Sea of Shadows, by Kelley Armstrong

Teen Reviewer: Grace Anne Pedrino

Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of their small village, Edgewood. The Keeper and Seeker's job is to keep quiet the souls of the Damned - the dead people's souls.

But, on their mission to do so, they are separated and abandoned in a wasteland that is no longer empty. As they journey back together they experience many hardships, such as betrayals and abandonment. But even those tragedies are no match for the brewing war.

The Sea of Shadows was an extraordinary book. It was written wonderfully and with care. It made me feel as though I was right with the characters all along. It was an amazing book. I literally could NOT put it down. The characters were very realistic. They even had realistic reactions. Even the minor characters had realistic reactions. Even so, the ending made you need the next book, it was so good. BUT, I personally could have gone without the cliffhanger ending. Regardless, it was a great book. 5 stars.

Maya Angelou lent grace even to Twitter.

“Listen to yourself,” the 86-year-old author and poet tapped out late last week, “and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

It would be the last of her 255 tweets — to nearly 400,000 followers — and among the last public pronouncements from an American treasure. Angelou died Wednesday at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, closing an extraordinary life that began in Missouri and yielded what President Obama described as “one of the brightest lights of our time.”

Most acclaimed for her seven autobiographical volumes and perhaps best loved for the poetry that brought her to the podium at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, Angelou accumulated Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award nominations, three Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts and, in 2011 the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She once worked as a streetcar conductor and a restaurant cook, once was a madam and a prostitute, once danced in nightclubs and sang calypso. Her experiences shaped her and her writing, and her willingness to write about even the most ugly and painful of them — including a childhood rape — broke new ground for African American women.

It also struck some nerves. Angelou’s first and most praised autobiography, the best-selling I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969 and covered her birth in St. Louis, the rape, and nearly five subsequent years in which she didn’t speak in the wake of the rapist’s murder. In identifying him, she later explained, she felt she had killed him.

But the subject matter, which also included racism and homosexuality, and the volume’s sometimes-raw language made it a banned-book target. Caged Bird ranked sixth on the American Library Association’s lists of top 100 banned and challenged books of the decade from 2000-2009, just behind Of Mice and Men. A decade earlier, it ranked third.

Angelou kept good company. Steinbeck. Twain. Salinger. Toni Morrison.

She ruffled a different set of feathers a little more than 12 years ago, when she partnered with Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards on a line of greeting cards and other household items ranging from bookends and wall hangings to pillows and mugs. Leading poets sniffed their displeasure at the supposed lower-brow platform.

Angelou told USA TODAY that she found it “challenging and daring,” recalling one struggle to pare five pages of writing down to a single sentence: "The wise woman wishes to be no one's enemy, the wise woman refuses to be anyone's victim.”

She told the newspaper, “When I finally got it just to those two lines, I came into the dining room and poured myself a glass of red wine!”

Throughout her career, a vast majority celebrated her work with her. Angelou taught. She provoked. She inspired.

“Still I Rise,” the title piece of her third volume of poetry — published in 1978 — speaks eloquently to her life’s journey:

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

For manga or graphic novel lovers, or any fan of the sequential art form, comes Comics Plus - Library Edition! Through Comics Plus and The Kansas City Public Library, patrons with a library card and email address can checkout free e-comics. With a 10-book maximum for a 7-day checkout, kids, teens, and even adults can access a wide range of comics, classic favorites, and full manga series all from your own personal or public computer, phone, or tablet device.

Inside Comics Plus - Library Edition, you can find volumes of some of your favorite comics. Many of these texts are out of print with the publisher, but are now available at the click of a checkout button. From classic favorites like Charlie Brown and The Peanuts, Garfield, Marmaduke, and Dilbert to Viz Media titans like BLEACH, Dragonball, Naruto, and One Piece, Comics Plus has a little something for every comic book enthusiast. You may even find something new to read in the collection.

Comics are categorized by publisher, or you can search by age group. The material on Comics Plus, ranges from ages 5 and up, to 16+. There are also familiar fiction titles and popular shows like the Big Nate series, NFL Rush Zone, Adventure Time, and Bravest Warriors comics available for checkout.

