December 10 – Nobel Prize Day

Happy Nobel Prize Day!

The Nobel Prizes, named for Alfred Nobel, are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden the city of his birth, on December 10th, the anniversary of his death.

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 Enjoy some picture books about other prizes too.

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Alfred Nobel, The Man Behind the Peace Prize written by Kathy Jo Wargin and illustrated by Zachary Pullen (2009)

This picture book biography begins with Alfred Nobel’s life as a scientist. Alfred Nobel experimented with nitroglycerin and gunpowder to make a safe and effective blasting substance which could be used to tear down old bridges, create tunnels in mountains, or make safer weapons. He found a way to store his substance, which he called blasting oil, in a plug for safe travel and use. He gave it to his brother Emil, who immediately started using it to build roads, bridges, ports, and towns. Then one day, a blast killed Emil and four other people. Alfred began working on ways to make nitroglycerin safer. Two years after his brother’s death, Alfred found a way to mix it with sand and roll it in a tube and put a blasting cap on the top of it. This would make it unlikely to explode on it own. He called this new substance dynamite because it was so dynamic. Alfred Nobel hoped that his invention would make the world a safer place to live because people would understand its power and be afraid to use it to harm each other. But he was wrong. Many countries started using dynamite in weapons to hurt others. He became a wealthy man, but Alfred Nobel was so saddened by this use of his invention that he left a will stating that after his death, all his wealth would be given as yearly prizes to people who made significant contributions to mankind in the areas of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. These are known as the Nobel Prizes.

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Pearl’s Frist Prize Plant written and illustrated by A. Delaney (1997)

Pearl planted a seed one spring day and watched it grow in her yard. One day it bloomed a white flower. Pearl was so excited she decided to take her plant to the flower show at the county fair. But when she got there, she saw many beautiful plants with lots of blooms on them. Pearl decided to take her plant back home. She planted it in her yard and watched it every day. Pearl was very happy with her plant. Then one day, it bloomed another flower. This was  Pearl’s first prize plant.

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Prize in the Snow written by Bill Easterling and illustrated by Mary Beth Owens (1994)

One day a boy went out into the woods behind his house. He had a box, a stick, some string, and a carrot. He planned to set a trap to catch a bird or a rabbit in the snow. His older brothers had done it and he knew he could too. He set the trap and waited behind a tree. Soon a rabbit came to eat the carrot. The boy dropped the box over the rabbit. He planned on taking it home to show his brothers, but when he lifted the box he found a half starved rabbit scared stiff. The boy offered the rabbit the carrot and watched him eat it. He went home without the rabbit, promising to come back the next day with some bread.

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