TEDxYouth@KC invites those 25 and younger to be a part of our annual TEDxYouth event that will take place in November. We are looking for passionate and engaged individuals that are putting their idea worth spreading into action. We are also looking for those youth interested in event planning, set design and construction, and video production for TEDxYouth@KC.

Join us on Saturday, August 16th at 1 p.m. to learn more, give input, and participate in the creation of an amazing TEDx event. The presentation will be hands-on and interactive and attendees should expect to be there for two hours. So come out and have an impact on this event. If you don’t show up, you can’t be heard.

RSVP for this event

TEDxYouth@KC is presented by the Kansas City Public Library, Camp Fire, Science City at Union Station, and TEDxKC.

Show Me Missouri!

Just because we live, work, and play here does not mean that we are experts on Missouri. The library is full of resources about your state. Learn more about it, and fall in love with the many interesting facets of this place we call home.

In the middle of the United States, Missouri is where famous people like author Mark Twain, scientist George Washington Carver and President Harry S. Truman were born. Call us stubborn like the Missouri mule (our state animal), but you can’t fault us for wanting to see the sources. To verify where I found this information, go to the Kansas City Public Library’s America the Beautiful database which is full of facts about all of the states.

Other than being in it, KC is also home to the Country Club Plaza, the Steamboat Arabia museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. In addition, we boast the first sizable museum focused on the history of jazz.

Another way that the Library can take you on a virtual tour of Missouri is through books. One such book is S is for Show Me: A Missouri Alphabet by Judy Young/ Illustrated by Ross B. Young. In it, your imagination can travel from A to Z through great sites and events here. For example, did you know that the first ice cream cone was invented for the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904? What a delicious bit of trivia!

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas. August marks her tenth year working in public libraries. She has done so in both Nevada and Missouri. Currently, Anna is Kansas City Public Library’s Education Librarian..

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Melanie Griffey is a petite woman with a warm presence and a ready smile. As a 43 year veteran teacher of Kindergarteners, and first and second graders, she gives new meaning to the term "retired." On Tuesdays she offers her considerable skills at the Plaza branch. She also volunteers with Children's Centers for the Visually Impaired teaching visually impaired children, The Children's Place (with the 4 year olds) and on Wednesdays she and her husband fill backpacks for Harvesters.

I was at Plaza Tuesday morning preparing to make popcorn—my official post at Ron Freeman's science program—when I had time for a brief chat with Melanie. Melanie was busy with her first task of the day, wiping off all the toys with Clorox wipes.

KT: Haven't you been here three years now?

MG: I think so. Being retired, I lose track of time.

KT: We are so happy to have you. Why did you choose the library?

MG: When I retired I knew I wanted to stay connected to kids and books and it was a no brainer to see if there was a need here at the Plaza children's section.

KT: What do you do here?

MG: Anything they want me to do. I usually start with the toys and then do the children's POSH [Pull On Shelf Holds] list. Sometimes I cut things out or get supplies together to support the pre-school story hour and craft activities.

Over 100 kids and their caregivers came to the library that morning shooting marshmallows, building marble runs, and setting off rockets. Melanie was unphased by the chaos. As I stood in a pool of spent kernels I looked over to see her fixated on the POSH list and watched as she placed each book in its exact spot on the shelf.

MG: I feel so privileged to have found great things to do in my retirement.

No, Melanie, the privilege is ours.

About the Author

Katie Taylor is a Development Associate and volunteer coordinator for the Kansas City Public Library.

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The Greek Coffin Mystery is currently available for checkout as an eAudiobook from Hoopla! >>>

 
The Greek Coffin Mystery is the fourth Ellery Queen mystery novel, and was published in 1932. The book was written by two cousins, Daniel Nathan (aka Frederic Dannay) and Manford Lepofsky (aka Manfred Bennington Lee), who coauthored the original novels under the pseudonym Ellery Queen. Ellery Queen is also the name of the novels’ detective as well, so that the illusion is created that the author of the books and the main character are one and the same. The novels, though, are not written in the first person, as are many of the hard-boiled detective novels, a device that gives the reader the sense that s/he is being told the story by the investigator him/herself.

