Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week…
tell about a new children's book on Charles Darwin and his famous theory …
Answer a question from Burma about America's greatest
And listen to wild and fun music from pop performer
"What Darwin Saw"
Many people enjoy an adventure story. Others like mysteries that lead the reader to
an exciting discovery. The story of the
young British naturalist Charles Darwin combines both of these. That is why author and illustrator Rosalyn
Schanzer chose to write the children's book "What Darwin Saw: The Journey that
Changed the World." The National
Geographic Society published her book just in time for the two hundredth
anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth on February twelfth, eighteen oh nine. Steve Ember has more.
Darwin Saw" is written in graphic novel form.
That means it tells its story through pictures as well as words.
Rosalyn Schanzer carefully gathered Darwin's
thoughts and observations from his diaries, letters and books. Many of the words in the book are Darwin's own.
Miz Schanzer also traveled to the Galapagos Islands and
South America. She researched some of the places Darwin visited on his trip on
the ship H.M.S. Beagle in the eighteen thirties. She took thousands of pictures. These helped her create the book's beautiful
and colorful drawings. These pictures
show young readers what led Darwin to form his great discovery: the evolution
of species through natural selection.
Darwin Saw" tells of the adventures of a young man who travels around the world
as a ship's scientist. Gone is the
popular image of Charles Darwin as an old man with a long, white beard. Rosalyn Schanzer shows readers the young man
who was only twenty-two years old when he left Plymouth, England
in eighteen thirty-one.
ROSALYN SCHANZER: "He was young and I had a very good
time drawing his picture because I used a lot of reference material that were
paintings made of him at different times in his life.
Schanzer's pictures of Darwin capture the energy and excitement that she sensed
in his early writings.
ROSALYN SCHANZER: "During the voyage he was considered
to be the most energetic person on the whole ship, the Beagle. And he would have looked great and been all
tan with sun-bleached, maybe, hair. And
so I was able to take the pictures, combine them and draw him the way I think
he might really, possibly, have looked on that trip."
The voyage of the Beagle took Charles Darwin to South
America. There he rode horses with
cowboys and met Native people in Argentina. He reported the eruption of the Osorno
volcano and experienced an earthquake in Chile. Darwin's observations showed him that
environments can change a little very quickly and a great deal over time.
Darwin's story is also a mystery.
Rosalyn Schanzer brings to life the clues that suggested to Darwin that
living things evolve, or change, over time.
She illustrates the unusual tortoises, birds and lizards that Darwin
studied in the Galapagos Islands.
She shows how Darwin came to understand that
these island animals had differences, developed over time, that helped them
survive. And she explains the theory of
evolution through natural selection in a way that both children and adults will
Our listener question this week comes from Burma. Kyaw Thu wants to know who the greatest
American president was and how he improved the country.
the television cable network C-Span carried out its second study about the
greatest American presidents. Sixty-five
presidential historians judged the past forty-two American leaders based on ten
qualities of leadership.
The qualities were
public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic management, moral
leadership and international relations.
The historians also looked at administrative ability,
relations with Congress, goal setting and the pursuit of equal justice for
all. Finally, the experts considered
performance based on the historical period in which the president lived.
historians chose Abraham Lincoln as America's greatest president. He had also
been named best president in a similar study in two thousand. Abraham Lincoln
was the only president in American history to lead the nation during a civil
war in the eighteen sixties. He united the nation. And he took the first steps that destroyed
the institution of slavery in America.
Edna Medford is a professor of history at Howard
University in Washington, D.C. She was
an adviser on this study and the earlier one.
She says Abraham Lincoln is seen to represent the values that the nation
most honors like truthfulness, moderation and respect for human rights.
historians named America's first president, George Washington, as second on the
list of greatest presidents. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and
Harry Truman are next in that order. John F. Kennedy, the country's first Roman
Catholic president, is sixth on the list. Like Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy
was murdered while in office.
recent presidents, Ronald Reagan was named the tenth best president. Bill Clinton was rated fifteenth. And the historians rated former president
George W. Bush as number thirty-six. His father, George H.W. Bush, did much
better. He was rated as number eighteen.
Lady GaGa makes music that makes you want to dance. Her
performances combine rock, dance, theater and wild clothes. She says that when
she discovered the songs of British pop stars David Bowie and Queen, she
realized these different things could go together. The twenty-two year old
performer says her album "The Fame" is about how anyone can feel famous and all
people are invited to the party. Barbara Klein has more.
was the hit song "Just Dance" from Lady GaGa's first album "The Fame." It gives
a good example of her energetic electronic sound.
GaGa's real name is Joanne Stefani Germanotta. The idea for her stage name came
from Queen's song "Radio Gaga."
Germanotta was born in Yonkers, New York, and grew up in New York City. She
taught herself to play the piano at the age of four. By the age of fourteen she
was performing at clubs in New York. When she was seventeen, she was accepted
into the music program at New York University. Here is the song "Brown Eyes."
GaGa is known for her wild and creative makeup and clothing. Sometimes she
makes the clothing she wears. But she usually does not wear very much clothing.
GaGa wrote all of the music on her album and plays some of the instruments. She
says her goal as an artist is to present a pop record to the world in a very
interesting way. We leave you with "Boys Boys Boys."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written by Dana Demange, Caty Weaver, and Mario
Ritter, who also was the producer. You can find transcripts, MP3s and podcasts
of our programs at voaspecialenglish.com.
us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special