Wosets, Wockets and Waskets

| By Debra Kirby |

The wild, wacky and wonderful world of Dr. Seuss has been the salvation of many an exhausted parent who, ready to call it a night, succumbs to their child’s plaintive cry for just one more bedtime story. The easy rhyming flow in Dr. Seuss stories always made it easy for me to read just a little longer.  There’s a Wocket in my Pocket was a favorite of both my daughters, who could recite word for word, page by page well before they were able to read – providing an opportunity for a little fun with unsuspecting relatives and friends who were amazed at how advanced my 3-year-old girls were.

I’ve been fortunate enough to continue to enjoy Dr. Seuss through my grandchildren and various mentoring programs through the years. The student I’m currently mentoring is a second grader who says Dr. Seuss is her favorite author, and Green Eggs and Ham her favorite book, though we recently both found Fox in Sox a little trying.

In honor of the National Education Association’s Read Across America, which kicks off on March 2, and is also Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I decided to learn a little more about the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, whose real name was Theodor Geisel. There are many interesting and some surprising facts to be found in Gale databases. Here are a few:

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Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

| By Traci Cothran | Like many other people, I love to learn new things – with history being my favorite subject.  At Gale, we have a volunteer program at a local elementary school where we are “reading buddies” with kids once a week.  It’s nice to laugh with these youngsters, and it’s fun to … Read more

Researching Dr. Bernard Lafayette Through Gale Resources

| By Traci Cothran | On Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day this past week, I was privileged to hear Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr. speak at a church in downtown Detroit about the civil rights era and his last days working with MLK.  Lafayette is a long-term member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee … Read more

Gale’s Twenty-Eight Days of Hidden Figures

| By Tanisha Howard-Hall | Every year about this time, we learn about influential African Americans that have made their mark on history. Since elementary school, I have learned about prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and Marcus Garvey numerous of times. Although they’ve have made huge impacts … Read more

Pride Month Resources for High School Students

| By Traci Cothran | Last Sunday marked the very first Pride Parade in my small town here in Michigan—it’s a lovely place but one whose history is characterized more by exclusivity than acceptance. It’s wonderful to witness the changes that have occurred, and I was delighted to spy several local school teachers marching alongside … Read more

San Luis Obispo High School Improves College Readiness and More

San Luis Obispo High School (SLOHS) is one of the top-ranking academic high schools in California. According to the school’s website, beyond their core academic program, they provide elective classes to better prepare students for what’s next. Recently, they acquired Gale’s Biography In Context,  a user-friendly portal experience containing context on the world’s most influential people. Here’s … Read more

Headlines In Context: Comparing the Watergate Scandal to Russia’s Election Meddling Investigation

| By Debra Kirby |

Keeping up with current events can be a full-time job—never mind understanding the history behind what’s in the headlines. Take the ongoing coverage of the investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections for example. This story seems to change daily—sometimes hourly. Even if you’re checking in multiple times per day and managing to keep up with the basics, references to historical events and underlying facts relayed by experts and political pundits can leave you wanting to learn more.

For instance, a number of commentators, when discussing the recent firing of FBI director James Comey by President Trump, have referenced similarities to Nixon’s firing of Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Is that a valid reference?

To get the background details needed to better understand what’s behind these and other references, start your research with U.S. History In Context, where you will discover in-depth coverage of such topics as:

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Giving Thanks for National Teachers’ Day

| By Debra Kirby |

National Teachers’ Day, which is observed in the United States on the first Tuesday of the first full week in May, is a great time to reflect on all the ways teachers have enriched our lives. Engaged teachers go beyond teaching their students the subject matter related to their classes—they also teach such skills as critical thinking, communication, organization, teamwork, and—in some cases—act as role models in ways that benefit their students into adulthood.

I was very fortunate to have just such a teacher: Mrs. Erma Colding, the science teacher at Harms Elementary in Detroit. Her class was the favorite of many students, and not just because it was filled with plants and animals. She was kind, engaging, encouraging, passionate about learning, and made science fun! Most of this I recognized at the time, but it was many years before I realized she had also been a role model for grace, dignity, and courage. I kept in touch with Mrs. Colding throughout my life, but only learned after her death that she was also a civil rights activist and a recipient of the prestigious NAACP Freedom and Justice Award.

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Daughters Who Make the First Ladies Proud

| By Debra Kirby |

Mother’s Day is less than a month away.  Talking with a colleague and fellow mother recently, we both made the observation that the occasion has become less about honoring our own mothers (who are no longer with us), but about our daughters. Neither of us can recall when that focus changed for us, but we both agreed that we are happy to be mothers of beautiful, accomplished, caring daughters and that we survived the often challenging and sometimes turbulent teen years.

This conversation was fresh in my mind when I volunteered to review and update the overview article for Chelsea Clinton in Gale’s Biography In Context, which naturally led to thoughts of how much more challenging it would be to raise a daughter amidst the often unrelenting coverage of the presidential family. Former First Ladies Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama all successfully raised daughters under these conditions. Here are just a few examples that would make any mother proud:

  • In 2009, outgoing twin first daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush wrote a charming letter to the incoming Obama girls, Sasha and Malia, with heartfelt advice about living in the White House fishbowl.  Eight years later, they wrote a second letter about adjusting to a post-White House life. [Read the article]
  • Chelsea Clinton’s touching speech introducing her mother as the Democratic Presidential candidate at the DNC last summer is high on my list of favorite first daughter examples, but there are many more such moments and accomplishments from which to choose, including her advocacy work on behalf of the Clinton Foundation and other organizations and causes, and of course becoming a parent herself! [View all of the Chelsea Clinton resources available through Biography In Context]

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Running Like a Girl

| By Debra Kirby |

Anyone remember when phrases like “You run like a girl!” were considered insults? Not anymore! I love when power is claimed by turning what is meant to be a negative into a positive. Two recent events are inspiring me right now:

  • My 9-year-old granddaughter has joined her school’s Girls on the Run program, which will culminate in a 5K Run (“Not a race, Nana” says Grace) in June.
  • Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon 50 years ago, ran it again this year – at the age of 70!

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