Happy Birthday, Mark Twain!
On this date in 1835, Samuel Clemens was born. In his lifetime, writing under the pen name Mark Twain, Clemens became one of the best and most popular American writers in history. Mark Twain left school at age 11 because his father died; he needed to earn money and so became a printer. He continued his education on his own, reading books at nearby public libraries.
After a decade of work as a printer, Mark Twain earned his steamboat pilot's license, which is hard to do—he studied 2,000 miles of the Mississippi for two years before he got the license. He was only able to be a pilot for two years because the Civil War broke out and cut down on steamboat travel/shipping.
What's Its Name?
Fill in the blanks below with consonants to spell out the names of some of Twain's most famous books:
1. ___ ___ E *** A ___ ___ E ___ ___ U ___ E ___ *** O ___ ***
___ O ___ *** ___ A ___ ___ E ___
2. A ___ ___ E ___ ___ U ___ E ___ *** O ___ ***
___ U ___ ___ ___ E ___ E ___ ___ ___ *** ___ I ___ ___
3. ___ ___ E *** ___ ___ I ___ ___ E *** A ___ ___ *** ___ ___ E ***
___ A U ___ E ___
B C C D D D F F F H H H H K L M N N N N N N P P P R R R R R R R S S S T T T T T T W V V Y Y
ANSWERS: 1.The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 3.The Prince and the Pauper
Quotes from Twain
“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
“Our Civil War was a blot on our history, but not as great a blot as the buying and selling of Negro souls.”
“Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.”
Read from his books. The famed whitewash-fence scene from Tom Sawyer is a perennial favorite.
Watch a movie. Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huck Finn have both been made into movies (in 1973 and 1993, respectively). The Prince and the Pauper has been filmed in 1938 and, in a modernized version, 2007. The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944 and 1986) is another possibility.
Check out the materials on the PBS Mark Twain sites. The interactive scrapbook is pretty fun! There are some lessons on writing, language, and humor at another PBS site.