New registers will need to know their library card number and email address to log in. Yet with automatic check-in and return, you will never have to worry about items being misplaced or incurring fees. Comics Plus - Library Edition is a great new digital resource available through the Kansas City Public Library anytime, right at your fingertips. Made for all kinds of comic book lovers, Comics Plus is an awesome collection for the seasoned comic reader or anyone just beginning their leap into comic books or graphic novels.


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

What does it mean to be part of two cultures? Kids who grow up in the United States but who are adopted from other countries ask themselves this often. They navigate the challenges and enjoy the richness of their complex heritages. In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, below are books about international adoption with parents from the United States and babies from Asia. Whether or not your family has experienced cross-cultural adoption, these stories will resound. At their center, they are about the love between parents and their children.

My Mei Mei by Ed Young is based on his real life. His older daughter, who was adopted from China, talks about the adoption of her baby sister, Mei Mei, when she was three. This story follows the tensions and delights of sisterhood.

Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale by Karen Henry Clark/ Illustrated by Patrice Barton takes a fantastical view of the adoption process. A Chinese couple wants a better life for their baby daughter, so they send her down river in a basket. Animals carry the sleeping baby along while her adoptive parents in America travel far to bring her home.

Goyangi Means Cat by Christine McDonnell/ Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher depicts the growing pains that a young girl has when she immigrates from Korea to the United States. She cannot speak English, but her adoptive parents learn some Korean words so that they can communicate. The girl, Soo Min, bonds with the family cat and finally feels at home when the lost feline returns.

Every Year on Your Birthday by Rose Lewis/ Illustrated by Jane Dyer is a love letter from a mother to the daughter she adopted from China. It describes how the family celebrated each of her birthdays up to when she turned five. The text and pictures show how they integrate part of American life with traditions from her Chinese heritage.

The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale by Grace Lin is a story within a story. An Asian girl and her Caucasian parents are reading together. The book is about a king and queen who follow the red strings tugging painfully at their hearts, to discover, at the end, a beautiful baby meant just for them. The story makes subtle connections between the contemporary family reading the book and the one in the fairytale.

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas and has worked for over nine years in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri. Currently, Anna is Kansas City Public Library’s Education Librarian.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

Alice in the Country of Hearts, Omnibus Vol. 1, by QuinRose

Teen Reviewer: Erica Whorton

Alice in the Country of Hearts is a manga series based on the Japanese game Alice in the Country of Hearts Wonderful Wonder World, which in itself is a re-imagining of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

Instead of Alice following a white rabbit into wonderland, she is kidnapped by the white rabbit and is forced to play a game. In the Country of Hearts the pedestrians carry weapons and do not care about life at all. Alice is confused and has to adapt to the way of life there whether she likes it or not. There is romance along with action. I like this manga because it is very humorous. The art in it is excellent. I would definitely recommend it to others. Even though it is girly, I believe guys would like it too.

When it comes to books about monsters, be prepared for all kinds! At a very young age, we create these creatures from the detailed corners of our imagination; it’s no surprise that there is no limit to the possibility and creation of monster stories. Below are just a few fun monster reads, either for the monster lover at heart or for someone looking for monsters with a funny and friendly side!

The Ghastly Dandies Do the Classics
By Ben Gibson

Look who’s coming, it’s the Ghastly Dandies! Who are the Ghastly Dandies you might ask? Well, they’re dapper, they’re erudite, and they’re monstrous! The Ghastly Dandies are beastly creatures who act out quick renditions of your favorite literary classics, such as Moby Dick, Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, Hamlet and many more. Each interpretation told by the Ghastly Dandies is funnier than the last! With amazing art and design that nicely transfers from tale to tale, The Ghastly Dandies Do the Classics is great for longtime readers who will immediately recognize the references and implications, but also great for those new to these classic literary themes and imagery.

Words By Sonia Goldie Pictures By Marc Boutavant

Have you ever seen a ghost? The kind wearing a white sheet with holes cut out of it, floating around saying boo over and over? Well, Ghosts would tell you that you’re sadly mistaken! Welcome to the Ghost Ball, where we party and learn the real truth about household ghosts. You can slide down the chimney with Chimney Ghost, discover reappearing wall art with the Picture Ghost, or even make a stop for a restroom break to chat with Bathroom Ghost. Ghosts is a fun book with a multitude of illustrations on each page, and with a specialized text layout per ghost that wonderfully makes your eyes travel from the top to the bottom.

