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    Sept. 14th: Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem ("Oh, say can you see") on this day in 1814. (During The War of 1812. Go figure.) Dr. Seuss changed the focus from a song that's hard to sing to poems that are hard to say with his book of tongue-twisters, "Oh Say Can You Say?" Can YOU say, "Then we have to call in Pinner Blinn / who comes with his handy shin-pin bin / and with a thin Blinn shinbone pin / Blinn pins Dinn's shinbones right back in."

    Nov. 25th: Back in the day, Dr. Seuss's "I Can Read It All by Myself" books featured a number of authors besides Seuss, probably none more popular than Seuss's old Army buddy, P.D. Eastman. Eastman gave us favorites like "Go, Dog, Go!" and this book, "Are You My Mother?"

    August 19th: Poet-humorist Ogden Nash was born on this day in 1902. His splendidly clever poems have tickled young readers for ages, but it took illustrator Lynn Munsinger to introduce him (via "The Tale of Custard the Dragon") to PRE-readers.

    Nov. 21st: Marlo Thomas was born on this day in 1937. In 1972, "That Girl," daughter of comedian Danny Thomas, brought us Free to Be You and Me, a book (and then TV special) largely born of the 60's and bringing much needed messages of self-acceptance, gender equality and breaking down stereotypes. (Oh, and I once sat next to her on a plane!)

    Feb. 23rd: W.E.B. DuBois, African-American intellectual, author and activist, was born on this day in 1868. Few people have had more influence on the civil rights movement. "The Upward Path," perhaps the first book intended for black children in the U.S. (published in 1920), contains two DuBois essays, along with many other stories and poems by African-American authors. You can read this historic book in its entirety by clicking.

    Jan. 12th: Author Jack London was born on this day in 1876. Think Call of the Wild and White Fang (pictured here).

    March 31st: Andrew Lang was born on this day in 1844. His "Fairy Books" (including The Blue Fairy Book, pictured here) translated tons of fairy tales from other lands into English for the first time. (Disney owes this guy big time!) No Lang, no Puss in Boots!

    March 11th: Author-illustrator Ezra Jack Keats was born on this day in 1916. His The Snowy Day became an instant classic in 1963, winning the Caldecott Medal. Wanda Gág, who wrote and illustrated Millions of Cats, was also born on this day.

    Nov. 29th: It's a big day for author birthdays, with Louisa May Alcott (1832, Little Women) C.S. Lewis (1898, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and of course Madeline L'Engle (1918) with the wondrous A Wrinkle in Time. You might also want to check out 100 Cupboards (www.best-children...), a newer book which reminds our reviewer of two of these authors!

    Dec. 1st: On this day in 1955, the great Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus. Pictured here, Bryan Collier won a Caldecott honor for his illustration work on Nikki Giovanni's, "Rosa."

    Oct. 28th: Apparently it's National Chocolate Day (though some of us think EVERY day is National Chocolate Day). One low-cal way to celebrate might be to spend some time with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!