KC Public Library Blog

Program Notes: The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)

The Ballad of Little Jo movie poster

A horse opera with an unusual perspective, The Ballad of Little Jo combines a gritty visual realism with a contemporary feminist sensibility to tell the tale of a woman who survived on the frontier by masquerading as a man.

Whimsical Characters

Turkey Tot

I have been searching high and low for new children’s books with whimsical characters. I really want to read books with protagonists who make me laugh, maybe not out loud and startle people near me (in the library!), but chuckle a bit and keep me in a good mood throughout the day.

Book Reviews

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini’s newest offering, And The Mountains Echoed, is flying off the shelves at the Library. Is this because the author of The Kite Runner has created yet another haunting literary masterpiece that you won’t be able to stop reading?

Program Notes: Westward the Women (1951)

Westward the Women movie poster

A feminist film? In 1951? The makers of Westward the Women may not have considered themselves feminists but the movie they left behind is an entertaining and moving yarn about female empowerment.

Kings of the City

The Kansas City Monarchs. Photo courtesy Missouri Valley Special Collections

October 6, 1922: The Kansas City Monarchs and the Kansas City Blues baseball teams embarked on a six-game series that would end with the Monarchs being crowned “The New City Champions” by the Kansas City Star.

Friends from Around the World

Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora

One of my favorite pastimes nowadays is to relax in a local Korean café sipping delightful boba tea and munching on savory mochi buns. As I enjoyed my meal and snacks, I usually watched people coming in and out of the restaurant speaking many different languages.

Local History

1940 Tax Assessment Photographs

Perhaps you’ve spotted Google’s Street View car cruising through Kansas City, making a photographic record of whatever it happens to pass by. In April 1940, Kansas Citians might have spotted a similarly peculiar activity taking place throughout the city.

Movies that Matter: The Grand Illusion (1937)

The Grand Illusion movie poster

The Grand Illusion, an anti-war film in which combat is never depicted, effectively dissects the nationalism behind virtually every war. President Franklin Roosevelt declared, “Everyone who believes in democracy should see this film.”

A Myth is Born

Jesse James

September 26, 1872: In front of an estimated 10,000 people exiting the Kansas City Industrial Exposition, three bandits (including Jesse & Frank James) rob the ticket office and escape with $978.

Program Notes: The Great Caruso (1951)

The Great Caruso movie poster

The subject of The Great Caruso is, of course, the legendary operatic tenor Enrico Caruso. But for today’s moviegoers, the real subject is Mario Lanza, the charismatic American singer who portrayed Caruso on film.

Book Reviews

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire, the new sequel to Code name Verity, picks up a year after Elizabeth Wein's previous novel left off. It's August 1944 and Rose Justice grew up in Pennsylvania flying planes from a young age.

Book Reviews

Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey

Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey

Unlike the other biographies we’ve looked at this year (Roper’s Life of More, Cavendish’s Life of Cardinal Wolsey, and Boswell’s Life of Johnson), Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians is a work marked by distance seen through the fresh eyes of a new generation.

Program Notes: Rhapsody in Blue (1945)

Rhapsody in Blue movie poster

Rhapsody in Blue, the 1945 biopic on the life of composer George Gershwin, is lightweight drama. But when it comes to Gershwin’s music, it's very serious indeed – a superb celebration of musical genius.

“The Greatest Display of Skill, Nerve, and Daring”

Old Elm Ridge Race Track, ca 1915

September 17, 1922: Averaging 107 miles per hour, racecar driver Tommy Milton wins the inaugural race at the Kansas City Speedway, also known as "the Old Board Track" at 95th and Troost.

Library Life

Staff Reading Picks for September

Redshirts by John Scalzi

September is upon us and fall is fast approaching, even if it doesn't feel like it outside. And being September, it means that we are overdue for another Staff Picks blog!