Newsboys / Newsies Strike of 1899 For Kids

Tonight our story beings around 100 years ago in New York City. Every day new families were moving to New York. Some were traveling across the sea by boat to find new work. They came from Ireland, Italy and England looking for new places to work and to raise a family. Because of all of the work and people there New York was a busy, noisy place with many factories, stores and crowded streets.

Close your eyes and picture yourself standing on a streets of New York City at this time. You hear people walking and talking and horses trotting down the dirt roads. You smell fresh baked bread someone is selling on a corner, a whistle blows as work starts in a nearby factory. Men wear vests and caps, women wear dresses.

As you walk down the street you hear a boy calling from the corner. He is shouting loudly. You turn and walk toward him. You see that he is a small boy, with old, grimy clothes and holes in his shoes. He’s carrying a larger stack of newspapers and holding one high over his head.

“Read the headlines, Spanish-American War rages on!” He waves a paper at you. “Do you want to buy a paper?” he asks. You nod and hand him a coin and he hands you a newspaper and smiles. You look at the newspaper, the top of it reads “Spanish-American War” in big bold letters. You read about a war with pictures of ships sailing across the ocean and soldiers marching and firing their weapons.

The boy who sold you the newspaper was called a newsboy. In New York there were many young boys who didn’t have families — or sometimes they had families who were too poor and needed them to work. In American and other countries many young children worked to help pay for food and clothes and their homes. The newsboys would wake up early in the morning and go to the printer and buy newspapers for the day. Then they would carry their papers through the city and do whatever they could to sell these newspapers to make a little extra money. It wasn’t an easy life, but they did what they could to stay alive. Sometimes being a newsboy was dangerous as sometimes the boys fought over who could have the best corner in the city. The roads were also very dangerous with horses and carriages.

During the Spanish-American War it was easy for the newsboys to sell their papers, because everyone wanted to know what was going on during the war. There were many newspaper companies in the city, but the two largest ones were called The World, which owned by Joseph Pulitzer and The Journal, which was owned by William Randolph Hearst. During the war Pulitzer and Hearst increased the cost of their newspapers, because they knew everyone wanted the news so badly they okay paying more for it. Pulitzer and Hearst also competed between each other for the better journalists and cartoonists. Newspapers were very popular at the time because there was no other way to get the news like the TV or Internet today. Often the newspapers made up stories to get more people to buy them. This wasn’t very honest and was called “Yellow Journalism.”

When the Spanish-American War ended not as many people were buying the newspapers so it became very hard for the newsboys to sell them. No matter how hard they tried to sell their papers, everyone wasn’t as interested to buy them as they were before. On top of this, the newspaper owners had made the papers more expensive, so people weren’t as willing to buy. The newsboys knew if they wanted to stay alive they would need to come up with a plan to change the newspaper companies minds. But newspaper owners like Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst were very powerful men with lots of money, so to go against them would take a lot of hard work and determination.

One popular newsboy was named Louis Ballett, but everyone called him Kid Blink, because he had a patch over one of his eyes. Kid Blink and other newsboys decided to band together and not sell newspapers. If enough newsboys joined them they thought maybe Pulitzer and Hearst would change their mind. This is called a strike. Kid Blink and other newsboys told other boys about their plan and soon none of the boys all across New York were selling papers. This was hard for the boys because if they weren’t making any money, they didn’t have food to eat. But they were determined to make a difference. On one day of the strike they all gathered on Brooklyn Bridge. There were so many newsboys that even the traffic had to stop! People all over New York City saw what the newsboys were doing and wanted to help them. They decided they wouldn’t buy newspapers from Pulitzer and Hearst either. Pulitzer and Hearst tried to hire older men to sell their papers but no one would help, because they believed in the newsboys cause. Kid Blink and his friends kept giving speeches. In one speech Kid Blink said: ““Friens and feller workers. This is a time which tries de hearts of men. Dis is de time when we’se got to stick together like glue…. We know wot we wants and we’ll git it even if we is blind.”

