KC Public Library Blog

Spooky Stories by Neil Gaiman

Do you like spooky stories?

Neil Gaiman is one of the spookiest writers around, although he also writes funny stories for kids and grown-ups.

I just finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.The main character is a boy who escapes, as a toddler, from the evil man Jack who kills his family. Nobody Owens is adopted by ghosts in the graveyard. He grows up among the tombstones and crypts. "Bod" has special cemetary privileges, such seeing in the dark. He learns magical things, such as willing himself to be almost invisible. One of his tutors is a werewolf. Bod learns how to fight ghouls and cope with the strange creature called the Sleer. When he tries to deal with flesh-and-blood bullies at a nearby school, however, he discovers that good intentions can lead to unexpected problems.

But the man Jack is on his trail--one day, Bod must confront the man who stalks him still.

What are your favorite spooky tales?

Yours with snorts,

S. Will Burr signature

The Global Economy

This reading list includes books that discuss our global economy from different perspectives.

Women in Art & Comics

Read up on women in art and comics in these books about prominent African American women artists and women cartoonists or check out one of their memoirs written in graphic novel form.

200 Years with Edgar Allan Poe

“Once upon a midnight dreary…” So begins “The Raven,” one of the spookiest poems by a master of the macabre and mysteries – Edgar Allan Poe. Born on January 19, 1809, this influential 19th century author of works such as the “The Tell Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” celebrates his 200th birthday this week.

Art in Missouri

Explore the art of the Show-Me State in these books that showcase Missouri’s art and its artists.

Memoirs: Fact or Fiction?

Over the past week, another (in this case, not yet published) memoir made the headlines for fabricating content. The release of the Holocaust memoir Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived was canceled by its publisher after the author Herman Rosenblat admitted he made up part of the story. A children’s book came out last fall based on his story (Angel Girl by Laurie Friedman) and its publisher is offering refunds to those who return their copy.

Crimes of the Century

Sensational crimes, notorious criminal cases – these books and films depict some of the most famous “crimes of the century.” Check out one of these works in conjunction with the talk at the Library with Howard Blum, author of American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century.

Urban Education: Books to Read

Explore books about urban education and the charter school movement in this related reading list for a series of presentations on What Works in Urban Education, co-hosted by Tom Bloch and Kansas City’s University Academy.

Kansas City Mob

Dig into the dirty past with a few books (and films) about the mob collected to complement the Missouri Valley Speakers Series on January 18, 2009 where Bill Ouseley presented the real story of combating and prosecuting organized crime in Kansas City. Ouseley is author of Open City: True Story of the KC Crime Family, 1900-1950.

Custer & the Battle of Little Bighorn

On January 14, 2009, author and historian Michael Elliott will discuss his new book Custerology: The Enduring Legacy of the Indian Wars and George Armstrong Custer at the Plaza Branch. Explore these books about this famous military commander, the battle known as “Custer’s Last Stand,” or the Oglala Lakota people.

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.