What do ballet, break-dancing, brain science and blind spots have in common with spoken word, experiential art and new perspectives on social media and youth activism? For TEDxYouth@KC it adds up to “Beyond Truth.” With additional presentations about equal rights, scientific research and how to thrive on nearly nothing, join the Kansas City Public Library on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 15. It will be beyond expectations.

Click here for more info!

David Sedaris
Have the holiday decorations and holly jolly music already put you in a decidedly Scrooge-ish spirit, and it's not even Thanksgiving? Then we have some reading suggestions for you, all completely saccharine- and schmaltz-free.

Sit back with some nog, pick up one of these books, and rediscover the joys of the season.

And then maybe take a BB gun to your neighbor's inflatable winter wonderland in the front lawn...



The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
by Barbara Robinson

A family of hoodlums gets the Christmas spirit in the middle of hijacking the school Christmas pageant.


A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

Scrooge is a mean jerk and he comes around in the end and Tiny Tim says that sappy thing about being blessed, but it’s NOT a sappy book.


The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror
by Christopher Moore

It’s sleigh bells for Santa in this holiday horror treat.


Holidays on Ice
by David Sedaris

A healthy dose of holiday snark to temper all that joy.


The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding  (A Hercule Poirot Mystery)
by Agatha Christie 

Because what's a holiday without a murder or two to investigate by a snotty Belgian and your nosy old aunt?


A Christmas Memory
by Truman Capote

No cold blood or warm sap here. Just warm and quirky holiday rituals shared by two quirky individuals.


What do ballet, break-dancing, brain science and blind spots have in common with spoken word, experiential art and new perspectives on social media and youth activism?

For TEDxYouth@KC it adds up to “Beyond Truth.”

With additional presentations on equal rights, scientific research and how to thrive on nearly nothing, TEDxYouth@KC will be beyond expectations.

Saturday, November 15th at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Event Agenda:
12:30pm Doors Open!!

1:00pm TEDxYouth@KC: Beyond Truth begins

2:30-3:30pm Intermission

* Photo Booth inspired by the TEDxYouth Day
* Photo Booth inspired by Break the Surface
* Refreshments
* Performance Art by Manion Kuhn
* TAG Experience: Meet new people and find your common truth through a creatively random and curious conversation

3:30pm Beyond Truth Session 2

5pm The Nelson Atkins closes and we all go home with the TEDxYouth@KC afterglow!

Learn more at www.tedxyouthkc.com

Mickey Spillaine

Those of you who have been reading my classic mystery blogs must be scratching your heads about now. Mickey SpillaneClassics — what gives? And no doubt there are those who would agree with some of the scholars of the mystery field, who charged that Spillane had debased what had become a much more literary form thanks to the efforts of Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald.

I would argue, though, that one need only look at the early work of Dashiell Hammett, even up to his first novel, Red Harvest, to find work very similar to Spillane’s. Hammett, as you know, was the man credited with lifting hard-boiled fiction out of the pulps and into the academy.

Some of you may only know Mickey Spillane from some Lite Beer commercials he did in the 1980s.

My own introduction to Spillane was this novel, the 3rd outing of Spillane’s hardest of hard-boiled detectives, Mike Hammer (the first two novels being I, the Jury and My Gun is Quick.) It was in my Shakespeare class (Fall of 76) that my professor, Edward Callahan, cited this book’s opening line as a great example of the Attic (or unadorned) style. That opening line is “The guy was dead as hell.” After Professor Callahan’s introduction of that line into a class on the Bard of Avon, I just knew I had to read the book, which I first did in August 1977 to celebrate my move to Chicago. (I know, Chicago may be tough, but it’s not NYC tough!)

The story goes that Spillane wrote the book on a bet. A friend had challenged him to write a mystery in which the final clue was withheld until the last page. Spillane reportedly replied that he would write a mystery in which the last and crucial piece of information was not given until the last sentence, the last word in fact. I could tell you what the word was, but that would be the ultimate spoiler, and so I shall refrain.

