Virginia Johnson

Great Lives Series: Julia Child

She was one of the world's most famous chefs, but in her long life she had also been a high school basketball player and top secret researcher, as well as making appearances on TV shows ranging from her own myriad cooking series to The Cosby Show to Sesame Street to a beloved parody on Saturday Night Live. She was as much a cultural institution as a culinary artist.

Great Lives Series: Edgar Allan Poe

"We are not impotent- we pallid stones.
Not all our power is gone- not all our fame-
Not all the magic of our high renown-
Not all the wonder that encircles us-
Not all the mysteries that in us lie-
Not all the memories that hang upon
And cling around about us as a garment,
Clothing us in a robe of more than glory."
---From "The Coliseum" by Edgar Allan Poe

Snow Day Fun

What's the best thing about a snow day? Is it the thought of building the biggest, best snowman ever, taking a run down a sledding hill, or just spending a day away from school? Some people just enjoy how quiet nature seems to be under a blanket of winter white. Others can't wait to get out and get moving, even if it means shoveling the walk first!

Great Backyard Bird Count Starts Today

The GBBC is an annual, four-day event that takes a snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. It's an easy, fun, and free way to help the birds. Anyone can do this for as long or as little a time as he pleases, and their Web site has good information on how to get started, .

Great Lives Series: Margaret Thatcher

For more than a decade, she was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and "Iron Maggie" Thatcher promoted a conservative agenda that focused on deregulation and anti-union policies.

Great Lives Series: Marian Anderson

In 1939, talented singer Marian Anderson was denied the spotlight at the D.A.R.'s Constitution Hall on account of her race. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt quickly saw to it that she had another venue--the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. On Easter Sunday, a crowd of 75,000 listened to her in person, and her music was carried on the radio and heard by many more. After the concert, Marian Anderson went on to break more racial barriers in the entertainment industry and became a voice of the Civil Rights Movement.

Great Lives Series: Booker T. Washington

Born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia, Booker T. (Taliaferro) Washington went on to become a nationally-known leader and educator. He shared his educational philosophy with U.S. presidents and served as the first president of Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University.

The Timeless Stories of Jane Yolen

She's been compared to Hans Christian Andersen and that clever fable maker Aesop. For children (and adults!) in today's world, her carefully crafted stories sing with a timeless rhythm and an honest truth. Her family's Russian-Jewish roots have given her the jumping-off place for many a tale (And Twelve Chinese Acrobats, Firebird, and Baba Yaga), but some stories seem to drawn from the heart of the world itself.

Jane Yolen, born in New York City on February 11, 1939, showed a talent for writing early on when she wrote and composed the words and music to her grade school pageant, starring as the lead carrot. She seems to have never slowed down during her years in high school: news editor of the school paper, Spanish club vice president, singing with the a capella choir, and captain of the varsity basketball team. Summers spent at a Vermont camp run by Quakers influenced her deeply. Several of her later books (The Gift of Sarah Barker and Friend: The Story of George Fox and the Quakers) relate to this period of spiritual growth.