Monster Chefs
By Brian and Liam Anderson

The horribly horrible Monster King is tired of only eating eyeballs and ketchup. He wants to eat something new! So the Monster King summons his four monster chefs to find him something new to eat. But what does a horrible Monster King like to eat? Rabbits? No. Fish? Nope. Snakes? I don’t think so. But, what the fourth and last monster chef finally brings for the king may change monster time dinner forever! A success for its conventional use of repetition and rhythmic storytelling, Monster Chefs will keep you wondering until the very end.

About the Author

Shaun Teamer

Shaun Teamer is a creator and storyteller. He enjoys drawing, reading, and hanging out with the Loch Ness Monster. When he is not looking for Bigfoot, he 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

Fairy tales, myths and classic tales. We can’t get enough of them, and luckily publishers and authors agree! Below is a list of retellings, and if you STILL can’t get enough ask your local librarian for more recommendations, or check out this massive list that Epic Reads compiled:

Fairy Tales:

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
A classic middle grade retelling of the Cinderella story.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer*
Puts a cyborg twist to Cinderella.

Ash by Malinda Lo*
Yet another Cinderella retelling, this time with a LGBTQ angle.

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
Haunting, scary version of The Little Mermaid.

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale*
Graphic novel for middle grades.

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koetge, Ilus by Andrea Dezso
Macabre, intense retelling of several different fairy tales.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
Retelling of the Snow Queen.

The sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley
Two sisters turn detective in order to explore their fairy tale ancestors.


Splintered by A.G. Howard*
Alice in Wonderland. First in a series.

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel*
A different take on the story of Frankenstein.

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen*
Gender bending the Peter Pan tale.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Peter Pan retelling from Tiger Lily’s point of view.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund*
Dramatic retelling of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”.

The Dark Lady by Irene Adler (Iacopo Bruno)
Middle grade version of Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes’s relationship.


Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
Boy finds out he is a descendant of Poseidon. Chaos ensues.

The Olympian series by George O’ Conn
Graphic novels, each exploring a different God or Goddess legend.

The Cronus Chronicles series by Anne Ursu
A girl must save humankind. Greek myths.

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White*
Human daughter of Egyptian Gods, trying to find her place in the world and in her family.

*denotes that the book is part of a series

Ross MacDonald (pen name for Kenneth Millar [pron. Miller]) was one of the triumvirate of great hard-boiled detective fiction, the others being Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Just as Chandler looked to Hammett, the pioneer, MacDonald looked to Chandler, whom he called a “slumming angel.”

MacDonald was the last of the three to start writing, publishing stories while still a graduate student at the University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in English literature with a dissertation on romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. MacDonald is credited with bringing to the hard-boiled genre a psychological depth of characterization and motivation. And it is with this book, The Galton Case, that MacDonald’s fiction really begins to take a much more psychological direction.

MacDonald was married to Margaret Millar, a fellow Canadian. Ms. Millar was a mystery author in her own right, whose novels often took a psychological and even pathological bent (Note: MacDonald chose a pen name so that his own work would not be confused with his wife’s work). Her earliest mysteries featured psychiatrist Paul Prye as detective, and her later stand-alone novels often involved instances of psycho-pathology.

MacDonald’s early novels were consciously imitative of Raymond Chandler’s work, as you can see from this brief excerpt: “A Harvard chair stood casually in one corner. I sat down on it, in the interest of self-improvement.” And later, when he’s summoned to his client’s secretary, he gets up from the chair noting: “I got up out the Harvard chair. It was like being expelled.”

MacDonald’s detective, Lew Archer, like Philip Marlowe, was a former member of the police, now an independent investigator, and like Marlowe, was let go because he was not a team player. MacDonald’s style was originally a lot closer to the syncopated style of Chandler, and in his earliest outings, his detective was more cynical than he would later become. Over time, Archer became less hardened, and more world-weary. He could still utter wise-cracks with the best of them, but he clearly came to be much more sympathetic to the unfortunates with whom he came into contact in his investigations.

