Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Betty Carlson Kay  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Children; Children;

Born: January 8, 1949 in Cicero, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Betty Carlson Kay on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Betty was born in Cicero. She graduated with her MA from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She was a teacher in the Springfield Public School District and currently resides in Jacksonville.

Biographical and Professional Information

Betty is a retired teacher after 34 years of teaching in the Springfield Public Schools.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Roberto Clemente (Americans of character)
ISBN: 1572790636

young People's Press, Inc. 1997

Maya Lin (Americans of character)
ISBN: 1572790644

Young People's Press. 1997

Chief Joseph (Americans of character)
ISBN: 1572790628

Young People's Press. 1997

Harriet Tubman (Americans of character)
ISBN: 157279061X

Young People's Press. 1997

Abraham Lincoln (Americans of character)
ISBN: 1572790601

Young People's Pres, Inc. 1997

Jacksonville (Images of America: Illinois)
ISBN: 0738502324

Arcadia Publishing. 1999

The history of Jacksonville, Illinois, is a collection of traditions. A small town with a big heart, Jacksonville nurtures her traditions unconsciously. Delightfully renovated homes, physical
growth at two colleges, strong support of voluntary organizations, and excellence in education are some measures of the traditions that originated 175 years ago. Frontier Illinois was settled from the bottom up. Towns like Springfield, Jacksonville, Vandalia, and Kaskaskia sprouted in the early 1800s. Jacksonville was the destination for so many people
that, for several years, it had more citizens than Chicago, and it had high hopes of becoming the most important city in Illinois. Early on, the citizens of this new town recognized the need for religious and educational facilities. Through the years, the name Jacksonville became synonymous with education, and, with two colleges, three major state institutions, and public and private schools, that emphasis on education continues to this day. Higher
education, the development of literary societies, and the welcoming of new businesses are all parts of the Jacksonville tradition, and there are few towns that can boast of such a solid, continuous drive for self-improvement.

Cicero: The First Suburb West (Images of America)
ISBN: 0738507865

Arcadia Publishing. 2000

Mention the town of Cicero just about anywhere in the world, and you may receive two responses: first, a mimed tommy-gun pointed at you, reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties when Al Capone ran the town second, a comment about Cicero’s racial intolerance. Although the old Capone hangouts are mostly gone, and the town’s racial makeup is
changing, those old stereotypes linger. Cicero: The First Suburb West tells the story of this
vibrant community and its links to the past―including its connections to Western Electric and the tragic Eastland disaster. The Hispanic families that are making their homes in Cicero today mirror the Slavic immigrants who settled here a century ago. Their goal was, and is, to provide safe and affordable housing for their families, and pursue the “American Dream.”

Illinois from A to Z
ISBN: 0252025407

University of Illinois Press. 2000

Learning about Illinois history is as easy as ABC with this lively, attractive, alphabetical tour of the state.
Pairing brief, informative statements with photographs and drawings of their subjects, Illinois from A to Z includes profiles of important Illinois residents, from inventor John Deere to scientist Enrico Fermi and from poet Gwendolyn Brooks to entrepreneur Ray Kroc. Betty Carlson Kay highlights historical events, such as the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and the tragic Haymarket Riot of 1886. She introduces the Illiniwek tribe, for whom the state was named, and the canals and waterways that connect the Chicago and Mississippi Rivers with Lake Michigan. She also describes key social projects, such as Jane Addams's Hull-House and the orphan trains that carried tens of thousands of poor, homeless children from the East Coast to new homes in the Midwest.
Readers will learn that Illinois was the first state east of the Mississippi to grant women the right to vote for the president and local officials (although they had to use separate ballots and ballot boxes) that each car of the original Ferris wheel could hold sixty people that Illinois has the largest known bituminous coal reserves in the United States and that the epithet "The Windy City" originally referred not to the weather but to the boasting of Chicagoans about the 1893 world's fair.
Clearly written and generously illustrated, Illinois from A to Z is a charming introduction to the movers and shakers who have shaped Illinois as well as to the state's history and geography