The mystery can be summed up as follows: an elderly and wealthy Greek art dealer and collector, George Khalkis, dies, and at his funeral, it is noted that his will has gone missing. The District Attorney is informed, and Inspector Richard Queen of the NY Police is brought in to investigate. Tagging along is his college-aged son, Ellery. When it has been determined that the will is most likely in the coffin with the dead man, the coffin is opened only to reveal the body of an ex-convict who has been murdered. The will, though, is not found in the coffin.

And so the investigation begins in earnest to determine which of the guests or acquaintances of the dead collector was responsible for the death of the ex-convict, a man who had been involved in art forgery, and who seems to have made off with the will.

This book is typical of the classic mystery school, with the mystery as puzzle being key. The police are involved in the investigation, but like Lestrade and Gregson in the Sherlock Holmes stories, they are present only to provide access to the machinery of the police to the gifted amateur.

Like many of the early Ellery Queen novels, the title consists of "The + National Adjective + Common Noun + Mystery" (e.g. The Roman Hat Mystery, The French Powder Mystery, and The Dutch Shoe Mystery precede this novel). In those first three mysteries, the character of Ellery is more closely modeled on S.S. Van Dine’s Philo Vance, a patrician who loves to solve mysteries, and who is rather impatient with (as he sees them) the dim-witted police. Ellery even wears pince-nez glasses, and seems a lot like the arrogant and patrician Vance, which is somewhat surprising, given that his father is a police inspector who rose through the ranks – the chemistry between Ellery in those first few novels and his dad is a lot like (but with fewer comic payoffs) that between Dr. Frasier Crane and his retired police officer dad in Frasier.

The Greek Coffin Mystery presents a younger Ellery (this adventure takes place before the earlier published novels), with Ellery still in college. Ellery, though he is given to strange reveries, is not coldly arrogant in this novel. He also seems much more conversant with the classics of literature here than he had been in the earlier novels, where he seemed downright proud of his ignorance of the classics. He is more approachable than in the earlier novels, but he does display a young man’s confidence in his own infallibility and in a key chapter midway through the book, Ellery delivers a brilliant analysis of the case and offers up his own solution, which proves to be erroneous.

Ultimately Ellery, and his father, Inspector Queen, do get the culprit, but not before the reader is addressed by the authors with a “Challenge to the Reader,” in which the point is made that the reader has seen all the clues and so can, before the solution is given in the final chapter, attempt his/her own solution. Though all of the classic mystery authors are expected to engage in “fair play” and provide all the clues to the readers, Ellery Queen is unique in hitting the literary PAUSE button and issuing a direct challenge to the reader. Despite having all the clues, most readers will find it an almost insurmountable challenge, but that’s part of the fun of these brain-twisting puzzlers.

Though I chose to read The Greek Coffin Mystery this time around, I might as well have read any of the Ellery Queen novels using the formulaic title of The National Adjective Common Noun Mystery. All these novels are equally focused on the puzzle.

Interested readers might also want to look into some of the radio shows from the 40s — you can find some on The Internet Archive — these radio dramas follow the same sort of formula as the books, though Ellery is generally accompanied by a secretary, Nikki Porter. By the late 30s, when Ellery went to radio, the fictional Ellery has become a mystery novelist, who also solves mysteries, a creative approach later used on TV (in the 1950s and 1970s). The intriguing part of the radio shows was that each show had a panel of “experts,” often including some celebrity, who were asked to offer their solution to the mystery before Ellery himself gives the solution and the reasoning behind it.

So whether you choose to read, or listen to, or watch some Ellery Queen, you’ll find an intriguing puzzle, and a direct challenge to you to see if you can solve the puzzle. If you pay close attention, you just may do it.

About the Author

Bernard Norcott-Mahany, a library technical assistant at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch, is our resident connoisseur of classic literature. He is also the leader of the Black Classics and In the Heat of the Night book groups.

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Great, by Sara Benincasa

Teen Reviewer: Keely McLouth

What would your life be like if your mother was famous? Most of us think Life would be amazing!, but that is not the answer for Naomi Rye. Not only are her parents divorced, Naomi has to spend a whole summer with her uptight, famous mother. In this intruiging story, Naomi is prepared for her usual summer of famous people and fake friends.

