Behind the Headlines
Explore our world, one headline at a time.
World Book Editors break down the news in our Behind the Headlines feature allowing for a deeper understanding of the complex events that shape our world today. Behind the Headlines articles are carefully crafted presenting the latest national and world news, science discoveries, current events and other top stories and are simplified for young readers.


Library of Congress

One hundred and twenty years ago today, on Nov. 1, 1897, the new Library of Congress opened its doors to the public for the first time. Previously, the library had been in the Congressional Reading Room of the United States Capitol.

Plight of the Rohingya

In recent weeks, violence and panic have gripped parts of the Southeast Asia nation of Myanmar (also called Burma). In late August, dozens of people were killed in clashes between Rohingya militants and government forces in western Myanmar.

Little Rock Nine: 60 Years

Yesterday, September 25, marked the 60th anniversary of the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. On Sept. 25, 1957, nine African American students—remembered as the Little Rock Nine—were escorted into the previously all-white school by United States Army troops.

Iraq’s Battle of Mosul

​On July 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory for government forces in their bloody battle with Islamic State militants for possession of the northern city of Mosul.

JFK 100

​On Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, events across the United States marked the 100th birthday of former President John F. Kennedy (widely known by his initials, JFK). Kennedy served as the 35th president of the United States from 1961 until his death in 1963. Many Americans saw JFK’s election and brief time in office—often idealized as “Camelot”—as an inspiring national renewal.

Cinco de Mayo’s Battle of Puebla

​Today, May 5, is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated in Mexico and in many communities throughout the United States. Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for Fifth of May. Many people know that Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of a Mexican army over a French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. But few people know much about the battle itself, which took place near Puebla, a city in central Mexico, during a French invasion of Mexico.

U.S. Enters World War I: 100 Years

On April 6, 1917—100 years ago today—the United States House of Representatives approved a resolution declaring war on Germany, entering the United States into World War I (1914-1918). Four days earlier, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson had asked Congress for a declaration of war, warning “the world must be made safe for democracy.” The Senate approved the resolution by a vote of 82-6 on April 4.

Women’s History Month: Jeannette Rankin

World Book continues its celebration of Women’s History Month with a look at Jeannette Rankin, who in 1916—almost four years before women had the right to vote nationally in the United States—became the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

Women’s History Month: Australian Vida Goldstein

World Book continues its celebration of Women’s History Month with a look at Australian feminist (promoter of women’s rights) and campaigner for woman suffrage (voting rights) Vida Goldstein (VY duh GOHLD styn). Goldstein was instrumental in helping to win the right to vote for Australian women in 1902—the second country to grant women full voting rights after New Zealand (1893).

Sequoia, the Presidential Yacht

You have probably heard of Air Force One, the aircraft that carries thepresident of the United States. You have also probably seen the presidential state car, an armored limousine called Cadillac One, or “the Beast.” But did you know that there was once a presidential yacht? That’s right, the president was once furnished with a luxury boat—Sequoia—for personal and official use.

An Infant King Turns 700

Today, November 15, is the 700th anniversary of the birth of King John I of France in 1316. Never heard of him? Well, a few things make John I a unique (but also rather obscure) figure in French history. First, he was the last in direct father-son succession of the Capetian dynasty, a line of kings that ruled France from 987 to 1328.

Highway Travel-by-Number

Ninety years ago today, on Nov. 11, 1926, the government of the United States did motorists across the nation a great favor by introducing a national system of numbered highways. Before people started navigating through smartphones with GPS, people actually read maps and road signs to find their way around.

America Goes Trump

In a shocking result, voters in the United States elected Republican businessman Donald Trump to be the nation’s next president. Trump upended Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had been widely expected to win the election.

Paris Climate Agreement

Yesterday, November 7, officials from around the world gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, for the 2016 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, or COP22. COP22 is an acronym for the 22nd annual session of the Conference of the Parties. The meetings come on the heels of the Friday, November 4, entry into force of COP21’s Paris Climate Agreement. One hundred countries—including the two considered to be the greatest polluters, China and the United States—have ratified the agreement for nations to report their greenhouse gas emissions.

Mount Rushmore Turns 75

Yesterday, October 31, was the 75th anniversary of the completion of theMount Rushmore National Memorial. Carved into on a granite cliff in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the giant-sized presidential faces on Mount Rushmore have symbolized American creativity and history, as well as the nation’s variety of natural beauty, since the memorial opened in 1941.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

On Saturday, September 24, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened to the public in Washington, D.C. Located on the National Mall, the museum details the history of slavery, the period of Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, segregation, and civil rights.

National Park Service Centennial

Today, August 25, is the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. It manages the approximately 400 areas of the National Park System.

The Air Force’s New Lightning

​On August 2, the United States Air Force declared its new F-35 Lightning II fighter planes ready for combat. The F-35 (F is the Air Force designation for a fighter plane) is a “fifth generation” fighter, combining advanced stealth technology with heavy firepower, long range, high speed, and remarkable agility.

The Battle of Long Tan: 50 Years After

August 18, 2016, marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, Australia’s first major conflict in the Vietnam War. In that battle, a small group of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand defeated a much larger enemy force.

The Battle of the Somme: 100 Years

Photo information: British troops go “over the top” during the 1916 Battle of the Somme in northern France. Credit: © Paul Popper, Popperfoto/Getty Images Today, July 1, is the 100th anniversary of...