This is the story of a young African-American boy who grew up in Indianapolis over a hundred years ago. Despite living at a time when African-Americans were often denied basic rights, Marshall Taylor became a world champion cyclist.
Marshall earned the nickname “Major” when he performed bicycle tricks as a very young boy dressed in a military style costume. When he was a teenager he stopped performing tricks and moved on to bicycle racing – and he was really, really good – world champion good! His story is inspiring because he persevered even when there were many people who didn’t want him to even be in a race, let alone win, just because he was African-American. Sometimes he rode fast just to get away from angry people chasing him! Author: Marlene Targ Brill
In Indianapolis, we have the Major Taylor Velodrome, a world-class bicycle racing track named for this cycling great. You can ride your bike and also use inline skates at the Velodrome. If you want to try riding there, it’s best if you are at least 10 years old. Call ahead and see if you can arrange a time to go try it out. And don’t forget your helmet! 3649 Cold Spring Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46222 Velodrome Phone: 317-327-8356
You probably already know that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while he watched a play at the Ford Theater and that the man who shot him was John Wilke’s Booth. Did you know, though, that Booth made a run for it? Did you know he had helpers? And some of them were women? This is the story of how the law tracked each of these people down. At the time of Lincoln’s death, there was no such thing as DNA fingerprinting or ballistics tests for firearms. The lawmen had to piece together what happened and who was involved by interviewing people, following hunches and figuring out who was telling the truth. I like history books that make history interesting by telling a story with real live characters in it. This book is like that.
If it’s possible, this might just be too much information about frogs…but that’s not possible, right? This book has the information and really stellar photos too. In it, you can learn about the Australian Spadefoot Toad that survives when it’s dry by digging down into the ground where there is moisture. It can stay buried for months…even years! When it rains, hundreds of these guys can pop out of the ground at once. And here’s a survival tip the next time you get caught unprepared in the outback – the indigenous people of Australia know how to find these frogs and gently squeeze them for a drink. Mmmmm. Then they let them go of course. I think gently is a really important word in those directions! Author: Nic Bishop
Amelia Earhart was a female airlane pilot in the days when women just didn’t do things like that. What’s so great about Amelia Earhart is that she thought everybody should think for themselves, whether that person was a boy or a girl. Her advice was that you should figure out what you want to do and then go out and do it. She didn’t think being a boy or a girl mattered at all.
“I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” Amelia was made famous all over the world when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. When she failed to return from her attempt to fly around the world, she became a legend. Author: Shelley Tanaka Illustrator: David Craig
Wangari is a little girl growing up in a forest at the base of a mountain in Kenya, Africa. When she grows up, she earns a scholarship to come to the US to study. Returning to Kenya after 6 years, she discovers that her forest is gone! Wangari decides to do something, she starts in her own backyard by planting 9 trees. She encourages other people to do the same, and then something remarkable happens – she inspires so many people that more than 30 million trees have been planted! Author & Illustrator: Jeanette Winter