I will not defend Spillane’s misogyny, Spillane’s homophobia, or his John Birch-ish political views. I do not share those views, and do not approve that message. But as someone who honed the hard-boiled style so it packed quite a punch, I can think of few other authors to match Spillane other than Hammett. His is a vitriolic and intense poetry, but poetry nonetheless. Give it a look:

When Hammer visits a modeling agency, he describes the shoot as follows: “He was managing to get a whole lot of women dressed in very little nothing in place amid a bunch of props so the camera would pick up most of the nothing she was wearing and none of the most she was showing.” And later, while touring the Bowery, Hammer notes: “The Bowery, a street of people without faces. Pleading voices from the shadows and the shuffle of feet behind you. An occasional tug at your sleeve and more pleading that had professional despair in the tone…The bars were lined with the left-overs of humanity keeping warm over a drink or nursing a steaming bowl of soup.” And, when his license is suspended and his gun permit revoked, and it looks like his career as a PI are over, he notes that the newspapers, to whom he had given plenty of copy, were only too willing to drop him now. He adds ironically: “Only one bothered to be sentimental about it. He wrote me an epitaph. In rhyme.” Spillane’s form may be prose, but he displays a jazz poet’s touch.

The plot, to put it briefly, is as follows: Hammer meets a guy he knew in WWII, now a working stiff. They spend a night drinking and reminiscing, and when the book opens, the guy is dead in his hotel room, apparently shot by Hammer’s gun. The DA who doesn’t like Hammer revokes his PI license and his license to carry a gun. Though the verdict is suicide, Hammer is blamed for being careless with his weapon. But Hammer knows it’s murder, and as vengeance for a friend and his own reputation are at stake, this time, it’s personal.

Other Spillane books you might consider looking at include Kiss Me, Deadly, and One Lonely Night, in which Hammer goes up against the Communist Party. And for films, Kiss Me Deadly (yeah, they left out the comma) is the best film, though the director, Robert Aldrich used the book to criticize the entire Hammer milieu. And you can see Spillane himself as Hammer in The Girl Hunters.

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

Ready Player One
Ernest Cline

Ready Player One is a nostalgia trip like no other. It's an ode to the rise of gaming and geek culture, a recollection of the early history of geekdom, all crammed between the covers of a really good future dystopian Science Fiction novel.

Most of the time, nostalgia bores me. I find affectionate trips down our cultural memory lane insipid, overly rose tinted and saccharine.

Ready Player One, though, grabbed me from the very first page and wouldn't let me go. It kept me up past my bedtime, it kept me off my computer and social media, because reading it was the only thing I wanted to do.

This novel is far more than just a geeky trip. It offers the reader a compelling and fully realized dystopian world. It presents characters who we care about, unique and believable people who we root for. It gives us an elemental conflict of good vs. evil.

Take out all the explicit gaming and geek references, and Ready Player One is still a really good story, set in a believable world. It's a fine Science Fiction novel by any standard.

Furthermore, the nostalgia in this book isn't just nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. It's essential to the fabric of the story: it defines the context and environment of the action; it's necessary to the motivations and passions of the characters; it informs the stakes of the conflict. This trip down memory lane isn't just window dressing.

The story pulls you along at an incredible pace. The momentum of the narrative, the steadily increasing stakes of the conflict—these elements combine to generate a sense of excitement just like the excitement we all felt when we first started playing video games, or when we sat down with friends to embark on a new D&D campaign, or when the lights dimmed in the theatre for a groundbreaking anime film.

In its own way, reading this book recreates the essential experience of these treasured moments in our geeky lives.

Ready Player One is far more than just a nostalgia trip. It speaks to our hearts and reminds us why we fell in love with games and movies and TV shows and comics in the first place.

Each day in the month of October, our librarians have selected a book or movie from our collection to share on social media. Some are famous, some obscure, but every one of these titles is full of thrills and chills — perfect for Halloween!

Take a look at our recommendations on Twitter and Facebook (all of the items are available for checkout from the Kansas City Public Library) and let us know what your favorite scary story is.

Just use the hashtag #LibraryFrights to share with us, and have a happy and safe Halloween!

About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

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

Summer has definitely gone on siesta. Winter hasn’t yet hinted it's near by dropping the temperature below freezing. Autumn, though, now blusters full-blast.

There are all kinds of ways that people bring warmth into their ever-cooling lives. A few are:

  1. Sipping hot cider or cocoa
  2. Wearing sweaters or jackets
  3. Cuddling with family or friends
  4. Sitting by a fireplace or fire pit (with a grown-up observing for safety).