In The Galton Case, Archer goes to track down a wealthy man long alienated from his family. What he finds instead is a youngster claiming to be the man’s son. He had grown up in Canada, however, far from California, where he had been born. The young man seems to have some secrets, though, and Archer stays on the case at the request of the Galton physician, even after the young man is introduced to the elderly Mrs. Galton. This novel marked a shift towards more psychologically rich characterization and to more Oedipal stories, features that would become standard in subsequent Archer novels. Some of the impetus towards greater psychological writing may have come from his wife’s novels, which were psychologically oriented. And MacDonald himself underwent psychoanalysis around the time he began working on this book, through which he came to consciousness of issues he had with his own absent father. And in John Galton, Ross MacDonald crafted a character very much like MacDonald in his twenties. Like the young Galton, MacDonald was born in California, lost his father at an early age, was raised by relatives in Canada, and went to college at the University of Michigan.

MacDonald was hugely influential on the next generation of hard-boiled detective authors, especially Robert B. Parker, whose own doctoral dissertation at Boston University, "The Violent Hero: Wilderness Heritage and Urban Reality", focused on the works of Hammett, Chandler, and MacDonald. Parker’s hero Spenser may owe his name to Chandler’s Marlowe (both named after Elizabethan poets and both knights errant in their own way), but Spenser’s sympathetic involvement with his clients recalls Archer more than Marlowe. Note: MacDonald named his detective after Lew Wallace (author of Ben-Hur) and Miles Archer, Sam Spade’s partner at the start of The Maltese Falcon. Sue Grafton, author of the popular alphabet series (starting with A is for Alibi) featuring Kinsey Milhone, places her detective in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, the same town where Lew Archer operated in years past (Santa Teresa was a thinly disguised Santa Barbara, where MacDonald lived for most of his adult life).

If you’re eager for more MacDonald (and who isn’t?), you might also try The Chill, The Ivory Grin, The Zebra-Striped Hearse, The Far Side of the Dollar, and The Blue Hammer. If you’d like to watch a movie based on MacDonald’s Archer, you might check out Harper (based on The Moving Target) and The Drowning Pool, both starring Paul Newman as Lew Harper (I don’t know of any definitive reason for the name change – there’s more than one explanation out there). You can’t go wrong with Ross MacDonald for hard-boiled fiction with heart and psychological depth.

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.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

I grew up in a family that was filled with voracious readers. From the time my brothers and sister and I were very, very young, we heard our parents reading to us and telling us stories of when they were young.

I fell in love with words and letters as far back as I could remember. I found it fascinating to watch Mom and Dad simply look down at an open book and then hear as this steady flow of words and sentences and paragraphs and stories would flow out of their mouths.

At that time, I didn’t have the necessary words I needed to describe what I was feeling, but I could see that my parents had the key to unlock this amazing mystery, and I yearned, almost ached to discover the secret so I could do the same thing.

My mom loved to tell the story about when my sister Barb and I first got our library cards.

I grew up in Boise, Idaho, and our family made regular trips to the Boise Public Library, which I later learned was one of the Carnegie libraries. It sat on the outskirts of the downtown business area, its entrance just one block west, as the crow flies, from the entrance to the church we attended. The children's department was partly below ground level, and had its own separate entrance on the south side of the building—concrete steps leading down from the sidewalk that circled from the front of the building, where the grown-up steps went up to the front entrance.

For local residents the only requirement to get a library card was to write your name on the form. (I imagine you also had to show some form of ID, but Mom’s library card apparently probably covered Barb and me.) I was about four years old and, as I’ve indicated, already deeply fascinated with letters. (We had a small framed blackboard with an attached tripod, letters surrounding the frame—probably in alphabetical order. I loved copying the letters from the frame onto the blackboard in different combinations, then asking Mom if I had written a word. As I remember, considering that I wrote random combinations, I had a fair amount of success. Perhaps I was already starting to associate the shape of letters with sound.)

After we had entered the children's department, Barb and I walked up to the circulation desk with Mom and told the children's librarian that we wanted to get our library cards. Mom filled in our address and other information, and then put the forms in front of Barb and me.

