Monday, April 14, 2014

50 States: Texas


You've heard the saying, "Everything's bigger in Texas," right? This began as a slogan to encourage people to visit our nation's second largest state. (Which is the first largest?) What do they say is bigger in Texas than anywhere else? Well, they say pride is bigger there, along with hair, BBQs, guns, steaks, religion, advertising, statues, rodeos, hats, trucks, and boots.

Texas (TX) is our 28th state. It became a state on December 29, 1845. The capital is Austin, and the largest city is Houston. The nearly 26.5 million people who call Texas home are referred to as Texans. Some famous people born in Texas include: 

George Strait...singer, songwriter
Tommy Lee
Willie Nelson...singer
Janis Joplin...singer
Dwight D. Eisenhower...President
Mary Kay Ash...founder of Mary Kay
Drew player
Lisa Welchel...actress
Hilary Duff...actress/singer
Kelly Clarkson...singer
Barry producer
Michael Dell...founder of Dell Computers
Kenny Rogers...singer
Dan anchor
Chester Nimitz...military leader
Scott Joplin...pianist
Lyndon B. Johnson...President
Buddy Holly...singer

There are many more I did not list. It seems Texas is big with singer, songwriters, and actors, too!

Texas' nickname is "The Lone Star State." On its flag, there is one star. It is said that the red represents bravery, blue loyalty, and white purity. This flag was adopted in 1845 when Texas became a state, but the star was used as early as the 1830s when Texas fought against Mexico.

Watch a Texas Independence Day video. In 4-1/2 minutes, the speaker gives a history and an explanation of what makes Texas great. (Consider watching it in full screen to avoid potentially offensive ads in the margin.)

The state symbols of Texas are:

Large mammal...Texas longhorn

Small mammal...Armadillo
Flying mammal...Free-tailed bat
Insect...Monarch butterfly
Plant...Prickly Pear Cactus
Vegetable...Sweet Onion

What is there to do in Texas? You can visit the Alamo. Be sure to read the history of the Alamo, either on the Official Alamo website or some other history site or book. Visit the Sixth Floor Museum, all about John F. Kennedy, in Dallas. There is a Six Flags and a Sea World. Dallas also has an aquarium and an art museum. The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin tells the story of Texas. Houston has a zoo and a museum of natural science. The Space Center in Houston is the visitor center for the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. The Texas State Aquarium is located in Corpus Christi. The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in La Porte memorializes the decisive battle in the fight for Texas' Independence from Mexico. You can also tour Battleship Texas State Historic Site in La Porte. There are numerous forts and other battleships that can be toured throughout Texas. Cadillac Ranch in Potter County is a large art sculpture. Situated in Austin is the LBJ Library and Museum. If you're in Houston, don't forget to visit the Astrodome, which was the first sports stadium with a dome.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has a website where kids can learn about the different regions of Texas and can even download activity books that teach about insects, birds, Indians, etc. These look to be wonderful resources. Be aware that they do speak of millions of years, however.

Did you know?

-Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco.
-Texas has the most farmland of any state.
-There are nearly 16 million heads of cattle in Texas. 
-There is a ranch in Texas that is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.
-Texas produces more wool than any other state.
-After the War with Mexico, Texas was an independent nation until it became a state.
-The Waco Bridge was the first suspension bridge in the U.S.
-Over 8000 people died when a hurricane hit Galveston in 1900.
-Stealing cattle is still a hanging offense.
-Texas comes from an Indian word, Tejas, meaning "friends."
-Texas is the state with the most tornadoes per year.
-Texas is the only state that entered the Union by way of a treaty.
-The Texas Rangers are the oldest law enforcement agency in America. Chuck Norris is an honorary Texas Ranger.

The following items are available through If you purchase through my blog, I will receive a commission.

846546: Texas Texas
By Dana Maechen Rau & Catherine Gardner(Editor) / Gareth Stevens Publishing

Each volume in the Portrait of the States series is a colorful, comprehensive portrait that features state facts and symbols and describes the history, people, land, economy, and government of that state. Young students will be engaged by the "Fun Facts" sprinkled throughout and the chapter on "Fun Things to See and Do." 32 pages, paperback

41266EB: Stephen F. Austin: The Son Becomes the Father of Texas - eBook Stephen F. Austin: The Son Becomes the Father of Texas - eBook
By Mary Dodson Wade / Bright Sky Press

227264: Our Texas Our Texas
By Jackie Mims Hopkins / Charlesbridge Publishing

Move through the giant state of Texas city by city! Starting off in Brownsville (where citrus is grown) and moving through Gonzales, Houston, Piney Woods, El Paso, San Antonio, Austin, and plenty of other towns, the bright illustrations complement the short poems that tell readers something unique about each place. The back of the book goes through the locations again, this time with new star-pointed facts. 48 pages, paperback. Ages 9-12.