You can also decorate your home to represent the season. I made the pumpkin décor that you see here using yarn, paper, and fabric along with scissors, tape, and a hole-punch. The idea came from Crafts for Kids by Gil Dickinson. I traded out the spider shape on the chain (page 53), using instead the outline from the Jack-O-Lantern template (page 141). By not putting on the Jack-O-Lantern faces, Halloween ending doesn’t send this string packing. It is perfectly appropriate to display pumpkins through November.

Another wonderful way to celebrate autumn is to cozy up with a terrific book. For the preschool set, try either Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson/ Illustrated by Buket Erdogan or Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. Both use simple words and bright autumn colors. Both rejoice in the beauty of fall leaves.

To recap, as the weather cools, savor gourds and the changing foliage. Snuggle with loved ones over warm drinks. Share books. May these activities bring you much warmth and comfort on even the windiest days.

About the Author

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

John Dickson Carr
One of the sub-genres of the classic mystery genre is the “locked-room” mystery. In its most basic form, a person is found dead from violence in a room that is closed from within, and admits no egress. Though the person has clearly been murdered (there is no murder weapon in evidence), it seems impossible that anyone could have gotten to the victim to kill him (most times, the victim is male). The appeal of such mysteries is as much, if not more, on the ingenious solution to how the murder was committed as on the identity of the killer. We might call these “howdunits.”

The admitted master of this subgenre was John Dickson Carr, who wrote several mystery novels that might be classified as “locked-room” mysteries.

In 1935's The Hollow Man — also known by its American title, The Three Coffins — we have the epitome of the locked-room mystery. Not only is the book the exemplar of the type, but a whole chapter in the book (“Chapter 17: The Locked Room Lecture”) is devoted to a lecture by Carr’s main detective, Dr. Gideon Fell, on the topic of “locked room” murders. The novel is the sixth Gideon Fell novel out of a total of twenty-three.

Gideon Fell is a British scholar, though his area of study is unclear. When first introduced, he is working on an English dictionary (which suggests a nod to the celebrated Samuel Johnson), but in later books, he seems to be working on a scholarly treatment of the beer-drinking habits of the English — a scholarly endeavor many of us could get behind. (Are you listening, Boulevard?) Like Samuel Johnson, Fell seems to be an expert in just about everything, but unlike Johnson, he is morbidly obese, and uses a cane to get around.

One of the conventions of detective fiction, especially the classic form, is for some person in the story to make some statement about how, “in detective stories,” something would play out in such and such a way, thereby suggesting that the story we are reading is not fiction, but real.

In this novel, when one of Dr. Fell’s friends objects to his about to enter upon a lecture upon the locked room mystery, Fell replies that “we’re in a detective story, and we don’t fool the reader by pretending we’re not. Let’s not invent elaborate excuses to drag in a discussion of detective stories. Let’s candidly glory in the noblest pursuits possible to characters in a book.” So, instead of carrying on the charade that his characters are real, we have his main character candidly admit that he is a fictional character, who glories in it. This kind of self-awareness on the part of a fictional character is something we might expect in a book written in the last 20 years, but not in a popular mystery written during the Golden Age of classic detective fiction. Admittedly, once this admission has been made, it not repeated, and the “illusion” of the world of the book continues as if there had not been this brief confession to the reader.

I’m thinking that Carr, who very much loved the form of the locked room mystery, the form in which the very act of the murder seems to have been impossible, felt it necessary to set forth his thoughts on this form, and lay out its possibilities and rules. And one of the suggestions he makes — he stops short of making this a “rule” — is that the world “improbable” should not be uttered in detective fiction, for it is a commonplace that the least likely suspect is often the guilty party, hid in plain sight all along by a clever author, and that authors of classic mysteries should be upfront about such a convention.

As a puzzle, in which there are two impossible murders: the murder of Professor Grimaud in a locked room by an assailant who mysteriously disappears, leaving no tracks in the snow, and the murder of Pierre Fley, an illusionist, who had threatened Grimaud, who is also the most “likely” culprit, in an empty street where two witnesses saw no one but Fley, who fell dead following shots that seemed to come from nowhere. Complicating matters is that Fley seems to have been killed prior to Grimaud himself. As a puzzle, this is quite an excellent one, in that the “impossible” murders are rather simply explained by Fell in the concluding chapter, and Carr did, indeed, demonstrate that he had played fair.

