At dawn on December 7, 1941, America was at peace, although it was clear a war was coming. Nazi Germany had overrun most of Europe and was literally at the gates of Moscow. Britain was slowly starving as Nazi submarines sank the ships carrying food and medicine the British needed. Although the United States sent huge amounts of war supplies to Britain and Russia and had greatly expanded its own Army and Navy, Americans were unwilling to go to war against enemies who had never attacked us.
After bouncing all night in cold, cramped steel boats, then waiting all day in broiling heat, the men of the Allied Expeditionary Force got the word: shortly after sundown, they would finally be getting off their floating, seasick prisons.
All they had to do then was run straight into machine gun fire, smash the Nazi army, and liberate Europe.
If it's December, it's time for that familiar topic for reports: Christmas Customs Around the World. Fortunately, the library has a number of resources to help you.
First, of course, you need to find out something about the country you've been assigned to research. The World Book Encyclopedia or The World Almanac are good places to start. Here's where you can find out whether Christmas is even celebrated in your assigned country! The World Almanac (part of Student Edition) and other encyclopedias are also available online at no charge to CRRL card holders.
If you were visiting the ancient Olympics, you wouldn't see:
Women: The women were forbidden to participate in or even observe the games. Any woman discovered there could be thrown off a cliff! The women (young, unmarried ones) competed in a separate series of foot races called the Heraea, named in honor of Hera, the queen of the gods.
Water Sports: Despite miles and miles of beautiful coastline, water sports such as swimming were never a part of the ancient Olympic Games.
Team Games: In ancient Greece, each athlete competed on his own.
No World Records: No measurements were recorded of the length of a jump or javelin throw. Likewise, no times were kept for the running events. Winners' names might be recorded, however.
Columbus Day is sometimes called Discoverers' Day. In the spirit of discovery, take some time to learn about the world as it was in the days of the European explorers. You can make a compass, learn about the stars, read about other explorers and discoverers, and find how even our way of eating has changed since the Europeans came to the Americas looking for gold, glory, and, yes, tasty cooking spices.
Pizza Without Tomato Sauce?
The explorers who came to the Americas found the food enjoyed by the native people to be very different from what they knew at home. They had never seen tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize (corn), pineapples, chili peppers, or even cocoa. The vegetable dishes from the Europe they knew relied on parsnips, cabbages, peas, carrots, turnips, and onions. After being at sea and living off of a diet of lentil soup, salt beef from a barrel, salted sardines, hardtack, and other delights, the fresh, new foods of the islands would have been an astonishing change.
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