Photo by Marty Umans

I had many favorite cartoons growing up as a kid… Actually, I still do!

One of my favorites was the short lived, Sheep in the Big City, created by Mo Willems. Even though his first solo show, only lasted for two seasons, Mr. Willems has many other strong credits to his name that include television shows, Codename: Kids Next Door, Sesame Street, and for those watching cartoons in the 90’s, KaBlam! Mo Willems has since then, also created a line of hilarious easy reader children’s book that guarantee to make you laugh. Below are some of my favorite easy reads from Mr. Mo Willems, hilarity and lessons in all.



The River of Doubt

How many individuals choose to explore the unknown? One former United States President looking for adventure braved weather, insects, and illness while doing this very thing.

Kansas City author Candice Millard in The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey provides an intimate look at the expedition Roosevelt took in 1914 on the River of Doubt (since renamed Roosevelt River) in Brazil. After losing the 1912 Presidential election to Woodrow Wilson, Roosevelt went home to New York to lick his wounds. He did not want to think his life of service had ended. Also, his drive to explore and be outdoors after his days of ranching in the Dakotas and hunting in Africa had never left him.

An invitation for a series of speaking engagements in South America led the former president to investigate the possibility of engaging his passion for natural history by going down the unexplored River of Doubt in the Amazon rain forest. With assistance from the American Museum of Natural History, a trip with Roosevelt leading took shape to venture down this tributary to the Amazon. Both Americans and Brazilians joined this expedition, including Roosevelt’s son Kermit. Equipment and supplies were collected and the group set out on their journey.

Psycho by Robert Bloch

Most of us are familiar with Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic suspense film about a timid serial killer who “wouldn’t hurt a fly,” but have you ever read Robert Bloch’s dark novel which inspired the legendary screen gem?

Reality Boy

In A.S. King’s addictive new book Reality Boy, Gerald Faust and his family have to live with the aftermath of their time on the fake reality show, Network Nanny.

Sharp Teeth

Looking for some chills and thrills this month? We have some suggestions for you! Our staff here at The Kansas City Public Library has picked some of their Halloween favorites.

The Education of Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams is, by any reckoning, a peculiar autobiography. It is written in the 3rd person, and Adams fails to include every major event of his life in his work, leaving out twenty whole years, years that included his entire marriage and his wife’s suicide.

New & Notable Collection

Looking for some instant literary gratification? New & Notable, a Kansas City Public Library collection and concept is now being piloted at the Central Library.

The President is a Sick Man by Matthew Alpeo

How much information should the public know about a President's health? Should they know if they undergo major surgery? One American leader worked to keep his illness hidden from public view.

Matthew Alpeo in The President is a Sick Man explores a little known fact of American Presidential history. Soon after Grover Cleveland took the oath of office for the second time, he noticed a lesion in his mouth. Doctors who looked at it felt it should be removed as it would likely be cancerous. In 1893, cancer struck fear in everyone, and no one talked about it openly. Former President Ulysses S. Grant died of oral cancer so Cleveland wanted to keep his illness a secret.

The Panic of 1893 had settled over the country. Businesses and railroads were shutting their doors. Another problem swirled around whether gold or silver should back the currency of the United States. Many people were out of work. News of the President's health would only add to the sense of unease.

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?

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.

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.

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!

We have a little bit of everything with our picks this time around — Award-winning Science Fiction, True Crime, Modern Classics, and even Picture Books for our younger readers out there. These titles were all enjoyed by our staff, so why not give one a try?

Have you read something else lately you'd like to recommend to others? Feel free to add your own picks in the comments below!

 
 

True Grit by Charles Portis

John F. Stacey (from the M. Christine Schwartz Collection)

Dr. John Horner concludes his search for the identities of the two artists who created the portraits on display in the Guerrillas in Our Midst exhibit from the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections.

Sister Queens

One woman as queen had several children. Her sister only gave birth to a living daughter. Both lived sad lives. Katherine of Aragon and her sister Joanna (Juana) found themselves at the mercy of others.

Julia Fox in Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile examines the lives of these two women. They were daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella, rulers of Spain. As monarchs, they joined the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile to reign in Spain together. These powerful monarchs sought advantageous marriages for their daughters with the hope of gaining greater Spanish influence throughout Europe. Katherine and Joanna became pawns in the marriage game.

Portrait of Alexander Franklin (Frank) James

Dr. John Horner delves into a search for the identities of the two artists who created the portraits on display in the Guerrillas in Our Midst exhibit from the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections.

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