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Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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National Library Day/Library of Congress Day are Coming: Amazing Book Facts!

National Library Day is April 15 and Library of Congress Day is April 24th

Amazing Book Facts:
Did You Know?

1. Did you know that the Chinese invented paper around 105 AD? Before this, people wrote on parchment (animal skin) to create books.

2. Each second, 57 books are sold. Someone figured that in one day, you’d need 78 miles of book shelving to store that amount of books.

3. Each year, the main library at Indiana University sinks about one inch from the weight of all the books!

4. Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, worked as a boy, at Cadbury, as a chocolate taste tester! Shows you never know how your childhood may shape what you do as an adult!

5. In 2013, while cleaning out a box, a manuscript by Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr.  Seuss, was found. Called “What Pet Should I Get?”, the “new” Dr. Seuss book was published in 2015.

6. Another fun fact about Dr. Seuss, he was challenged to write a book using only 50 words. The result, “Green Eggs and Ham”. Here are the 50 words he used: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

7. Ever read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak? He originally wanted the book to be called Where the Wild Horses Are, but couldn’t draw horses and told his editor, he could draw … things.

8. The author of Frankenstein was Mary Shelley. The monster was NOT Frankenstein-he had no name. Frankenstein was the scientist who created the monster.

9.  The author of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, is credited with introducing 21 made-up words to the Oxford English Dictionary.

10. Someone calculated that Charles Dickens used 4.6 million different words in his writings. Also, a new treat, the lollypop was featured in a couple of Dicken’s books.

11. Books helped to build a road! 2.5 million books were shredded and added to the road asphalt for part of the M6 road in England.

12. The world’s first library was built by Ashurbanipal (668-627 BC) in ancient Assyria.

13. In 2012, 998 people, in Sydney, Australia, set a record for the most people balancing books on their head!

14. Sadly, worldwide, 1 in 5 adults cannot read or write (as of 2014).

15. Did you know that people in the country of India  take the title for the most reading done each week? On average 10.7 hours a week is spent reading.  

16. The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered the oldest written story. It comes from the people of Mesopotamia, telling the adventures of the King of Uruk (2750-2500 BC).

17. The first book printed on the printing press was the Bible, in 1450. It was done on Johann Gutenberg’s press. The Bible is also the largest-selling non-fiction book in the world!

18. A library in Charleston, South Carolina, opened its doors in 1698, making it the first public library in the America.

19. As of 2014, the handwritten, The Codex Leicester, by Leonardo da Vinci, which sold for a whopping $30.8 million dollars, in 1994, is still the most expensive book ever sold. The buyer … Bill Gates.

20. According to the Pew Research Center, 1 out of 4 Americans said they didn’t read even ONE book in the past year!

21. Did you know that books were once shelved backwards (spine facing the back)?

22. The word “hurry” is said to have been invented by William Shakespeare.

23. JK Rowling was once told by people in the Mugglenet chatroom,not knowing her real identity on the chat site, that she didn’t know much about Harry Potter and should be quiet.

24. Can you imagine a sentence with 823 words?  It is found in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

25. At 5 ft 9 inches(1.75 m tall), and 6.3 inches when opened(1.90 m), The Klencke Atlas is the world’s largest book!

26. The letter ‘e” is found in one out of every eight letters you read.

Quotes about Reading and Books:

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”  Richard Steele

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark."  Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island."  Walt Disney  

“A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb

"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." Abraham Lincoln

 “A house without books is like a room without windows.” Heinrich Mann

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss

"Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers." Harry S Truman

Teacher Page:
Each child should have a library card. As educators, ask your students if they own a library card and if not, try and encourage them to get one.

Illustrate one of the quotes.

Which quote do you like the best and why? Write a paragraph explaining what you think your favorite quote means.

In a 2014 study, posted at, one out of five kids asked said that if a friend found them reading a book, they’d be embarrassed! The study also found that of those kids responding, 54% said they prefer to watch television than read a book. How do you feel if a friend finds you reading a book? Do you prefer reading, watching television or playing video games?
Note: Source of study:

Pretend you are Hans Christian Andersen’s statue found in Denmark’s capital city of Copenhagen. What do you see, hear, smell, etc., as you sit there? What are you thinking about?

Have groups of students make 7 comprehension questions from the Did You Know? facts to exchange with another group to answer.

Check out my informative web quest on the Library of Congress, our nation’s library! Are you a bibliophile (someone that loves books)?The Library of Congress, called our Nation's Library has over 33 million books. There are also over 12.5 million photographs and 6 million pieces of sheet music! Learn more about the Nation's Library with this fun and informative webquest.

Additional Resources on this topic:
1. Considered to be the greatest writer of the English language, learn Shakespeare with this play. It is said that next to the Bible, his works are the most quoted! Shakespeare is a guest on a talk show and the studio audience asks questions about his life. Part of my Ms. Bie Ografee's Talk Show Series. Comprehension/Did You Know? section, LOTS of extension activities/links/key:

2. A Christmas Carol is probably the most popular holiday story. Have your students learn about Charles Dickens, one of the most famous writers of all times! 8 informative web questions. Additional activities/links, too. It is said Dickens used an amazing 4.6 million different words in his writing! Skills include: reading for information and using research/computer skills.

3. This reader's theater play introduces kids to fairy tale writer, Hans Christian Andersen. Comprehension questions, discussion questions, extension activities and resources are included. His Ugly Ducking was said to be about his life. He was badly bullied as a kid. Perhaps, see play to start discussion about bullying.

Photography by Gail Skroback  Hennessey
Illustrations from