Real Heroes for Black History Month and All Year Long

While the calendar might compel the American public to focus on Black history specifically during the month of February, Cricket Media magazines feature stories, articles, and news highlighting the achievements of Black Americans living and dead throughout the entire year.


In COBBLESTONE, our American history magazine for kids ages 9 to 14, you might find profiles of Black Americans who have changed the course of our country’s history such as Frederick Douglass or an in-depth look at the Civil Rights Movement and its leaders.  In our science magazines, such as ASK or MUSE, you might find reference to science pioneers such as mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker and microbiologist Ruth Ella Moore. In our literary magazines, such as CRICKET and SPIDER, you’ll find stories and poems written and illustrated by contemporary Black American writers and artists such as Brian Pinkney or Nikki Giovanni.


We’ve written in previous blogs about Cricket’s history of celebrating diversity. From the inaugural issue of the magazine in 1973, the founders of Cricket have always been committed to representing children of all skin tones, faiths, genders, and nationalities. This is a commitment we here at Cricket Media honor to this day…not just during certain months, but all year long. We hope you’ll share these magazines with your children so that every month, not just February, can be a celebration of the people and events that shape the world.


Want to start right now?


Share this story about young Frederick Douglass, the slave who learned to read, by Linda Walvorred Girard, illustrated by Colin Bootman and the poem Books by J. Patrick Lewis with your family.


 Real Heroes for Black History Month and All Year Long

Dream Child: Follow your Dreams

Dream. Dream big, Child. Follow your dreams. They will take you places you once only dreamed about.


It all starts with a first step. A few new steps each day and you are on your way toward your dream.


Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams. Remember, nothing can keep you from your dreams, but you. The fear of failure is only an illusion. When “No, I can’t” comes knocking, knock him out with “Yes, I can!”


You will learn that failure is only an excuse. It is only a temporary set-back. One step back. Two steps forward. And you are on your way again. Each step is a stepping stone leading the way on the path to success.


Thomas Edison had a dream. He dreamed he would one day invent the light bulb. But each time he tried, he failed. He failed more than one thousand times, but he never gave up. He said he welcomed and accepted all those little failures along the way knowing that each one was simply the next step to his ultimate success in bringing new light to the world.


What is your dream? Do you want to become a doctor? An athlete? An architect? An actor? A teacher? A dancer? Musician? Artist? Writer? Scientist? Inventor? Do you want to cure cancer? Do you want to help make the world become a cleaner, safer place, a more peaceful place? A place to ponder? A place to dream?


Goal Mind

Success begins the moment that

You set your goal in place;

Take time to savor every step

For life is not a race.

—Charles Ghigna


The High Road

The path to inspiration starts

Upon the trails we’ve known;

Each stumbling block is not a rock,

But just a stepping stone.

—Charles Ghigna



Do not let fear confine your life

Inside a shell of doubt;

A turtle never moves until

His head is sticking out.

—Charles Ghigna


Solid Goal

Don’t let the distance to your goals

Keep you from your dreams;

It’s never really quite as far

As what it often seems.

—Charles Ghigna


True Grit

The move from failure to success

Takes more than simply grit;

It starts when you first realize

You know you’ll never quit.

—Charles Ghigna


Dreams Allowed

Don’t be afraid to dream aloud

The things you want to do;

Just saying what is in your heart

Will help your dreams come true.

—Charles Ghigna


The Worst Bad Word

Try to think of all the words

That you could live without;

Make a list of all those words

And throw the worst word out.


It’s not a very easy task,

You might just rave and rant;

But don’t give up before you find

The worst bad word is can’t.

—Charles Ghigna


[Editor’s Note: Speaking of Thomas Edison, enjoy this overview of just a few of the many inventions he created. This article “A Lifetime of Invention” appeared in the July 2005 issue of COBBLESTONE. Or better yet, get the entire issue about this great inventor and share it with some of the young dreamers in your life.]


Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers, and more than 5000 poems, many of which appear in textbooks and anthologies, and in newspapers and magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He has spoken at schools, colleges, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, please visit his website at

Why Cobblestone Magazine Rocks!

Let’s face it: Unless your child is naturally attracted to the subject, it’s not very easy to get kids interested in history. Hamilton certainly will get them in the spirit, but I hear tickets are not very easy to come by. What kids really need to engage them in the world-before-their-time is something relatable. This is one of the reasons I loved the Laura Ingles Wilder books as a kid. It was so interesting to me to hear how kids MY AGE lived in the pioneer days. I was fascinated by the chores they had to do, the foods they ate, and the cringe-worthy fashions they wore. In fact, reading about Laura’s life in the 1880s made me really appreciate growing up in the 1980s, even if the fashions we wore were a little cringe-worthy in their own right.


COBBLESTONE is one of my (and my kids’) favorite Cricket Media titles for exactly that reason. Each edition helps put our modern kids into the shoes of people in history – or a lack of shoes, depending on how far back in time the story is set. Discovering how children their own age learned, dressed, worked, ate, and even played is so much more interesting to kids than memorizing facts, names, and dates about an era they can barely imagine, let alone bring themselves to care about.


