Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

The Mad Potter George E. Ohr Eccentric Genius

The Mad Potter George E. Ohr Eccentric Genius

George E. Ohr was a potter from Biloxi Mississippi. He’s been dead for a long time – he was a little boy during the U.S.Civil War. Even so, when you read about him, it seems like you could just walk into his studio and start making stuff out of clay with him. He doesn’t seem old-fashioned or distant. He seems like a friend. He called his pots his “mud babies”. As you can see by his picture on the cover of this book – George was one-of-a-kind. There is another picture of him in this book with his mustache sticking straight out on both sides and his eyes crossed. This is a man who listened to his own voice and nobody else’s. Some of the words people used to describe him were:

  • scallywag
  • rascal
  • braggart
  • clown

But he was more than that. He was also a genius, and an artist. The picture of the pots he made are amazing. They are one-of-a-kind also, just like George.

This book is the story of George’s life from the time he was a boy helping in his father’s blacksmith shop or his mother’s grocery store, to the time he spent digging up natural clay along the banks of the Mississippi to make into his “mud babies”. If you have ever felt like the oddball, the one whose ideas don’t seem quite in step with everyone else, you’ll like George’s story. Reading about how he believed in himself makes you feel confident enough to do the same. If George was “mad” he was the good kind!



Dave the Potter The Pot That Juan Built Super Simple Clay Projects Decorated Pottery
Easy Clay Crafts in 5 Steps The Kids N Clay Ceramics Book A Single Shard
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Indiana Websites


Voting Machine

Thousands of Marion County, Indiana residents voted at this machine between the 1930s and the 1980 election.

Voting Machine 2

During this time, many African Americans struggled to gain the civil rights Caucasian men and women enjoyed. Even though the 15th Amendment granted all American citizens the right to vote regardless of “race, color or previous condition of servitude,” African Americans still struggled for the right to vote particularly in the southern United States. In Indiana, African Americans continued to work for equal rights welcoming two significant federal laws, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voter Rights Act of 1965, helped to ensure African Americans the right to vote. Artifacts at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis 

See More Elections Artifacts from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ Collection

Books about Elections

Election Day Getting Elected Presidential Races Voting
The 15th Amendment Womens Right to Vote

Stories about Elections

Big Nate Mr. Popularity Caste Your Ballot The Ellie McDoodle Diaries Ellie for President I Am a Genius of Unspeakable
The Kid Who Ran for President The Misfits




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Elizabeth Queen of the Seas

Elizabeth Queen of the Seas

Animals are amazing navigators. Caribou, salmon, sea turtles, whales, monarch butterflies and many other species travel across continents and oceans to find food or have their babies. This is called migration. These animals have some kind of in-born knowledge about where to go as well as WHEN to go. This natural instinct helps them survive.

But there are some individual animals who have done the same thing…but AGAINST their natural instincts. Sometimes an animal returns to its home after being lost for YEARS. Sometimes an animal becomes uncommonly attached to a human. Sometimes two very different species of animals become close friends.

One of these unigue animals is Elizabeth, an elephant seal from Christchurch, New Zealand who lived in the Avon River in a city park. Humans tried to return her to her natural habitat in an elephant seal colony, but each time they tried…she showed up in Christchurch again! Sometimes it even took her several months to swim all the way back to her home in Christchurch. Try this story of one determined animal who insisted on living HER way. Finally, they just let her stay.

Regional fisheries officer with the ministry, RV Reid, told The Press that Elizabeth was free to roam the streets. “Under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, we can’t disturb her at all.” She could go into Cathedral Square and bask in the sunshine for a week and we couldn’t do anything about it.” From Memories of Avon River’s Sea Elephant

So you see, this isn’t just a made up story, Elizabeth the elephant seal…was real. If you look here: Memories of Avon River’s Sea Elephant you can even see pictures of her. The author of this book is Lynne Cox, an American long-distance open-water swimmer. An open-water swimmer swims great distances not in a pool – mostly, Lynne swims in the ocean. Lynne has crossed the English Channel, the cook Strait in New Zealand, the Straits of Magellan in Chile, the Bering Strait in Alaska and many more…she even swam in Antarctica! Lynne heard Elizabeth’s story while she was in New Zealand. Lynne knew a good story when she heard it – animals sometimes have amazing relationships with humans, and with other animals. Take a look at the books below to learn about some other real animals and their amazing friendships.




