• Why does Shana's great-grandma always keep a nickel in her pocket? - 09/01/2011

    Shana pressed her forehead against the window of her great-grandmother’s kitchen. Five stories below, cars honked and people hurried across the busy street in the pale sunlight. Spring was in the air, and tonight Shana’s favorite holiday, the Jewish festival of Purim, began. Now it was time to make...

  • Alexandra loves the moon so her brother gives her a special present. - 09/01/2011

    Alexandra looks at the moon. Tonight the moon is as round as a ball, as round as an orange, as round as a balloon. “I’m waiting for the moon to fall into my room. I’m going to keep it. I will tie some string around it and fly my ‘moon kite’ in the park. Nobody will be allowed to touch it,” Alexandra...

  • Few people know that Benjamin Franklin invented the armonica. - 09/01/2011

    Ben Franklin was a fine musician. He played the harp, guitar, and violin. He wrote songs. Music always filled his home. And he constantly attended concerts. Few people know that Benjamin Franklin invented an amazing musical instrument. Franklin got the idea for an instrument during a trip to London...

  • Burt learns the value of a gift from the heart. - 09/01/2011

    When my grandma lived with us, everything was not as nice as it seems on TV shows and in books. My grandma didn’t smile much or bake gingersnap cookies. No. My grandma sat in her wheelchair all day long. When my kitten meowed, she yelled at him, “Scat!” But I didn’t start out to complain about Grandma....

  • Everyone can sing, but not everyone can sing. - 09/01/2011

    To some people, the gift of singing comes naturally. They open their mouths and music just flows out. But for most of us, a few simple exercises can go a long way toward helping us sound like songbirds instead of screech owls. First, stand with your feet shoulder-length apart. Imagine there is a...

  • "Share" in the fun and learn a bit about the stock market. - 09/01/2011

    Everyone is talking about the stock market. The stock market “goes up” and people are happy. The stock market “goes down” and people are sad. Just what is the stock market, and why does it go up and down so much? The stock market is a place where you can buy a tiny piece of a big business. Many...

  • The award-winning musician discusses how he got his start playing music. - 09/01/2011

    Wynton Marsalis has been riding a wave of success since recording his first album at age twenty. The trumpeter has more than sixty albums to his credit as well as nine Grammy awards. He was the first musician to win these awards for both classical and jazz music in the same year. In 1997, he became...

  • Can Kim write the winning essay and represent her school at the Native American Kids' Conference? - 09/01/2011

    It was hard having “Miss Perfect” for a sister. Kim grabbed her backpack as the school bell rang. “Oh! One more thing!” Mrs. Jones stopped the fourth-graders before they bolted out the door. “I was supposed to tell you this morning—the Diné Culture Committee is sponsoring an essay contest on what...

  • Learn about life on a small farm during the Great Depression. - 09/01/2011

    Earl Weber lived on a small farm during the Great Depression, a time when the United States experienced severe economic hardships. Our family poses in front of the barn after returning from church. My brother and sister stand on a barrel, which will become the support for a seesaw later in the...

  • Check out these tips from a cartoonist and draw a cartoon dog and a cartoon kid! - 09/01/2011

    Chris Hart collected comic books as a kid. Now, he's a professional artist with his own studio. Photo courtesy of Chris Hart. Chris started working as a cartoonist in high school, designing animated characters for a small company in California. Since then, he has written and illustrated more than...

  • Two friends and their families share traditions and holiday food. - 09/01/2011

    “What do you mean, you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving?” “What do you mean, you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving?” Brian asked his new friend, Jafar. “We’re not American, remember? We’re from Jordan,” Jafar said, tossing the beat-up football the way Brian had shown him. “And Thanksgiving is an American...

  • In 1621, English and Native people came together to celebrate the harvest. - 09/01/2011

    Most people think Thanksgiving dinner is incomplete without mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. It might surprise you to learn that not one of those foods was served during the 1621 celebration we think of as “The First Thanksgiving.” Actually, the event itself was not even a Thanksgiving...

  • The family dog wants to share the Hanukkah celebration--at least one delicious part of it. - 09/01/2011

    “Mom, these latkes are good!” Aaron took another big bite. His dog, Dixie, stared at the potato pancakes on Aaron’s plate. “Look, Dixie wants some, too.” Mom laughed. “No, Dixie, those latkes are for Aaron.” “I smell latkes!” Rachel said. She sat down next to her brother. She put three potato...

  • Every year, Alexis looks forward to New Year's Eve and the arrival of Ayios Vassilis, or Saint Basil - 09/01/2011

    Every year, Alexis looks forward to New Year’s Eve and the arrival of Ayios Vassilis, or Saint Basil. It’s Christmas morning, and Alexis isn’t surprised that there aren’t any presents under the tree. No, he hasn’t been naughty this year. Turning on the Christmas-tree lights, he flops onto the...

  • This African-American slave became the "prince of guides" at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. - 09/01/2011

    At Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, Stephen Bishop was known as the “prince of guides.” Photo by Gary C. Berdeaux. Stephen’s lantern cast shaky shadows on the walls of Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Hurrying after his guide, he stumbled along the rocky path. He couldn’t lose sight of Mr. Miller. He might not...

  • A look at the man behind St. Patrick's Day. - 09/01/2011

    All was quiet as Patrick and his charioteer, Odhran, drove through the fog-enshrouded Irish landscape. Suddenly, a spear sliced through the air and plunged into Odhran, killing him instantly. Patrick knew the spear had been meant for him, sent flying from the hands of a druid priest. Once again Patrick...

  • A bus driver makes the best of a fifteen minute wait. - 09/01/2011

    Mr. Hardy drove a bus in West Smithville. Each day he started at the big bus garage. He drove people down Main Street and up Green Street and over the Hill Street Bridge. He drove all the way to the end of the line. At the end of the line, he waited for fifteen minutes or so. Then it was time to drive...

  • Learn about the Mexican tradition of confetti-filled eggs. - 09/01/2011

    Decorated eggs are a traditional part of the Easter season. In Mexico, cascarones, confetti-filled eggshells meant to be broken above the head of a friend, are part of the holiday celebration. It is not known for certain where cascarones originated, but many people believe they were first brought...

  • Surprise Mom with any one of these thoughtful Mother's Day gifts. - 09/01/2011

    1. Handpick some dandelions. They can be pretty when tied in a bunch with a ribbon. 2. Write a book. It can be a story or simply a list, such as Why My Mom Is So Great. Add your own illustrations. 3. Organize the family junk drawer. If your family has a disorganized drawer that serves as a catchall,...

  • Tasi misses Samoa and its friendly language. How can he get used to living in a cold, uncaring city? - 09/01/2011

    Tasi watched Martin’s gym shoes fly through the cold city air, tied together like dancers holding hands. Martin was going to throw them again, up toward the telephone lines along the street, Tasi just knew it. He wished they would just walk home to their apartment building. “You could lose ’em,”...