Alexander Hamilton - Cobblestone MagazineSpeaking of a lack of Hamilton tickets, I know Andra Abramson, my Cricket blogger BFF, is currently obsessed with the musical, but since our Cricket blogger BFF relationship apparently only goes one way, she didn’t buy me tickets to go see it. However, she did point out that COBBLESTONE just featured Alexander Hamilton in their October 2016 issue. If your kids are as into Hamilton the Musical as mine are, they will love diving deeper into the story of Hamilton than the musical numbers of the Broadway show allow. If you’ve never considered Cobblestone before, this is definitely the one to start with. I’m guessing once you and your kids gets started discovering American History, none of you will want to miss an issue.


[Editor’s Note: Andra Abramson wants to point out that she hasn’t been able to score tickets to Hamilton herself so there is no way she can get any extras for Cricket Media Mama, no matter how hard she begs in her blogs.]


Cricket Media Mama is thankful for many things but after reading Little House on the Prairie, she was ever thankful that she didn’t have to blow up a pig’s bladder in order to play ball. 

Getting Goosebumps About History Thanks to Hamilton

When I was about 10 years old, my family went on a trip to Lake George, where we visited Fort Ticonderoga. I remember that trip for two reasons. First, I lost the buckle off one of my patent leather shoes. Second, the fort was in the middle of nowhere! Two hundred and fifty years had passed since the site had played a pivotal role in U.S. history, but I felt like we were still on the frontier.


Getting Goosebumps About History Thanks to Hamilton


I didn’t know then all the things I know now about the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War and Fort Ticonderoga’s role in those conflicts, but that experience left an impression on me as a kid, and I think about it a lot as an adult. It’s my earliest memory of visiting a historic site and feeling I had time-traveled into the past.


As the editor of COBBLESTONE  Magazine, I try to think of ways to get our readers to experience that “time-traveling” sensation. I realize the fact that I get goosebumps during visits to Jamestown and Antietam, or after reading Lewis and Clark’s journal entries or immigrants’ oral histories, doesn’t mean I can re-create that feeling for all our readers—but I really enjoy those experiences. I believe history is fascinating and dramatic, and sometimes an opportunity to show kids just how relevant and dramatic it is presents itself in an unusual way.


About a year ago, I was trying to narrow down a list of themes for COBBLESTONE to cover for 2016. I happened to read an article describing a play—a musical—about Alexander Hamilton. I think at the time the play was still off-Broadway, but it was getting outstanding reviews.


I learned the creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, had gotten the idea for his show after reading Ron Chernow’s book Alexander Hamilton. I’d read that book, too. To be completely honest, as I started the book, I’d thought, what am I going to learn that’s new about Alexander Hamilton?


As it turns out, a lot.


Hamilton Cobblestone Magazine 2016

The October issue of COBBLESTONE features new Broadway start Alexander Hamilton as well as an interview with Miguel Cervantes, the actor.

Chernow’s extensive research had enabled him to weave a fascinating story about history. And now here was a show that was taking that 18th-century topic and using 21st-century forms of music and dance to bring it to life. I thought, wouldn’t it be great for our readers to learn about this effort to present history dramatically? I decided to devote one of our fall 2016 issues to Hamilton and to see if I could make that connection.


By the time I got around to organizing the Hamilton issue, Hamilton: An American Musical had moved to Broadway. I asked Kathiann Kowalski, an author with whom I’ve worked for years, to pursue an interview with someone connected to the show.


Within a couple of weeks, Kathi had made contact. In her successful email, she acknowledged Mr. Miranda’s commitment to education for young people and said this about COBBLESTONE’s mission: “Rather than just describing history, COBBLESTONE really endeavors to show readers why history matters and how the past is present in our lives today. Along those lines, my editor and I are especially keen to profile Mr. Miranda and his hit musical Hamilton for our readers.” The show’s media relations office agreed to help us.


Miguel Cervantes - Hamilton

Miguel Cervantes

In the months that followed, Hamilton: An American Musical became the hottest ticket on Broadway and won 11 Tony Awards. (I can only imagine how many interview requests the show’s PR firm received.) It did take a while to get the actual interview, but I am so glad about a number of things: that Kathi took the assignment, that her description of the shared messages of the play and the magazine—of making history attractive to young people and of getting kids to think outside the box and creatively about ways to present history—resonated with the show’s media people, and that we got an interview with Miguel Cervantes, the actor who will play Alexander Hamilton in the Chicago production of the show, in COBBLESTONE’s October issue before our deadline!  Mostly, I am thrilled that Mr. Miranda’s creative genius has reminded us that U.S. history is alive and well. I am guessing that Hamilton audience members regularly get goosebumps!


Editor’s Note: Subscribe to COBBLESTONE and we’ll send you the Alexander Hamilton issue free! With each subscription you’ll receive an entire year’s worth of articles, stories, and activities showcasing more than 200 years of our country’s history from the premier American history magazine for kids ages 9 to 14.  From the Founding Fathers to the issues facing our country today, COBBLESTONE is dedicated to bringing American history to life.