When Naomi's model friend Delilah catches the eye of a famous blogger, she'll get caught in a web of secrets and lies. Not to mention her sort-of boyfriend only seems to care about one thing. As Naomi finally starts to live on the "fabulous side of life", will she start to become someone she's not? Will she get so caught up in the drama that she forgets about her real life in favor of the "reality show" kind of life she's experiencing?

In this unique tale, Naomi learns who she really is. I think the beauty of it is that it shows all the sides everybody really has. But there's still one question buzzing throughout the book: Can she keep a secret?

This week, Building a Community of Readers will begin to highlight the wonderful things happening in different departments and branches of our Kansas City Public Library community. Building a Community of Readers is not simply an invitation to visit your local Library. We seek to empower Kansas Citians to join our efforts to become a more engaged city.

The Library is full of movers and shakers, unafraid of change, who are devoted to finding new and innovative ways to make the Library experience better.

Our journey begins with the lovely people who choose which books go on the shelf—Collection Development. I met with Debbie Stoppello, Collection Development Manager, located on the second basement level of the Central Library building.

Immediately, Debbie set me straight; Collection Development is much more than buying books. The Collection Development department manages and maintains print and electronic collections, databases, and special collections such as the Kauffman collection.

Collection Development is one of our newest departments, which used to fall under Collections Management. In the old system, development was decentralized—each branch was responsible for its own collection. Under their new system, they take a holistic approach to development. With the centralization, the department can make decisions for the whole Library system, and has successfully saved the Library thousands of dollars through their evaluation process.

With different branches, serving different demographics, and working rather autonomously, it can be challenging choosing what is best for collections overall, but the Collection Development department makes every effort to find new ways to streamline their system.


Inside the first floor of the Westport branch,
managed by Megan Garrett.
 

In November of 2013, Megan Garrett was promoted to Branch Manager at our Westport Branch. For one of her first undertakings, Megan met with Debbie Stoppello and Erica Voell from Collection Development to reorganize Westport’s collection.

They created a list of things that had not been checked out recently, or were needed at other branches. With the proximity of the Westport branch to both the Plaza branch and Central, Westport receives many returns. During the weeding, reorganizing, and shifting period, the team was able to send some great books to the two other Libraries. For months the three of them worked diligently on the collection.

In the end, Westport’s adult fiction was moved downstairs to improve circulation, the teen collection remained upstairs, but with a new space for teens, non-fiction moved upstairs, and new books are now displayed front and center, to give many patrons better access to what they want.

I asked Megan how the patrons responded to the new system. She said they have been positive, if not at first a bit confused. But, that is what our great Library staff is for. “We’re happy to help them find the stuff they are looking for,” Megan said.

The project was completed in April, in time for the monthly board meeting, which was held at the Westport branch.

Debbie and Erica’s work in Collection Development, and their work with Megan in the Westport branch are just a couple of many examples of teams of people who are working to make the Library a part of a sustainable community.

Many people can see when changes need to be made, but it takes someone special to decide that they are the person to do it. The Library is made up of those people, who work every day to make the experience inclusive to all people, regardless of background, and to add to the wonderful landscape of Kansas City.

Keep up with Building a Community of Readers to learn more about the exciting projects happening to turn Kansas City into one of the most literate cities in the country.

A city that reads is a city that leads!

About the Author

Alex Krause is the Building a Community of Readers Project Director. Originally from Omaha, she has been in Kansas City long enough to stop using the excuse that she’s “new to this town.” Alex enjoys traveling, the outdoors, dabbling in cooking, and will quickly tell you of her years in a Pantomime Troupe.

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Awaken, by Katie Kacvinsky

Teen Reviewer: Keely McLouth

Imagine a world full of technology, but not like what we have now. Imagine something more, a lot more, different. Where people can't remember what it's like to have human contact with people other than their families. Yes, they are in each other's presence, but they aren't connecting.