After many days the newspaper companies were losing so much money they had no choice but to change what they were doing. They decided instead of making the boys buy all of the papers, at the end of the day they would buy back what they hadn’t sold. Finally the strike was over and the newsboys could go back to selling papers. Everyone was amazed that a group of small boys could change the minds of such powerful people such as Pulitzer and Hearst. Because of what these boys did many other workers over the years had strikes. Sometimes it is necessary to strike if people need better places to work, deserve better pay. It’s one way to keep a balance between workers and company owners. The Newsboys Strike of 1899 became an important part of workers rights history.

When I was younger, Disney made a movie about the newsboys strike called Newsies. If you haven’t seen it yet you will have to check it out, it will give you a little idea of what these boys did to make a difference. Later the movie became a Broadway Musical, which did very well and can also be seen on TV if you look for it.

Like the newsboys, it’s important to learn how to work when you are still small. You may not be working on the streets like they did, but you can help around your house and in the yard, pick up your toys, do the dishes, or do other helpful chores. Also, when you aren’t treated with respect like the newsboys you can stand up for yourselves. Everyone deserves respect and to be treated well, no matter their size. Be sure to speak up and stand up for what is right even when it takes lots of courage and isn’t easy to do.

Bob Feller For Kids

Tonight our story is about a boy named Bob Feller. Bob lived on a farm with his family where they grew corn. Bob loved baseball and always looked forward to playing catch with his father after a long day of work. He practiced throwing a baseball everyday, but he always did his chores first. Bob always put his family and his work first because his father taught him the importance of hard work and priorities. Having priorities, means doing important things first such as work and school before other things like playing with toys. Bob’s father saw how good he was becoming at baseball, so he decided to start growing wheat instead of corn because it would give them more time to practice together.

When Bob grew a little older he began playing with a team in his town. An important man with a baseball team saw how fast Bob threw the ball, so he hired him to play for the major league team, the Cleveland Indians. Bob was only 17 years old when he pitched his first major league baseball game. He quickly became well known as one of fastest pitchers in major league baseball. His fastball was recorded to be 104 to 107 miles per hour. That is very fast! Bob Feller also became the first pitcher to win 24 games before the age of 21.

Bob also had a great love for his country. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II, Bob joined the United States Navy. The Navy said that Bob didn’t need to go into battle and that he could stay where it was safe, but Bob said he wanted to be with the other soldiers where he could fight for his country. He was assigned to a battleship. When the war ended, Bob received many awards for his hard work.

After the war, Bob returned to playing with the Cleveland Indians and in 1948 they won World Series which is the biggest championship in baseball. Bob was one of the greatest pitchers in baseball. He said that his skill and speed in pitching came from hard work milking cows, picking corn, and baling hay on his family farm. Even with all Bob’s success in baseball, he always put important things before baseball, such as his family and his country.

Like Bob you can put important things first in your life, such as helping around the house, learning new things, and helping others. You can also practice at sports or other talents in order to become good like Bob. Practice is what you do to become better at something. Bob Feller showed us that even when someone becomes famous, they can still think about others by serving their country and doing good things.

Gail Halvorsen: The Berlin Candy Bomber For Kids

Tonight we’re going to talk about one of the most difficult times in the history of the world — World War 2. A world war is where many countries are fighting each other at the same time. Two of the countries fighting in World War 2 were America and Germany.

But tonight our story begins before the World War on a little farm in Utah. Living at this farm was a boy named Gail. Every day Gail helped his father grow sugar beets on the farm. Gail’s father taught him to work hard and to help his neighbor.

One day when Gail was working in the fields he heard a noise in the sky. He looked up and watched as planes flew over his head. From that moment he knew he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up.

When he was old enough, Gail joined the air force and learned to fly. Soon after this enemy airplanes attacked America’s base at Pearl Harbor and America joined in the war. Gail flew bomber planes during the war.

