August/September Character Feature

This issue's featured girl: Samantha

From the American Girls Club Handbook:

Project One: Speak Your Mind

In Samantha Learns a Lesson, Samantha learns to speak her mind courageously. Choose a woman from Samantha's time and find out about her. Then imagine you are that woman and give a courageous speech that she might have given.

1) Choose a woman from the list below. Look up her name in an encyclopedia or biographical dictionary.
2) What did your chosen woman care deeply about? If necessary, ask a librarian to help you find more information. Choose a topic and make notes on index cards. Present your speech to a family member or friend.
3) When giving your speech, tell your name and state your belief. Back up your opinions with three facts. Then end your speech by stating your belief again.

Women to choose from:
Jane Addams came from a wealthy family like Samantha's, but she chose not to live a life of ease. She set up Hull House, a settlement house that provided services to the poor and homeless.
Ida B. Wells believed that black children deserved the same quality of education as white children. She wrote and spoke out for fair treatment and equality for African Americans.
Susan B. Anthony's courage to speak out and her belief that "failure is impossible" helped women win the right to vote.

Other women who spoke out:
Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross
Mary McLeod Bethune, educator
Ida Tarbell, journalist
Mother Jones, labor leader

Born To Fly
In 1905, the year that Samantha turned 10, Amelia Earhart was 7 years old. At that time, no girl ever imagined she might grow up to be a pilot. The airplane itself was a brand-new invention! But Amelia already knew that she wanted to do new things--"first-time things," she called them. "I think it is just about the most important thing any girl can do," she said, "to try herself out, do something!" In 1928, Amelia became famous as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean--this time as a passenger. Four years later, she made the flight again by herself and became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1937 while trying to fly around the world. "Women must try to do things as men have tried," she wrote just before her last flight. "When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others."

Project Two: Paint an Impression

Turn-of-the-century artists called Impressionists painted pictures in a bold new way. Read about Impressionism in the "Did You Know?" segment below. Then create your own Impressionist painting!

1) Find library books with Impressionist paintings in them. Look closely at the paintings and notice how objects like flowers are made with dabs and dashes of paint.
2) Collect your materials. Use white sketch paper and tempera paint, watercolors, or pastels such as Cray-pas ®.
3) Impressionists often painted outdoors. Set up an easel outdoors, or sit on a stool with a pad of paper on your lap.
4) Lightly sketch the outlines of your pictures.
5) Now add dabs and dashes of color to your picture to create an overall scene.

Did you know?
In Samantha's time, a new group of artists called Impressionists had begun to change the way people looked at painting and the world. Impressionists wanted to get away from formal, carefully posed portraits. Instead, they painted people relaxing in informal settings. Many Impressionists enjoyed painting outdoors. They liked to show how sunlight sparkled on water and filtered through tree leaves. They used broad strokes and dabs of pure, bright paint to show their impression of how things looked in natural light. This new style of painting shocked people at first. They were used to dark colors and precise, smooth brushtrokes. They thought the Impressionists' paintings looked unfinished. Many Impressionist painters had a hard time selling their paintings. Some even had to borrow money for paint or food! Today, these paintings are worth millions, and Impressionism is one of the best-loved art styles in the world.

Want to know more?

Fiction books set in Samantha's time:

"The Bells of Christmas" by Natalie Babbitt
"I Go with My Family to Grandma's" by Riki Levinson

A nonfiction book about Samantha's time:
"Don't You Dare Shoot That Bear!" by Robert Quackenbush

Movies set in Samantha's time:
Peter Pan
The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Music from Samantha's Time:
"Madam Butterfly" by Giacomo Puccini
"Yankee Doodle Boy" by George M. Cohan

Special places to visit:
Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
20900 Oakwood Blvd.
Dearborn, MI 48124
Re-creation of an American village and museum of inventions

Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Carver Museum
1212 Old Montgomery Rd.
Tuskegee Institute, AL 36088
Includes African-American educator Booker T. Washington's restored home