That is the world Maddie lives in, a world full of chat rooms and fake walks on the beach. When she meets Justin, who is striving to bring back the real world, will she snap out of her faze or will the pressure of her father and her past hold her back? As Maddie learns from Justin and his friends, how long will it take for them to convince everybody that technology is taking away the qualities that make them human? How far will they go to protect each other from the people trying to destroy their plan?

This tale made me clench my teeth in suspense as I felt sucked into the adventure. This magnificent tale gives us something that we can all relate to and warns readers about what our world is becoming. As Maddie tries to figure out who she can trust and how she can fix everything, we have to ask ourselves, Would we actually try to bring reality back?

The Chaos, by Nalo Hopkinson

Teen Reviewer: Abigail Borne

The Chaos is centered on Sojourner, aka “Scotch”, who starts developing black blemishes all over her body. She dreads going to school and fears that somebody might discover her past if she’s not careful. When her parents go out of state, she and her brother Rich see a chance to be free of their overbearing parents.

They go to a bar where a ball of light appears and Scotch dares Rich to touch it. When he does, he disappears and Scotch’s whole world is thrown into chaos: a volcano appears in the middle of a lake; stuffed animals come to life; running water turns into sprite; people change, not in good ways. Scotch watches in horror to see her blemish growing and spreading all over her body, but she can’t seem to stop it.

Then she meets an old woman who seems to have adopted a house with chicken legs and her world gets much crazier. Who is good and who is evil in this insane new world? Will things ever be normal again for Scotch? For the world? This book is full of twists and turns that you never see coming, so be prepared for a wild ride.

As a parent of a seven-month-old, I was curious about All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood as it made the rounds through my friends’ Goodreads accounts. My interest was piqued by friends’ reviews and with Jennifer Senior’s visit to the Library in early June. I’m not big on parenting books except when I want to know what new thing my daughter may be doing this month. But nearly everything that I read I think, “my child isn’t doing that” or “that’s not my experience.”

I could only fit this book in by listening to the audiobook. When I started it I had no idea what I was in for. Senior narrates the audiobook with enthusiasm and a heart for the material. She’s obviously a parent herself not just from the material but also in her inflections. My plan was just to listen to the first few chapters about parenting babies and young children. Soon, though, I was so drawn into this book that I had to finish it.

All Joy and No Fun covers the years of parenthood from birth through late adolescence. She shares many stories of parents and grandparents who are raising children, backing up those experiences with serious research. No topic is off-limits, from sleep deprivation of new parents to how children affect marriages to dealing with identity issues as parents of teenagers.

Today middle class parents are more likely to have lead productive, full lives for several years before children enter in the picture, which explains the difficult transition to parenthood. No books or classes fully prepare you for the first few months as a parent. Sleep deprivation takes on a whole new meaning, as you have no idea how you’ll ever be able to leave the house in one piece or if you’ll ever experience a quiet moment alone ever again.

In her recent interview with Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up to Date, Senior mentioned how many parenting books today seem to be about either postpartum depression and troubled child problems or how to enrich your wonderful life with your child. Very few books discuss the day-to-day craziness of parenting and how some days you begin to wonder, “is this what I really signed up for?”

[video:http://youtu.be/jSL7qCXwjZc]
Senior spoke at the Library on June 5, 2014. You can watch
the full video of her talk here.

She also follows a history of the family through the 20th Century and how parenting changed drastically over the last 100 years in ways our grandparents would barely recognize. Working parents have new demands that they didn’t even have 15 years ago with smart phones and the expectation of being connected even after leaving work.

While Senior discusses many of the struggles of modern parenting from living far from relatives and the role of technology on parents, she also discusses the the wonderful things about being parents. The last chapter in the book is all about joy, making a strong distinction from happiness. While we focus so much on happiness, it doesn’t encompass those transcendent moments of pure joy and grace.

All Joy and No Fun begins a dialogue about how children change their parents. It made me realize that my experience as a parent is very normal and that many of my emotions during the rough times are what many other parents experience. My hope is that this will start a dialogue about what social structures we lack in our country to help support families. It’s an essential book for parents of children of any age to read, including grandparents.

