison, slipping out for his early morning run. Annalisa pulled the soft covers up under her chin and thought about Harrison running on this chilly October morning. He had been a strong runner since he was...

  • Davy Crockett and his alligator single handedly defeat the red coats at Niagara Falls. - 09/01/2011

    My name is Davy Crockett, darling son of Tennessee and the greatest all-around patriot in the United States of America. I can jump higher, shout louder, and think faster than any man, woman, or child on the face of the Earth. ’Course I don’t like to brag—but if you think I’m fibbing, let me tell...

  • Nearly twenty-five hundred years ago, the Maya built beautiful buildings and had an advanced system - 09/01/2011

    For thousands of years the ancient Maya lived in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras. They were farmers living in villages and towns and raising corn, beans, squash, and chili peppers. Around 2,500 years ago, in a burst of creative energy, they started building...

  • From the night she was born in a tiny Greek village, dancing has been an important part of Yia-Yia's - 09/01/2011

    My Yia-Yia, my beautiful grandmother—she dances like a ribbon, like a smooth, sun-glinting, wind-tossed ribbon. Yia-Yia was born in a tiny village in Greece. Her four brothers, her grandparents, and all the aunts, uncles, and cousins danced around a bonfire long into the night when she was born....

  • How can Clementina sell mangoes at the market and write a paper for English class? - 09/01/2011

    Clementina threw back the shutters to let in the cool morning Caribbean air. Then she shook her head. “I can’t go to market today, Mama. I have a paper to write for English class.” Mama pushed herself onto one elbow and frowned. “You’re smart enough to sell mangoes and write a paper, both.” “But,...

  • Marcos's gift to his grandmother is magical. - 09/01/2011

    Marcos could see the ocean beyond Guarapari’s white houses as the family car traveled along. Like many people in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo, Marcos and his family enjoyed going to the beach. They had visited lots of the towns along the state’s coastline, but this was Marcos’s first time...

  • Adjoa shares a friend with newcomer Fiona--a tiny, blue, stuffed friend! - 09/01/2011

    Class, please welcome our new student, Fiona,” said Sister Therese. “She is from Ireland, like some of the Sisters.” “Welcome, Fiona,” chanted the girls. Fiona twisted her braid and tried to fight the color rising in her face. Sister Therese led her to a desk. “Fiona, you may sit with Adjoa. She...

  • In different places around the world, people need different kinds of homes. - 09/01/2011

    What does a house look like? A house might be a trailer in a field or a log cabin in the woods. It might be a structure under the ground or a second-story apartment in a city. In different places, people need different kinds of homes. This round home is on Lamu Island, off the coast of Kenya...

  • Kids are having a cool picnic near the Arctic Circle. - 09/01/2011

    The author and fifth-graders who live just below the Arctic Circle go ice fishing! It is the end of May, and the fifth-grade students at Maani Ulujuk School are excited. They’re going on a spring field trip—to ice fish! But they have to wait for the right kind of weather. This May, the weather...

  • The tree in Nada's backyard drops its olives in Saleem's yard--so who gets the prized fruit? - 09/01/2011

    Saleem’s homeland of Lebanon had been torn by years of conflict among people of different religions. Some, like the Besharas, had moved away from homes where they had formerly lived in peace with their neighbors. Now, thank goodness, the Besharas were coming back. As Saleem watched them carrying in...