But Carr fails to produce compelling characters. In many ways, even the main characters might be interchangeable, given letters for names as if the whole book were a problem in calculus of several variables. Unlike Christie, or Marsh, or Sayers, who create some compelling characters in their detective novels, Carr, at least in this outing with Dr. Fell, fails to do so.


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

Many of you will know Phil Kirk as the man for whom we named Kirk Hall at the Central Library. Or as this generation’s downtown Kansas City real estate developer par excellence. Or a genial figure at many of our Library programs and special events.

He was much, much more. His family, and notably his father Jim, were prominent in local business and philanthropy. Jim Kirk's office furniture from Kirk Welding ended up in One North at the Central Library as part of our soft seating there. Mike Kirk, Phil's brother, has been an active supporter of the Library.

Phil's career involved guidance of DST 's redevelopment of the West Side of downtown in partnership with Kansas City Southern, Financial Holding Corporation, State Street, and many others, but the transformation was uniquely his vision.

He was a key part of the civic group that picked the First National Bank building to renovate for the Central Library, and then gave and raised substantial amounts of the Capital Campaign money, after which he was always our tireless champion and advocate.

He was also the primary supporter of our great partnership with Crossroads Academy charter school, and typical of Phil, his last charitable act was to secure funding for their building.

No individual is more responsible for the revival of downtown and the Library's central role in that. We owe him a lot and we will deeply miss him.

Crosby Kemper III
The Kansas City Public Library

A memorial service for Phil Kirk will be held Tuesday, October 28, 2014, at 10 a.m. at Saint Michael and All Angels Church, 6630 Nall Avenue, Mission KS 66202. More information is available in the obituary in The Kansas City Star.


Phil Kirk, a giant in downtown Kansas City real estate, dies at age 76.  The Kansas City Star.

Downtown champion Phil Kirk has died.  Kansas City Business Journal.

The Kansas City Keepers chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance is transforming The Plaza Libary into Hogwarts to celebrate all things Harry Potter! Bring gently used clothing, coats, hats, and gloves to donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City and to earn points for your house! Dress as your favorite Harry Potter character and help your team win the House Cup! We will have games, refreshments, a costume contest, and more!

Appropriate for all ages
Saturday, November 1, 2014
8 p.m. – Midnight
Plaza Branch | 4801 Main St.

Click here to RSVP on Facebook!

Imagination may seem like a total disconnect from real life. Listening to a Beyonce song isn't the same as being on stage with her. That isn't a reason to give up. Pursue your passions!

This year's Teen Read Week theme is "Turn Your Dreams Into Reality." The library carries a fantastic, practical book to lead you down the path to achieve your goals-- even those that are a stretch. It is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. There is a reason that Covey is a best-selling author around the world. This book is brilliant.

The Library carries the 2014 edition. It reads easily, with cartoons and quotations spread throughout. The more impressive part is the wealth of practical suggestions. The easy activities build constructive habits. Plus, the author's tone is helpful instead of preachy. Whether you are reading this blog during Teen Read Week (October 12-18, 2014) or way past it, the book is worth checking out. After all, there is no time like now to start living your dreams.

About the Author

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

Clear up your overdue fines and do good for the community! The Library is partnering with Harvesters for Food for Fines Week, October 13-19, 2014. For each non-perishable food item donated at the Library, you get a $1 credit towards your existing fines.

The most-needed items include canned meat, peanut butter, canned fruit, canned vegetables, and boxed meals. Non-nutritional beverages such as soda and any beverages in glass containers will not be accepted. All the details are below. You can donate at any Kansas City Public Library location through Sunday, October 19, 2014.

What is Food for Fines? Food for Fines is an annual program that allows Library patrons to trade one nonperishable food item for one dollar in existing fines on their Library accounts.

Which fines/fees are forgiven? Non-perishable food items may be used for Kansas City Public Library accounts with existing overdue fines. Only overdue fines are eligible for this program.

Which fines/fees cannot be forgiven? Referral fees, lost or damaged item fees, replacement Library card fee, video and/or DVD rental fees, printing fees, flash drives, ear buds, Friends of the Library books for sale, Friends of the Library memberships, lost items owned by Consortium Libraries, lost items that are Interlibrary Loans.

