Thursday, May 6, 2010

FIRST LADY WEEK - Ladybird Johnson

TITLE: Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America

AUTHOR: Kathi Appelt

WHAT WAS HER BACKGROUND? Claudia Alta Taylor whom we know as Lady Bird Johnson, was born in Karnack, in eastern Texas in 1912. Her nanny proclaimed one day, “She’s as purty as a ladybird,” and the name stuck. A ladybird is another name for a ladybug. She had an enchanted, well-to-do though isolated childhood. Her mother died when she was only five. An aunt came to help raise her, and it is she who inspired Lady Bird to appreciate nature's beauty. Lady Bird enrolled in the University of Texas in 1930, at a time when it was unusual for women to attend college, and earned a degree in journalism.

HOW DID SHE AND THE FUTURE PRESIDENT MEET? While she was attending the university in Austin she met Lyndon Baines Johnson who was working as a congressional aid. He proposed on their first date.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: She had two daughters, Lynda and Luci. She introduced them to gardening but worried about other children playing in concrete parks and having no connection to growing plants. When her husband became president she poured her energy into the Highway Beautification Act. Highway landscapes changed because of that law. Road signs and depreis were better managed and native wildfloweres were planted. Later, when she was seventy, she helped establish the National Wildflower Research Center.

Illustrations filled with rich and vivid colors compliment the copy. This would make a great gift for the child with an interest in flowers.
Ages 9-12

Activity: Here’s a great mother’s day gift idea. Print out this seed packet template, color it, glue up the sides and fill it with seeds. Your mother will love it!

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