What Did Lincoln Do... In 1832? In 1842? In 1862?
ISBN: 1420802860

AuthorHouse. 2005

Just who was Abraham Lincoln? How did he become one of the most admired persons who ever lived? What daily experiences lead him on the path to the Presidency of the United States of America at the most difficult time of its existence? Why is he the man visitors come streaming to discover in the heartland of central Illinois? This work of Historical Fiction answers the question of what Lincoln's daily life was like. By selecting 3 very different years and researching them on a day-to-day, month-by-month basis, the picture of our 16th President becomes clearer. What Did Lincoln Do in 1832? is told through the eyes of Peggy Rutledge, one of Anne's younger sisters, and details the daily life in the remote log cabin village of New Salem, Illinois. What Did Lincoln Do in 1842? is told through the eyes of Jed, a twelve-year-old boy whom Lincoln befriends in the booming town of Springfield, Illinois. What Did Lincoln Do in 1862? is told in a stream-of-consciousness style by Tad Lincoln, Abraham's youngest son. It details the year in the White House in which Willie dies and Lincoln writes the Emancipation Proclamation. This work of Historical Fiction is grounded in research and footnoted for those whose spark is lit to do further study on this unique American who strode from obscurity to center stage not so long ago.

The Lincolns from A to Z
ISBN: 1434368270

AuthorHouse. 2008

Books on Abraham Lincoln abound, with most of them told chronologically. They begin in Lincoln's youth, proceed through his early life, and culminate with his Civil War presidency and assassination. In this book, however, there are twenty-six windows into the life of Abraham Lincoln and 26 windows into Mary Lincoln's life as well. They are just waiting to be opened. How you open them is up to you. Each page is packed full of information that immediately engages children (and adults!) The pages may be read in alphabetical order, with each letter thoroughly describing an interesting episode in their lives. Or, read them chronologically, beginning with A for Abraham and Y for Mary. Whichever way you choose to read this book, you will be opening not only a window but a doorway into the lives of one of the most beloved Presidents of the United States and one of the most interesting First Ladies.

The Civil War from A to Z: Two Points of View
ISBN: 1452094519

AuthorHouse. 2010

The Civil War from A to Z is written from Two Points of View so that one can begin to understand how the United States was torn apart by war not so very long ago. For example, "A, Antebellum" is first told from the North's perspective and then from the South's. This book is written for young people studying the Civil War in grades 4-8.



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Celebrate the Lincoln Bicentennial with a visit to your school!

During the school year 2008-2009, I will be visiting schools across the state bringing the history of our 16th President to life. Choose from two different presentations that go with two books I have written.

  • For grades 1-3, I recommend that I present as Mrs. Rutledge of New Salem, depicting life in the small, log cabin village near Springfield. Meet Mr. Lincoln as a young, yet already ambitious resident and hear of the day to day life on the prairie.
  • For grades 4-8, I recommend that I present Mrs. Elizabeth Todd Edwards, older sister of Mary Lincoln, who will talk about Marys interesting life. Dressed in hoop skirts and trimmings, Elizabeth talks honestly about her younger sister, stressing Marys good points while acknowledging her faults. At each presentation, I will be selling my books priced especially for schools. The chapter book,
  • WHAT DID LINCOLN DO IN 1832?...1842?...1862?

    fits nicely with my presentation of Mrs. Rutledge and the book


    fits nicely with the presentation as Mrs. Edwards. Always available is my book,


    which is in hard back and published with the University of Illinois Press. An order form will be sent to you to duplicate for the children so that they can order a special remembrance of the Bicentennial Year. My latest book,


    and the school visits are endorsed by the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. There is no fee for my visits, but a $25 donation to help defray mileage costs is asked. Book early by e-mailing me at See my web site http // and see also Click on The Bicentennial and then Endorsed Programs. I am about the 7th endorsed program on the list.