My mind was already attuning itself to the nuances of language, especially when it came to how rules were laid out. I had discussed my idea with Mom, so after the librarian told us all we had to do was write our names, she was rather surprised when Barb and I each reached into a pocket and pulled out a piece of paper upon which Mom had printed our name.

With great care I spread the paper flat on the counter and then, with painstaking focus, copied the letters of my name onto the form.

The librarian got a big, big smile and told Mom she had never known of any children who had wanted a library card as much as we did.

From then on there was no stopping us.

About the Author

Dr. John Arthur Horner of the Missouri Valley Room has a Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from UC-Santa Barbara, as well as a deep love of history. He is an award-winning playwright and member of the Dramatists Guild of America. He lives in Independence with his wife, two pianos, and their multitude of books.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook   Kansas City Public Library on Twitter   Kansas City Public Library on Flickr   Kansas City Public Library on YouTube   Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest   KC Unbound RSS feed

07-Ghost by Yukino Ichihara, Yuki Amemiya

Teen Reviewer: Erica Whorton

Teito Klein was once an orphan and a slave. All he has ever known was to obey orders that were given to him and to never betray the military. Not having a full grasp of his memories was fine with him until he meets the person responsible for his capture.

Escaping from the military, and on the run, Teito ends up in the church district where he meets three priests who bring him to the church where he is safe for a while. Teito eventually decides to become a priest and sets off on a journey with one of the three priests to discover the truth of his past and the truth of the Barsburg Empire's past.

I love this manga series. It is action packed with twists and turns that are unexpected and expected. The art is compelling. The only problem I have is that sometimes the art has too much action that makes it difficult to tell what is going on. All in all it is a good series and I highly recommend it to teens who love action packed mangas.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Teen Reviewer: Keely McLouth

Mysterious and painfully beautiful, this ending to the Divergent trilogy left me in tears, wishing there was more to soak up. A cross of romance, struggle, and war, the dystopian society feels real to the bones.

With a shocking ending, my heart sky-rocketed with thousands of emotions. Through this story with Tris and Four, I have bitten my nails down from the suspense. With hundreds of copies sold, this tale of true love and the reality behind "Perfection and Equality" will be in the hands of dreamers everywhere. This story teaches to find your way and fight for what you love. With Tris' loyalty and Four's love for Tris, will they make it to the end or will the pain of loss drive them apart? As Tris gets desperate for answers, how far will she go before Four can't save her? How far will she drive herself just for her loved ones to be safe? Intense and heart-pounding, Veronica Roth has gone all-out to give her readers an experience they will never forget.

Call us America’s library capital – or at least, one of them.

The Mid-Continent Public Library, whose sprawling system counts five branches in Kansas City and more than two dozen others in the surrounding area, has been named a recipient of the nation’s highest honor for libraries: the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Here here! The announcement was made Thursday, April 24, 2014, by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Kansas City Public Library was a National Medal honoree in 2008, cited for making “a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities.” The Johnson County Public Library received the award in 2005. The area is a confirmed bastion of library excellence.

Only Chicago — with three National Medal libraries in the city, itself, and another in suburban Skokie, Illinois — compares. Los Angeles has a couple. San Antonio has two, including the medical library at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Missouri has produced two other honorees since National Medals were first awarded in 1994: the State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia (in ’94) and the Bootheel Youth Museum in Malden (in 2012).

In response to this year’s selections, Mid-Continent Director and CEO Steven Potter wrote on the system’s website, “This is an unbelievable honor and a testament to all the hard work and great service performed by (the) library and the team of dedicated library professionals, both past and present.”

Agreed. We thought the IMLS got it right in 2005 and 2008. It did again in 2014.

If you fill Dr. Evil’s lair with a slew of Alvin and the Chipmunks wannabes, you end up with Weasels by Elys Dolan.

When the weasels’ quest to take over the world is unexpectedly thwarted, chaos ensues. Is the outcome world domination? Only reading will tell, but who doesn’t like a way to explain “megalomania” to their first grader?

I read books with my daughter nightly. I read one book to her, and she reads one to me. Usually we share a different book each night. Yet, by request, we have re-read Weasels four times. We both lead parts of it. The weasels’ distinct personalities give us a chance to employ a variety of squeaky voices.