Once the war was over America decided to help its old enemy, Germany. They helped them by giving them food. Gail and other pilots new job was to fly food to the hungry people in Germany.

One day when Gail was walking around in Germany he saw a bunch of kids crowded at a fence. They talked to him and thanked him for bringing them food. Gail had a strong feeling he should give them the gum he had in his pocket. The kids broke up the gum into little pieces and shared it with each other. They appreciated the gum. Appreciation is when you are thankful for something.

The next time Gail flew his plane over the crowd of kids he had a crazy idea about how to give the kids his chocolate bars. He made little bags of candy and little parachutes for the bags. When he flew over the kids he threw the bags out the window and they floated down to the ground. The kids picked up the candy and jumped for joy. When Gail would fly over he would wiggle his plane wings so the kids would know it was him. They started calling him “Uncle Wiggly Wings.”

Later other pilots learned about Gail throwing candy out of his plane, so they started the same thing with their chocolate bars. Newspapers all over the world started writing stories about what Gail and the other pilots were doing for the kids in Germany. Soon candy companies started sending boxes and boxes of all types of candy to give to the kids in Germany. In school in America kids helped tie the candy into parachutes for Gail and the other pilots.

Even though the kids were happy to get the candy, more than anything Gail’s kindness gave them hope that life would be okay.

After helping in Germany Gail spent the rest of his life trying to help people in other ways. He is very old now but stills does all he can to be kind and help others.

Many years later Gail met a man who said when he was a little boy in Germany he was walking to school one day. It was rainy, cloudy and he was sad — when all of a sudden he saw a white parachute fall through the clouds and landed right at his feet. He was so excited and it made him happy! He said that he enjoyed eating the chocolate, but more importantly he knew that someone else was thinking about him and cared enough to send him chocolate. It gave him hope.

Like Gail, you can forgive others who might have been your enemy. Forgiveness is when we are kind to someone even if they did something wrong to you. You can also be creative and think of fun ways to help others. You can help your family by cleaning your room or making your bed or helping your little brother or sister get dressed. You could make someone at school a nice card. You can be nice to someone at school who others aren’t nice to. There is so much you can do to help others like Gail if you just think about it.

Neil Armstrong: First to the Moon For Kids

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Today we are going to learn about the first person on the moon. He was a famous astronaut named Neil Armstrong. Neil was born in Ohio and was the oldest brother in his family. When he was little his father took him to a show where airplanes flew and raced across the sky. From the moment he saw airplanes he loved them. He wanted to fly airplanes himself. He wanted to become a pilot. Not long after he saw his first airplanes, Neil got to fly in an airplane. After this he knew for sure he wanted to be a pilot. When Neil was 14 he took his first flying lessons. By the time he was 16 he had a pilot’s license — which meant he could fly a plane all by himself.

Neil loved to fly planes, but he also loved to learn about them. He built his own small model planes and also did experiments on them to see which designs flew the best. He designed a wind tunnel in his house. A wind tunnel is a tunnel which forces wind through it so he could test his model airplanes.

Neil loved airplanes but he also enjoyed learning about space. Often he would look up in the sky and wonder what was out among the stars and if people would ever go there. His neighbor had a big telescope that Neil often used to look at the planets and stars.

In school Neil listened to his teachers and did his homework, because he knew he would need to learn all he could in order to become a great pilot. When he got older Neil went to college and worked hard to learn about planes and engineering. Engineering is the science of building things, which for Neil was building airplanes.

While Neil was in college, a war started and he was called to be a fighter pilot. His job was to fly airplanes off huge ships called aircraft carriers. He flew 78 missions during the war. One time his airplane was shot and he had to eject out of the seat and parachute down to the ground. Fortunately he was rescued and was safe.

After the war and after finishing college Neil became a test pilot. A test pilot tries out new planes to make sure they are safe for others to fly and to help make them better. Sometimes it was a dangerous job, but Neil had courage and tested over 20 new planes. He even set a record for flying one of the fastest planes in the world.