712732: More than Petticoats: Remarkable Texas Women More than Petticoats: Remarkable Texas Women
By Globe Pequot

More than Petticoats: Remarkable Texas Women explores the history of the Lone Star State through the stories of ten remarkable women whose courage and contributions made a profound impact on Texas. These pioneering women exhibited strength and triumph through their work as doctors, entrepreneurs, journalists, civil rights advocates, and more. All ten women, born before 1900, faced incredible challenges. Read about their exceptional lives in this collection of brief and absorbing biographies. 128 pages, black-and-white photos.

212339: Line In The Sand Line In The Sand
By Randy Roberts, James S. Olson / Simon & Schuster

Randy Roberts and James S. Olson retell the story of the Alamo from both the Mexican and the American perspectives, delving into the historical accuracy of such myths as Bowie's famous line in the sand and Crockett's celebrated fight to the death. Separating fact from fiction, they trace how and why those fictions grew, from the rapid spread of the rallying cry "Remember the Alamo!" to the "patriotic" depictions of battle in American films to the potency of the Alamo as a symbol in Texas politics and American culture today.

8467108: What Was the Alamo? What Was the Alamo?
By Meg Belviso, Pam Pollack & David Groff(Illustrator) / Grosset & Dunlap

"Remember the Alamo!" is still a rallying cry more than 175 years after the siege in Texas. Find out why! Two hundred Americans held off more than two thousand soldiers of the Mexican Army for twelve days before defeat. Only two Texans survived. The siege was a crucial turning point in the Texas Revolution and led to the creation of the Republic of Texas. With 80 black-and-white illustrations throughout and a 16-page black-and-white photo insert, young readers will relive the battle of the Alamo!

852475: The Alamo: A Radio Dramatization The Alamo: A Radio Dramatization
By Jerry Robbins & The Colonial Radio Players / Colonial Radio Theatre on Brilliance Audio

General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna arrives in San Antonio with 6,000 troops and begins to besiege the Alamo for 13 days. Flying a red flag and playing the El Deguello (cut the throat), Santa Anna signals that no quarter will be given to the defenders.

You will be there with David Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis, and 16-year-old David Cummings as they fight to the bitter end in this spectacular epic production of one of the world's most famous battles.

Unabridged audio CD; approximately 1 hour 14 minutes; 1 CD; performed by Jerry Robbins and The Colonial Radio Players.

189875: Flat Stanley"s Worldwide Adventures #10: Showdown at the Alamo Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures #10: Showdown at the Alamo
By Jeff Brown & Macky Pamintuan(Illustrator) / Harpercollins Publishing

117445: In the Shadow of the Alamo In the Shadow of the Alamo
By Sherry Garland / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Fifteen-year-old Lorenzo never intended to be a soldier. But when the soldados raid his tiny Mexican village, he finds himself forced to join General Santa Anna's Alamo-bound army. Ideal for unit studies, this bittersweet adventure skillfully weaves the complexities of wartime with cultural details, Spanish vocabulary, and historical background. Glossary included. Ages 11 to 14. 282 pages, hardcover from Harcourt Brace.

122685: Texas Stories: I Like to Tell My Friends Texas Stories: I Like to Tell My Friends
By T. Lindsay Baker / Abilene Christian University Press

48176EB: On to the Alamo: Colonel Crockett"s Exploits and Adventures in Texas - eBook On to the Alamo: Colonel Crockett's Exploits and Adventures in Texas - eBook
By John Seelye / Penguin Classics

David "Davy" Crockett (1786-1836) was born in Tennessee, fought alongside Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812, and later served three terms in the House of Representatives before heading to Texas, where he died defending the Alamo. Col. Crockett's Exploits and Adventures in Texas, first published after Crockett's death and disingenuously attributed to him, was written by Richard Penn Smith as a narrative that promoted a sanitized account of the Alamo as a heroic effort by Americans to stem the Mexican "invasion" of Texas. The story, which was a huge success in its day, created a myth of the battle that pervaded the collective American memory for more than 150 years and reinforced the image of Davy Crockett as the "King of the Frontier."

8535374: A Treasury of Texas Tales: Unusual, Interesting, and Little-Known Stories of Texas A Treasury of Texas Tales: Unusual, Interesting, and Little-Known Stories of Texas
By Webb B. Garrison / Thomas Nelson

736753: Disasters and Heroic Rescues of Texas Disasters and Heroic Rescues of Texas
By Globe Pequot

401209: Texas History Bingo Texas History Bingo
By Gallopade International

There's nothing like a little on-the-spot recall to help you remember a fact! State history bingo will keep you on your mental toes. A stack of cards features spaces for squares, such as Native peoples, immigrants, state flag, books, statehood dates, state representatives, and more. Punch-out paper bingo tokens are included, as well as a "call-out" sheet, reward cards, and instructions. This state history bingo covers Texas history.

68101: Texas Shape Stickers Texas Shape Stickers
By Top Notch Teacher Products

Pack of 80 stickers in the shape of Texas, red and blue with white star; each sticker is approximately 1" x 1". Show your support for Texas! Excellent classroom tool for geography and more.

69329: Texas Bookmarks Texas Bookmarks
By Top Notch Teacher Products

Encourage reading with these attractive bookmarks. Colorful bookmarks appeal to kids and adults. Give as rewards or gifts! Double-sided design; 6.5" x 2"; 36 per pack.