Which food items are acceptable? Non-perishable food items in cans, boxes, or plastic containers, household and personal care items that are unopened. Pet food in boxes or cans. No glass containers may be accepted. Examples of acceptable items: canned vegetables, boxed dinners, canned juices, peanut butter, soap, deodorant, shampoo, toilet tissue, facial tissues, paper towels, cleaning supplies. Ramen noodles are acceptable. 4 packages of Ramen noodles equals one dollar in fines. Items in multi-packs are acceptable at $1 per item. i.e. A four-pack of paper towels equals $4 in forgiven fines. Bottled water in 8 oz. or greater containers is acceptable. SlimFast and other diet drinks are acceptable. Government issued food, i.e. peanut butter, welfare items, etc. are also acceptable.

Which food items are not acceptable? Perishable food items; glass containers of any kind; soda pop; candy and/or gum; cardboard drink containers; drink pouches; alcoholic beverages; items in damaged/rusty/open containers; items WITHOUT a nutrition label; items with a past due expiration date; homemade or home-canned items. Travel size containers of personal care items, i.e. toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, etc.

Who gets the food? Harvesters—The Community Food Network

What is Harvesters and what does it do with the food? Harvesters is Kansas City’s only food bank and was organized in 1979. Harvesters provides essential food resources for a network of over 620 charitable agencies such as emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, day care centers and senior centers in 26 counties. Further information about Harvesters is available at harvesters.org or by calling 816.929.3000.

Can I donate even if I don’t have any fines? Yes.

Can the Library credit my account for future fines? No. Food for Fines is only for EXISTING fines on a Library account.

At the beginning of the Twentieth century, the United States enjoyed an economic boom along with a rise in the anarchy movement leading to the assassination of a President.

Scott Miller—in The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century—looks at the assassination of President William McKinley as it relates to the events of his presidency. Parallel to the account of the McKinley murder is the life story of Leon Czolgosz who killed the President. The two met on a September afternoon in 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York to disastrous ends. McKinley had spent a couple of days at the fair and on the last day held a gathering to visit with the general public.

The narrative looks at the United States during the McKinley administration. At the end of the Gilded Age, the country's economic fortunes were improving after the Panic of 1893. The President set a course to encourage growth. Many workers labored for long hours in factories, but saw their pay reduced. Strikes had become common.

During the same time period, the United States had become involved with Spain over Cuba. This dispute led to the Spanish-American War with the result that Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines were added as U.S. territories. The war led the United States to become a major player on the world stage for the first time in its history. The success of the war helped McKinley win re-election in 1900.

The author delves into the life of Leon Czolgosz, anarchist and son of Polish immigrants, who was convicted of the assassination. Czolgosz became interested in the growing anarchist movement of the late Nineteenth century. These agitators thought the best way to bring about change would be to disrupt government. They were also the ones behind much of the labor unrest including the Haymarket riot in Chicago in 1886. Several in the anarchist movement are profiled as well including Emma Goldman and Albert Parsons. Czolgosz read widely the literature published by these revolutionaries, but other anarchists wanted nothing to do with him.

After Czolgosz shot McKinley, the crowd pounced on him while others whisked the President off to the hospital. At first, it appeared that the President would recover from his gunshot wounds. However, infection set in which the doctors could not treat, and McKinley died in the early morning of September 14, 1901. His assassin faced jail and trial in very short order. Czolgosz did not cooperate in his defense and said very little after the assassination. He soon faced the electric chair ending an era of American history. Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency vowing to continue policies McKinley had set in place. The nation mourned the third American president to be murdered while in office. The assassination shook the United States but paved the way for its rise as a world power.

This is a good book about American history at the start of the Twentieth century. I felt there were parallels with recent history and the Occupy movement in the labor unrest of the time. The story about the assassination of President McKinley took me back to reading about the murder of President James Garfield in Destiny of the Republic. Both murdered leaders have not been covered to the extent that assassinated Presidents Kennedy and Lincoln have been, even though both left their marks on United States history. The United States was coming into its own and this books helps set the stage for future events of history in the Twentieth century.

About the Author

Judy Klamm is a reference librarian in Central Reference. She has written book reviews for Library Journal and various Presbyterian publications.

