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Thursday, November 5, 2015


I'm a redhead 

And I'm proud of it. In fact, being a redhead is a big thing in my family. I have redheaded cousins and a redheaded son. We trace our family red hair roots proudly back to my great grandfather John Wesley Haldeman and we enjoy this shared bond. So I'm happy to announce that November 5, 2015 is National LOVE Your Red Hair Day. 

To my surprise, this isn't the only calendar day set aside to appreciate redheads. There is even a festival held each year in Breda, The Netherlands. That event started in 2005 when Dutch painter Bart Rouwenhorst decided he wanted to paint 15 redheads. He advertised for models and had 150 replies. Over time the festival has grown and now attracts around 5,000 redheads each year.

Of course, people aren't the only redheads. There are redheaded animals too. In fact, a few animals are red all over. So try these activities to have fun getting to know some of the redheads of the animal world.

2015 Redhead of the Year 

Invite kids to join in electing one of these three red haired animals to hold this title. Here's a snapshot of the candidates.

Red Panda: This animal is not a kind of panda. It's a unique kind of mammal (hairy, warm-blooded animal whose mothers nurse their young). Its red hair helps it blend in with the red mosses growing on the trees where it live.

Orangutan: In the swampy forests where this ape lives the muddy orange water casts an orange-red light into the trees. So it hides in plain sight thanks to its red hair.

Golden Lion Tamarin: This monkey's red hair makes it stand out. That may help it find other golden lion tamarins in its forest home. 

Scientists believe its hair is red at least partly because of the chemicals (carotenoids) in the fruit it eats. 

Now pick one candidate to support.  

Click on one of the names below to go to websites and find out more about your favorite candidate for REDHEAD OF THE YEAR.

Next, write a paragraph to share with others to convince them to vote for your candidate.

Also make a campaign poster. And think up a slogan--a catchy phrase--for why others should vote for your candidate.

Hold an election and count the votes to find out who is the winner.

Don't forget to celebrate the election of the 2015 REDHEAD OF THE YEAR!!!

How The Woodpecker Got Its Red head

Another of my favorite wild redheads is the red-headed woodpecker. 

There is a Cherokee legend about how the red-headed woodpecker came to be.  Here is my retelling of this legend.

Long ago, there was a cabin way off in the woods. A man who was a wood carver lived there with his beautiful red-haired wife. One day, while the man was away and the woman was home baking, an old Cherokee man came to the cabin. He had been travelling a long time and was very hungry. He asked the woman to give him something to eat. But she sent him away.

The old man was surprised because the Cherokee would never send anyone away hungry. He went back the next day. The woman in the cabin still would not give him any food to eat.

Now the old man was able to work magic. So he decided to teach the woman a lesson. The next day he went to the cabin yet again. When the woman still would not give him even a slice of the bread she was baking, he cast a spell on her. He said, “From this day on, you will spend every day searching for food and have to work very hard for what you eat.”

As he walked away, the woman began to change. The black dress she was wearing, her white apron and her bright red hair changed to feathers. She became a woodpecker. To this day, the woodpecker must fly from tree to tree and peck very hard to get food to eat.      

Another telling of the "Ta-la-la" story is found here. "Ta-la-la" is the Cherokee word for redheaded woodpecker.

Now, just for fun, make up a story of your own for how the woodpecker got its red head.

Save A Redhead

Finally, don't miss reading the true life story of how people worked very hard to save one of my favorite red-haired animals.