Elephant Seal Elephant Seals City Critters Wild Animal Neighbors

Unique Animal Relationships:

Best Friends Forever The Dog and the Piglet Hachiko How to Clean a Hippopotamus
Lenore Finds a Friend The Leopard and the Cow Lola Goes to Work The Monkey and the Dove
Owen and Mzee Owen and Mzee2 Paisano the Roadrunner Rags Hero Dog of WWI
The Right Dog for the Job A Small Dog's Big Life Stubby the War Dog Suryia and Roscoe
Tarra and Bella Tuesday Tucks Me In The World's Greatest Elephant
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Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle

Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle

Nature is an amazing recycler. Imagine the heaps of trash that would be around if nothing ever rotted. One of nature’s more comical recyclers is the dung beetle. The dung beetle’s job is to turn dung into…its own food! Talk about the world’s worst job! Lucky for us, though, they don’t mind, they’re good at it, and they don’t procrastinate! Dung beetles are quick to act when their antennae detect dung…”The first may arrive fifteen seconds after the dropping plops to the ground.” Fifteen. Seconds. I would love it if someone cleaned up after my dog that fast! If you have a dog or cat too, you know how often scooping is required – now times that by every animal on the planet…be thankful for the beautiful dung beetle! This book will show you everything you need to know about how dung beetles detect, roll, tunnel and battle to keep the earth from turning into one giant litter box.



20 Fun Facts About Beetles Dung Beetles Slugs Leeches and More Natures Minibeasts Dung Beetles Poop Eaters Dung Beetles in the Food Chain
A Green Kids Guide to Composting Compost Basics Composting Nature's Recyclers Nature Recycles How About You


TCM Dung Beetles

  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Artifact Collection: Dung Beetles The male dung beetle flies about looking for large herds of mammals to find fresh dung. Once located, he begins rolling the dung into a ball. The female in turn looks for the male with the largest pile of dung, and lands on the dung to mate, eat, and lay her eggs. She then buries the ball and the young then hatch from the ball.

TCM Scarab Bead

  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Artifact Collection: Ancient Scarab Bead Amulets were objects thought to have magical powers worn by Ancient Egyptians for luck or protection. Scarabs, or dung beetles, were the most common amulet design of Ancient Egypt. The species of beetle represented in ancient Egyptian amulets and works of art was commonly the large sacred scarab (Scarabaeus sacer). Scarab amulets were buried with the dead to ensure the deceased’s safe transport to the Afterworld. Among the living, scarabs were worn as protective amulets and used as seals. Amulets were worn by both wealthy and poor in the form of necklaces, bracelets and rings.


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Florence Nightingale by Demi

Florence Nightingale by Demi

Florence Nightingale

Born in 1820, Florence Nightingale was an English girl with ideas about how to take care of sick people. But nobody wanted to hear them at first…even her parents! Why?

  1. Because she was a girl.
  2. Because she was a lady.

Really. In the 1800s that’s how it was. But Florence was persistent and she became a game changer. Because of her efforts, many, many lives were saved.

Florence is most famous for her work during the Crimean War 1853-1856, which took place in Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea. The Black Sea is surrounded by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Romania & Bulgaria.The war was fought between Russia and an alliance of countries that included France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia.


Florence was British and followed the war in the newspaper like many other people in her country.The Crimean war was the first time journalists and photographers reported back “home” what battles were like and what life was like for a soldier. People back home didn’t much like what they saw. Nobody liked getting a look at how the wounded soldiers were treated.

Lots of soldiers died from cholera – an infectious disease contracted from infected water supplies. According to The British Science Museum: War & Medicine, “during the war, 16,000 British soldiers died of sickness, and only 2600 were killed in battle.” That’s how bad it was! Florence had ideas about how clean and organized hospitals should be, something we take for granted now, but wasn’t known back then. She brought a team of nurses to Crimea and made a difference. This book is Florence’s story. Find out how she convinced her parents, hospitals and the British Army to listen. She was a girl. She was a lady. She was a nurse. Yes, a person can be all three!

Story about the Crimean War & Florence Nightingale:

Enola Holmes is still living undercover determined NOT to let her older brothers Mycroft and Sherlock find her and enroll her in some kind of awful boarding school where she will spend her days tied up in an excrutiatingly uncomfortable corset learning positively boring things like needlework. Instead, Enola lives in London in a shabby but comfortable boarding house passing herself off as Miss Meshle, the assistant to Dr. Leslie Ragostin, Scientific Perditorian – a finder of lost things. Actually, Enola is ALSO Dr. Leslie, so it is Enola who finds all the lost things…a mystery solver just like her brother Sherlock.This time, the mystery is too close for comfort when Enola’s boarding house is ransacked and her landlady, old Mrs. Tupper, is kidnapped. Mrs. Tupper is a really nice old lady but doesn’t have a penny to her name. What in the world would anybody want old, deaf Mrs. Tupper for? The mystery itself, involves smuggling during the Crimean War, and an appearance by none other than Florence Nightingale. Author: Nancy Springer


Nursing Books:

Florence Nightingale and the New Age of Nursing Florence Nightgale2 Girls Who Rocked the World Nurses
Nurses Help Nurses Help Us Pure Grit You Wouldn't Want to be a Nurse


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