My daughter’s review: “It is funny.” Her favorite part is when the Safety and Security weasel attempts to confiscate another weasel’s drill. That weasel runs away shouting, “Without my drill, I am nothing!”

My review: “The witty wording and situations make this an appealing read for kids and their grown-ups alike.” If she chooses this book a fifth time, I will have no complaints.

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas and has worked for over nine years in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri. Currently, Anna is Kansas City Public Library’s Education Librarian.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

There are those books that you love for the story, the books you love because you identify so well with the characters, and the books you love for so many reasons that you never want them to end. It’s been a long time since I took my time reading a book because I didn’t want it to end. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one such book.

A.J. Fikry is the independent bookseller at Island Books on Alice Island, a fictional island off the coast of Massachusetts. Still mourning the loss of his wife, he’s depressed and isolating himself from people on Alice Island. In addition, sales are down at his store. The locals are concerned about him.

Enter Amelia Loman, the new sales representative for Knightley Press, who visits Island Books for the first time. She’s there to pitch the new season of books to A.J. but he’s less than interested. He’s not the most personable man and isn’t shy about pointing out to Amelia that he is very particular about the books he likes for his store: no genres, no fantasy, no children’s books, and no series.

Amelia’s determined to leave A.J. with one book in the catalog that he’ll like. But after a rare book of Poe poems goes missing from A.J.’s house, a mysterious gift is left at the bookstore, setting into motion a series of events that changes A.J.’s life and the bookstore forever.

A witty story of love and books, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a humorous look at how personal the book business truly is. One of A.J.’s friends puts it best, “There ain’t nobody in the world like book people. It’s a business of gentlemen and gentlewomen.” I couldn’t agree more.

You'll fall in love with A.J. and the residents of Alice Island. After you finish the book, you may wait a few minutes to let the book sink in before you email or text your friend to say, “I’ve just read a book you must read.”

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.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

With a world of unique individuals and experiences, it’s great to know that we can always explore and depend upon a variety of creative stories to reflect real world situations and garner different perspectives. Here are three great books about uniqueness, differences, and expressing your individuality.

By Elizabeth Rose Stanton

Now, I know what you’re thinking, "that chicken has arms!"
Henny is a tale about a chicken born with human arms. Henny notices right away that she isn’t exactly like other chickens. Sometimes Henny loves her arms, sometimes not so much. Henny tries to seem normal and stay positive, but it’s hard ignoring the laughs of the other animals. Through chance, Henny’s arms turn out to be incredibly helpful! Henny soon realizes that her arms are great and can do many awesome things. Get past the idea of human arms on a chicken, and you’ve got a wonderful story for anyone who has ever felt a little out of place. A useful tool for a child learning to figure out the things they are good at, with the self they have been given.

Some Bugs
By Angela Diterlizzi, Illustrated By Brendan Wenzel

Some Bugs is a literal look at just that. Some hopping, hiding, swimming, gliding bugs. Some Bugs is a delightful look at some unique, special, and interesting bugs. Some bugs build and some bugs sing, some bugs do all kinds of different things. All these fun, colorful bugs display their many talents from page to page of eye popping visual adventure. A great story for connecting differences to an equivalent and understandable cast of critters. The combination of flow, and design of text, with wonderful corresponding art is sure to be a new favorite for many.

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great
By Bob Shea

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great… is actually more about Goat. Things have been a lot different since Unicorn showed up. Unicorn has the best prance moves, his magic skills are untouchable, and to top it all off, he makes it rain cupcakes. Hmpf. Goat can’t follow that! Or can he? Turns out that Goat can do things that Unicorn cannot do. Goat can make goat cheese, climb mountains, and head butt a soccer ball! It seems that Goat and Unicorn both have special talents. Little did Goat know, Unicorn thinks Goat is pretty great! A useful tool for anyone trying to figure out their own strengths, and possibly strengths they’ve had all along. In the end it’s important to be yourself; someone else might think that you’re pretty great too.

About the Author

Shaun Teamer

Shaun Teamer is a creator and storyteller. He enjoys drawing, reading, animating and shooting videos. Shaun is currently a youth associate at the Kansas City Central Library.

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