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

I became a “beer guy” in 1995. That was when I discovered Boulevard Wheat and my eyes were opened to the idea that there were more than two flavors of beer – regular and light. A year later I took a trip to Colorado and visited a rapidly expanding restaurant chain called Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom that advertised more than 100 different beers. At that point, there was no going back.

I have spent the last 18 years — wow, 18 years — exploring the wide world of craft beer. Boulevard was a blessing for Kansas City. It produced a fantastic product and made Kansas City a big-time player in the craft beer revolution. Unfortunately, for a long time, it was the only Kansas City player. But if you are going to have only one, it might as well be the George Brett of craft brewing, right?

In recent years, things have changed. Boulevard is still there — the anchor that ensures Kansas City will always be mentioned whenever anyone anywhere talks about great craft beer communities — but others have joined the party.

So when the Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library settled on Booktoberfest (a novel beer tasting experience) as their first fundraising activity, I was delighted. Here was a chance to promote reading, the Library, and Kansas City’s great craft beers.

Booktoberfest is not your typical beer-tasting event. There are not 50 breweries from all over the country. There will be no huge crowds. You will not pay for admission and then have to buy food.

We made a conscious decision to keep it small. We wanted the emphasis to be on showcasing the Library and the great craft beers that are being produced in our community. We partnered with four small, true micro-breweries that are doing some pretty exciting things in Kansas City.

I should point out here that I am not an expert on the subject of beer. I cannot identify types of hops by scent. I know nothing about the brewing process. I can’t even always remember the names of the styles of beer I am drinking. I’m just a guy who knows what he likes in a beer, and I like to think that I have pretty good taste.

Participating breweries include:

KC Bier Company
Located at 310 W. 79th Street in Waldo, KC Bier Company is the largest brewery featured at Booktoberfest. While many American breweries shy away from German-style beers because they’re too similar to traditional North American lagers, KC Bier Company embraces them. Much like my experience with Boulevard Wheat all those years ago, KC Bier Company is helping people realize that just because a beer looks like something you’d pour out of a domestic bottle doesn’t mean it can’t be a great craft brew.

Rock & Run Brewery
Located at 110 E. Kansas Street in downtown Liberty, Rock & Run Brewery features a combination of traditional beers, less common styles, and experimental offerings. It was here that I developed a real taste for smoked beers – the barley dried over an open flame to give it a distinctive, smokey flavor.

Cinder Block
Located at 110 E. 18th Avenue in North Kansas City, Cinder Block is one of my favorite locations. Off the beaten path, the taproom has a very industrial feel. It emanates cool. And the beer is top notch. The Block IPA is a favorite of many, but my personal favorite is Cultivate Saison, a big beer that rivals my all-time favorite in that style – Boulevard’s Tank 7.

Crane Brewing Company
While not yet open to the public (it hopes to open soon in Raytown), Crane places an emphasis on sour (another one of my favorites) and wild beers. I tried the brews from Crane for the first time in the lead-up to Booktoberfest. I was a fan of its Marcel, a dry-hopped saison, but the one that created the most buzz around the office was Ruby, an eye-catching red cream ale brewed with beets.

We hope to make Booktoberfest a more civilized beer tasting event.

The event takes place on Friday, October 10, at the Central Library (14 W. 10th Street). Free parking is available in the Library district parking garage at 10th & Baltimore. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. At that time, people will be able to check in and enjoy hors d’oeuvres provided by Cosentino’s Downtown Market and pizza from Milwaukee Delicatessen.

Tickets are $35 or two for $50 and are available at booktoberfestkc.eventbrite.com. Booktoberfest is co-presented by Recommended Daily.

All proceeds will benefit the Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library in support of the Library’s efforts to make Kansas City a community of readers.

We will assign every ticketholder to a small group, and at 7 p.m. a “tour guide” will escort the groups to their first tasting station. The groups will get to spend about 30 minutes at each station, sampling beers, talking about their breweries, and experiencing the beauty of the Central Library. Of course, we couldn’t do an event that night without first ensuring that attendees can follow the Royals’ American League Championship Series opener against Baltimore. It will be shown on large screens at each tasting station.

To wrap up the evening, we will congregate on the Library’s rooftop terrace for cookies from Swoon Cookies and pretzels from Farm to Market Bread Company and to watch the end of the Royals game.

I hope you can join us Friday night for an evening of books, beer, bites … and baseball.