About the Author

Erica Voell

Erica Voell is the Youth Collection Development Librarian at the Kansas City Public Library. She enjoys gardening, sewing, knitting, seeking out gluten-free vegetarian cuisine around the city - and yes, being a good librarian, she is owned by a cat.

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Shelter: A Mickey Bolitar Novel, by Harlan Coben

Teen Reviewer: Jade Johann

This book is about a teenage boy named Mickey Bolitar who is facing major life changes. How would you feel if you witnessed your father’s death, had your mom go into rehab, and then have to live with your uncle and move to a different school? These are things Mickey is dealing with. His life is a roller coaster spinning out of control.

Before Mickey starts his new school he is forced to participate in team building exercises at his orientation. There he meets Ashley and Emma, otherwise known as “Ema.” Ashley becomes his girlfriend, then strangely disappears. This gets him wondering where she is and why she hasn’t tried to contact him. He is also worried that his dad is still alive because his creepy neighbor they call “Bat Lady” filled his head with these thoughts. At school Mickey also meets Spoon (Mickey nicknamed him that) and they soon become friends. Mickey, Ema, and Spoon join forces to try to find out what happened to Ashley.

I really liked the characters that the author created. Mickey’s friends were very entertaining. Emma transforms from a person who doesn’t like people into a person capable of being a friend. Spoon is the comic relief of the book, he loves to spout random facts. He is also the son of the high school janitor, which allows him access to the building as well as security footage. I did not like that the book did not explain more about the aboena shelter and what they do. The book became confusing switching between the main focus of finding Ashley to trying to decipher what exactly the Bat Lady was talking about when she said Mickey’s father was alive. Overall the book was a good read.

Movie studios messed with the Hollywood Production Code at their own peril.

The code – in place from the early 1930s through the early ‘60s – was a guideline of do’s and don’ts that were to be followed by any motion picture released by one of the major studios.

Some of the code’s rules seem absurd today. Like the idea that evil must always be punished before the lights come up. Or that even married couples must sleep in twin beds. Or that movie audiences should never see a – gasp! – toilet.

Long before the cameras rolled the studios submitted their screenplays to be vetted by the Production Code’s staff. Offensive dialogue was eliminated. Certain plot points might have to be tweaked. Occasionally the code folk pronounced an entire film unfit for moral reasons.

Film Screening:
In Name Only (1939)
Saturday, June 21 at 1:30 p.m.
Central Library

Why would the studios handcuff themselves artistically by submitting to such a system?

Well...money. Before the Production Code, hundreds of censorship boards in cities, counties, and states around the U.S. were in the business of watching films and demanding changes. It was a royal pain, since a scene that was OK with the censors in Ohio might be banned by the censors in Alabama. The studios had neither the time nor the inclination to re-edit their movies for different locales.

The Production Code solved that problem by setting standards that would be acceptable everywhere in the U.S. The idea was that a film could play in any city or state, to any sort of moviegoer (old or young, male or female), without causing offense.

And it worked. Once the code was in place, most local censorship boards were shut down. The movies were now a one-size-fits-all proposition.

1939’s In Name Only was made under the Production Code, of course. But somehow it managed to bend the usual rules out of shape.

It’s about a husband who falls for another woman – and ends with him happily leaving his wife for his new love.

That plot line should have put In Name Only on the code’s naughty list. Marriage was sacrosanct under the code, yet here was a movie that argues that under some circumstances, destroying a marriage is a good thing.

How did they get away with it?

Well, for starters, Richard Sherman’s screenplay appeals to the code rule that holds evil must be punished. It makes the wife a bad person, one deserving of her comeuppance.


Cary Grant, Carole Lombard & Kay Francis

Here’s the setup: Alec Walker (Cary Grant), the heir to a vast fortune, is stuck in a loveless marriage to Maida (Kay Francis). Maida doesn’t love Alec and only married him for the money, but she is so good at faking selfless concern and virtuous behavior that she has everyone fooled, especially Alec’s millionaire father (Charles Coburn).

Behind closed doors she’s a vicious, cold, calculating harpy. When there are others around Maida plays the virtuous wife.

Another thing that allows the filmmakers to get away with it: the likability factor cornered by Grant and his leading lady, Carole Lombard.