Neil loved airplanes and space so he decided to become an astronaut, a pilot who flies to space! He had to work hard to become an astronaut, because only a few pilots get to become astronauts. While Neil was an astronaut America was planning its first space flight to the moon. Neil was picked to fly the space ship that flew to the moon. While the ship was landing something bad happened and Neil had to fly it down to the ground himself. It was scary but Neil kept his cool and landed the spaceship safely. After they landed, Neil was the first person to step onto the moon. People all over the world watches as Neil stepped onto the moon and put an American flag there. Neil’s footprint is still on the moon today, because there is no wind on the moon to blow it away.

Like Neil, you can be curious about the world around you. Neil was curious about airplanes and space and learned all he could about both of them so he could become an astronaut. He also listened closely in school and did his homework so he could become an airplane builder. He was brave during the war when he was a fighter pilot. He was also brave when testing new airplanes. Before going to the moon he had to practice day after day in order to pilot the first space craft. Like Neil, you can do great things when you are curious, brave, learn new things and practice, practice, practice!

 

Nellie Blye: Around the World in 72 Days For Kids

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Close your eyes and imagine leaving your home and traveling all the way around the world. You would cross oceans, meet new people, try new foods, see new places. It would be an exciting journey, even dangerous at times, but it would change the way you see everything… Today we are going to learn about a woman who did just that … and finished the journey faster than anyone else in the world. This is a story of daring and adventure. This is the story of the fearless Nellie Blye.

When Nellie Blye was little she lived in a time when kids didn’t go to school most of the day. Instead they worked long days. Nellie had a big family with fifteen brothers and sisters who all worked in their father’s mill. A mill is a place where wheat is ground in flour to make bread. Here she learned to work hard and have determination. Determination is trying and trying and trying, and not giving up until you finish something.

Nellie loved to wear the color pink. [kids laughing and playing] One day her friend said: “You wear pink so much, we’re going to call you ‘pinky’!” From then on she had the nickname “pinky.”

Nellie also loved to write. She practiced writing so often she became very good at it. When she got a little older, she became a journalist. [newspaper press] A journalist is someone who writes for the newspaper. Nellie was also very curious and loved learning about new things … and she wrote the new things she learned in the newspaper. Her stories soon made her very famous.

One day Nellie was reading a book called “Around the World in 80 Days” about a man who travelled around the world. Even though the book wasn’t a true story, Nellie wanted to do it herself … and believed she could. Other people told her it would be too dangerous, or that because she was a girl she couldn’t do it. They told her she needed someone strong to protect her. But Nellie was independent and brave and believed she could do it on her own.

Nellie packed her clothes and other things into a bag [luggage sound] and [ship sounds] went to the dock where the ship was waiting. Everyone cheered and waved good bye as the ship set sail.

At sea Nellie became sea sick. Sea sick is when someone not used to the ocean gets very sick from the boat rocking in the water. But even though it was hard she was sick she kept going, she was determined to finish the journey.

Next the ship landed in England, from here she went to [train sound] France and finally to Asia. Sometimes she travelled by boat, someones by train. She tasted new foods, [jungle sounds, monkey] went alligator hunting, bought a monkey, and rode ponies across Hong Kong. Newspapers all over the world were keeping track of Nellie Blye. All of the world was watching to see how fast she would finish her trip.

When she returned to America, while traveling across the country people [crowds, cheering] waved to her along the way, gave her flowers and fruit, and shook her hand. Girls and boys saw what Nellie was doing and realized they could do difficult things too.

By the time she got home, she had travelled 25,000 miles in 72 days. It was a very long trip and she was tired and glad to be home. Because Nellie was brave and believed in herself, other women saw that they could do adventurous things too. She was an inspiration to all.

Like Nellie, you can learn to work and be determined — to keep trying and trying and not give up even when something is hard. You can be curious. You can imagine new things and do them even when others doubt in you or no one else has done them before. It may take learning new things and lots of practice and courage but you can do it if you keep trying.