- Steve Woolfolk, Assistant Director of Public Affairs

Hello again to all the young and old superhero lovers alike! With the continuous rise and success of the superhero genre, it's only right that children's books take on the mantel of being youth's first introduction to the hero way. Now, the hero way can be described or taught in many ways, so thank goodness for these superhero books and their often
surprisingly fresh take on what it means to not just be a superhero, but a super person.

SuperFab Saves the Day
Jean Leroy and Berengere Delaporte

SuperFab is the most fashionable, superhero rabbit around! SuperFab not only lives in a super rabbit hole, with a super living room full of super books, but he also has a super walk in closet! The walk in closet is where SuperFab chooses the perfect superhero outfit, that way he can fight crime in style! Unfortunately, SuperFab focuses so much time on choosing his outfit that by the time he arrives at the scene of the crime, another superhero has already taken care of the problem! Eventually, no one calls SuperFab anymore because he never shows up on time. That is until one day, SuperFab’s city is faced with its greatest and equally fashionable villain yet, The Destroyer! It looks like it’s finally up to SuperFab to save the day! SuperFab Saves the Day has awesome color penciled illustrations with a bright and fun color pallet. Also, it is a great story about enforcing priorities and about valuing the importance of time and commitments to others.

Superhero Joe and the Creature Next Door
Written By Jacqueline Priess Weitzman Drawn by Ron Barrett

Superhero Joe is living peacefully in his small town when a moving van arrives and brings the creature next door! Superhero Joe is very wary of this new creature and decides to keep a close eye on him. Superhero Joe discovers the creature's plot to take over the tree house that use to belong to his old next door neighbors! Superhero Joe’s old neighbors always said that he could play in it, but he never got the chance, and now he is afraid he never will! So Superhero Joe springs into action and prepares to confront the evil creature next door. Will all of his training prepare him for the surprise he finds next door? You’ll have to read and find out! Superhero Joe and the Creature Next Door is a fun book about meeting new people and facing the idea that sometimes our fears get the best of us. Also, the style choice to mirror comic books, by creating panel to panel shots and scenes, lends nicely to the medium and the amazing drawings from the same illustrator of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."

Motor Dog
Kurt Cyrus and David Gordon

Is a dog still loyal if he’s made of metal? Flip the Kid decides that today is the day he wants a pet, but not just any pet, the mechanical Motor Dog! Motor Dog may be made of metal and come with a remote control, but he is still extremely dog like. Motor Dog likes to go on walks, play fetch…and use his rockets to chase cats up trees. Sometimes Motor Dog has errors and freezes, but when he reboots, Motor Dog is back, ready for action and will do anything for his new friend Flip! Motor Dog may have bonus features and awesome gadgets, but some of his best qualities are just being a good dog. Motor Dog is a fun story written in even funnier rhyme. The colorful illustrations are done with a very soft digital painter vibe. Motor Dog shows that even with all the wrapping and the trimmings, sometimes the simplest things are the ones that provide the greatest impact.

Mighty Max!
Harriet Ziefert Drawings by Elliot Kreloff

Mighty Max, also known as Maxwell, is a wave of superhero, action, crime fighting energy! Max’s dad is always asking Max to be careful and sit down when he is doing his hero work. Max sits down, but not for long! Next thing you know, Max is jumping off the playground like Superman, climbing on piles of rocks like King Kong, and riding his bike like he was stuntman Evel Knievel! But Max wasn’t any of those people, he was Mighty Max, ready for a glorious day at the beach with his dad and dog. Mighty Max lifts heavy picnic baskets, helps save the beach ball game, and battles lunch stealing seagulls. Mighty Max triumphantly eats his lunch on top of the highest dune at the beach. Max’s dad asks him to sit down with his lunch. We all know Mighty Max will sit, but not for long… Mighty Max is fun story about an imaginative youngster who has to deal with the challenges of mild-mannered expectations and child physical limitations. They want to grow up and be heroes so fast, so in the meantime enjoy this tale of a young energetic hero to be. Mighty Max also has a great illustration style similar to a child's hand, with very open and simple shapes, with drawings done in crayons.

About the Author

Shaun Teamer

Shaun Teamer is a creator and storyteller. He enjoys drawing, reading, and still flying through skies. During the day he works as a mild-mannered Youth Associate at the Central Public Library. During the night, he does the same thing, but with a cape.

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