Lombard, usually known for her comedy chops, plays it straight here as Julie, a widow with a young daughter who rents a small house on the Walker estate. She and Alec meet cute one day when she’s attempting to fly fish on a local pond and he stops by to dispense angling advice.

They talk, they start to feel an attraction. Alec, of course, isn’t free to pursue Julie...but he does anyway.

Julie has been written as a decent woman who wants no part of being a home wrecker. It’s only when Alec convinces her of Maida’s perfidy that she agrees to bear the slings and arrows of outraged society and be seen in public with her married love.

You can imagine some underpaid Production Code censor struggling through the screenplay, torn between his dedication to conventional marriage and his embracing of Alec and Julie’s pure love.

And just how pure is their love, really? Well, thanks to the Production Code there can be no hint that Alec and Julie are having sex out of marriage. Heck, the code didn’t even want to consider the possibility of sex within marriage. It could handle the birth of a baby...just not the making of a baby.

But even in 1939 most people were hip to the birds and the bees. Watching In Name Only some of them undoubtedly imagined Alec and Julie having a physical relationship. I mean, you can’t stop people from imagining, can you?

While there’s considerable charm and humor in the early stages of Alec and Julie’s relationship, things soon get melodramatic as the wicked Maida finds ways to paint the inoffensive Julie as a husband-snatcher. But being the vicious witch she is, she overplays her hand.

No point in ruining the big payoff. Let’s just say that In Name Only gets away with breaking up a marriage, leaving just about everyone – especially audience members – feeling the better for it.

Other films in the series “Hollywood’s Greatest Year, 1939: Comedy (Part 2)”

Saturdays at 1:30 p.m.:

Admission to these films is free.

About the Author

Robert W. Butler is a lifelong Kansas City area resident, a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School and the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. For several decades he was the movie editor of the Kansas City Star; he now writes a movie-themed blog at butlerscinemascene.com. He joined the Library's Public Affairs team in 2012.

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A World Without Princes, by Soman Chainani

Teen Reviewer: Abigail Borne

A World Without Princes centers once again on Sophie and Agatha, who are finally home. Having escaped the school master, they can now live in peace…or so they thought.

When Agatha accidentally makes a wish for a different ending, the barrier between the fairy tale world and theirs shatters and Sophie finds herself hunted by strange men in red hoods. Sophie and Agatha barely manage to escape the red hooded assassins and find themselves at the School for Good which has been transformed into something else. When Agatha had kissed Sophie back to life in Book One, she unknowingly started a chain of events that led to all the castles and women kicking the men out.

Not knowing who is friend or foe, Sophie and Agatha have to remain a step ahead or risk being torn apart. The two girls seem inseparable until a betrayal sets the two at odds. Who will win? Good or Evil? A World Without Princes will surprise you at every turn and do things that you will never see coming. So be prepared for a wild ride!

The Space Between, by Brenna Yovanoff

Teen Reviewer: Keely McLouth

Darkly beautiful and twisted, The Space Between is a mysterious story unlike any book I've ever read. With many twists and turns, Brenna Yovanoff's writing continues to surprise me. This book touched my heart with many waves of emotions as Daphne and Truman take on a dangerous adventure to save Daphne's brother from the most threatening duo on Earth.

This beautiful tale balances on the border of good and evil, giving a new perspective on what is right and wrong. Questions swarmed throughout the novel, which offers an understanding of how fragile humanity is. Will Daphne complete her quest or will a greater loss drive her closer to humanity? Will Daphne finally accept what she has been pushing away her whole life all because of Truman's tragic story? As this beautiful demon from Pandemonium teams up with handsome seventeen year old Truman, will Daphne be able to fight the temptation gnawing at her heart and how far will she go to protect him?

The Space Between left me in awe with the feeling of escape and will most definitely spark an amazing reaction in all of those who dare to jump into this spiral of love, hope, and danger.

For those of us fortunate enough to have good friends in our life, we understand how important they are! Friends are fun, friends are trustworthy, and friends are there to help you when in need. Here are some fun books about characters creating new friendships!

