KC Public Library Blog

Louis Braille: Books for Kids

January 4, 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Louis Braille’s birthday. This influential inventor was blinded at age 3 and went on to develop the Braille writing system, patterns of raised dots that can be read by touch. These books for kids tell Braille’s inspirational life story and describe what life is like for those who are blind.

The Best of 2008?

These are just some of the favorites that appeared on DVD during the past year, and are now available at the Library for you to place on hold.

On the Page or on the Stage?

Discussing plays in reading groups is both rewarding and frustrating. It’s rewarding since readers can go back to the stage directions and descriptions and speeches and reread them slowly or with more focus. It’s frustrating because sometimes no matter how often a passage is reread, the only way to understand it is to see it performed.

David Macaulay

This week, let's look at books by master illustrator David Macaulay. Macaulay is best known for books that explain complex things—like buildings and bridges and bodies—in a simple, visual way.

Macaulay was born in England, but spent some of his teenage years in the United States, where he went to college. He trained as an architect, but never worked as one, instead trying his hand at interior design and teaching. His first book was Cathedral, followed by City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction, and Pyramid. He writes stories, too, such as Baaa (my personal favorite as a barnyard fellow), which tells how human beings vanished from the earth and are replaced by sheep who make the same mistakes.

Macaulay has said that the world would be a better place if everyone drew pictures because it would help them to learn to see things, and how things work, more clearly. Will one of these books change how you see the world?

Yours with snorts,

S. Will Burr signature

Holiday Mysteries

With the snow and ice swirling outside, curl up with one of these cozy holiday mysteries.

Kate DiCamillo & Literary Mice

Award-winning children’s author Kate DiCamillo discussed her book The Tale of Despereaux, a delightful story of a mouse in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea, at the Plaza Branch on January 9, 2009. Discover the wonder of her acclaimed fiction for kids or check out a few literary mice scampering across the pages of other children’s novels.

Different (and Cheap) Ways to Celebrate Christmas on DVD

In our current financial situation, it’s still important to focus on celebrating the holidays, and doing it cheaply is all the more crucial. These non-feature DVDs are available through your Kansas City Public Library. Have a great holiday!

The Food We Eat: Cultural Histories

The Kansas City Public Library is hosting events with three authors in January 2009 who have written cultural food histories. On January 6 at the Central Library, Ken Albala discusses Pancake: A Global History. Culinary historian Andrew Smith discusses Hamburger: A Global History on January 13 at the Plaza Branch.

RU Smarter? Media, Technology & Culture

Do your digital devices, video games, and web surfing alienate you from the world or create new connections? On January 8, 2009, Eugene Halton will discuss his new book The Great Brain Suck and Other American Epiphanies which argues that Americans know less and less as our world becomes more saturated with media messages, materialism, and mobile devices. Here are a few other books on the topic.

1970's America

Author William Graebner will talk about his latest book, Patty’s Got a Gun: Patricia Hearst in 1970s America, on January 21, 2009 at the Central Library. These books include historical accounts of the Patty Hearst story, explorations of 1970s America, pictorial works of life at the time, as well as novels set during the 70s.

American Slogans & Phrases

Derived from politics and advertising, slogans and catchphrases permeate American culture. On January 7, 2009, at the Central Library, Jan Van Meter will discuss his new book Tippecanoe and Tyler Too: Famous Slogans and Catchphrases in American History. Explore this book and others that tell the stories behind the expressions we hear and say.

Wright Brothers Day: Books on Flight

Observed since 1963, Wright Brothers Day on December 17 marks the anniversary of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first manned flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. What better way to appreciate the remarkable invention of the airplane than with a good book? Check out one of these biographies, histories, or memoir.

Poetry by Local Authors

The Philip Miller event on Dec. 28 has been canceled.

On December 28, 2008, at the Plaza Branch, Philip Miller will launch his sixth book of poetry, The Casablanca Fan. Called the “Godfather” of the Kansas City poetry scene, Miller was founder of The Riverfront Reading Series and a founding board member of The Writers Place. Check out Miller’s previous books or other books by local poets.

Postwar World War I Fiction

On December 10, 2008 at the Central Library, author Keith Gandal discussed his new book The Gun and the Pen: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and the Fiction of Mobilization. Check out Gandal’s work, other literary criticism, or some postwar World War I novels by American writers.

400 Years with John Milton

December 9, 2008 is the 400th anniversary of English poet John Milton’s birthday. Born in 1608, Milton wrote the epic poem Paradise Lost and had an enormous impact on English literature. Explore some of Milton’s work firsthand, read a biography of this influential man, or check out some fiction inspired by him.