Paul Meets Bernadette
By Rosy Lamb

Paul is a goldfish. Paul likes to swim, swim, swim all day in his goldfish bowl. Then, Bernadette dropped in. SPLASH! Bernadette is also a goldfish. Paul continues to swim, swim, and swim. Bernadette wonders why Paul swims around all day long. “What else is there to do?” Paul inquires. Bernadette begins to show Paul the wonders of the objects outside of their bowl with some of her own hilarious interpretations. Paul is not only excited to learn about the new discoveries outside of his bowl, but also excited about his new friend, Bernadette. Full of beautiful brush stroke-like illustrations, Paul Meets Bernadette is a sweet story about two new friends creating a bond through insight and exploration.

Two Tough Crocs
By David Bedford, Illustrated By Tom Jellett

Sylvester and Arnold are two big, tough crocs. One day Sylvester and Arnold are chasing smaller animals, and without looking crash into each other. The swamp was so large and wide that Sylvester and Arnold had never met. Sylvester and Arnold immediately try to frighten each other. They show their sharp teeth, they bulge out their eyes; they both even do their favorite two claw grip on each other. But then while wrestling, they hear a loud hiss above and meet Betty, the biggest, toughest, sharpest teeth, bulgiest eyed croc ever. Betty uses her favorite two claw grip on both of them and throws them in the mud! Sylvester and Arnold don’t feel like such tough crocs anymore. Sylvester and Arnold wait until night to leave, afraid of running into Betty again. While escaping, Sylvester and Arnold accidentally scare Betty and she falls back into the mud. Betty didn’t seem like such a tough croc anymore either. From that day forward, Sylvester, Arnold, and Betty decide that when they play, they will no longer have mean, ugly faces, but happy friendly ones instead. Two Tough Crocs is a great story about learning to play nicely, with an anti-bully message, underlined with just a taste of self-discovery and realization.

Rosie and Rex: A Nose for Fun!
By Bob Boyle

Rosie and Rex are best friends! They can’t wait to spend the day playing and laughing together. Rex wants to play robots, but Rosie wants to have a princess ballerina tea party. Rosie tells Rex that robots are not fun. Rex doesn’t think robots like tea. Rex and Rosie seem lost about what to do next until they come across a weird object on their path. Is it a sippy cup? Is it a vase? Maybe a robot helmet! Robots are not fun, says Rosie. Maybe it’s a bird feeder! Maybe a robot telescope! Sorry Rex, but robots are not fun. Little did Rosie and Rex know that their weird object is actually a robot's nose. Rosie, Rex, and the Robot celebrate with a Princess Ballerina Robot Tea Party! Rosie and Rex learn that with a little creative thinking, there is space for everyone’s ideas and you might be surprised about how much fun you have!

Two Speckled Eggs
By Jennifer K. Mann

It is Ginger's birthday and she's excited to invite all of the girls in her class to her party, except for Lyla Browning. Ginger’s Mom says all girls are invited or no girls are invited. Ginger chooses to invite Lyla. On the day of her party, Ginger is totally excited to play games, eat cake, and open presents! Lyla Browning shows up unconventionally early. Eventually, all the guests arrive for the party. Ginger is ready to start playing party games, but all the other girls keep wrecking them and changing the rules, except for Lyla Browning. They didn't even like her favorite cake, everyone except for Lyla Browning. They decide to open presents, but out of all of them, one stands out the most. A handmade brown box with a colorful nest that had two speckled eggs made of malted milk! And can you guess who got her this wonderful present? Yes, it was Lyla Browning indeed. Ginger was so happy with Lyla, they played together the rest of the party. Even when everyone left, Lyla stayed to play some more. A good story for anyone that has ever felt a little odd, Ginger learns a valuable lesson about judging others, and that friendships can arise when you least expect it.

About the Author

Shaun Teamer

Shaun Teamer is a creator and storyteller. He enjoys drawing, reading, animating, and hanging out with his friends. Shaun is currently a youth associate at the Kansas City Central Library.

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About the Author

Shaun Teamer

Shaun Teamer is a creator and storyteller. He enjoys drawing, animating, and reading comic books and graphic novels. Shaun works as a youth associate for the Central Library.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest

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