Staff Reading Picks for July

It's time again for our Kansas City Public Library Staff Picks! Employees here at the Library have given us some of their favorite reads for the month, whether it be a new book coming out or an old favorite they've recently rediscovered. With our Summer Reading Program in full swing, we could all use some new reading material, children and adults alike. This month's selections are full of road trips, difficult families, and rebellious women, so you are bound to find your perfect summer read. Why not check out one of these titles, or if you have a favorite of your own list it in the comments below.

Here are our reading selections for July:

Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure, by Matthew Algeo

"About six months after leaving the White House and returning to Independence, Harry and Bess Truman decided to take a road trip to New York City. They just hopped in the car and drove - no Secret Service protection. Of course, they were recognized everywhere they went, a fact which made small town police forces rather nervous. Algeo retraces the Trumans' route and adventures, and illustrates how traveling in America (particularly when you're a former president) has changed since 1953."
Kate, Missouri Valley Special Collections

Bad Girls, by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple

"Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once said that 'Well-behaved women seldom make history.' In their juvenile book Bad girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, & Other Female Villains mother-daughter authors Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, along with illustrator Rebecca Guay, present the stories of many historical women who were anything but well-behaved. Yolen and Stemple discuss the lives of Bonnie Parker, Cleopatra, Mata Hari, Catherine the Great, and many others, putting their lives and actions in context. Composed of short, engaging chapters that switch to a comic book format in sections where the authors debate whether or not these women were really 'bad,' the end result is cheeky, entertaining, and stealthily educational."
Liesl, Public Affairs

Brother, I’m Dying, by Edwidge Danticat

"Edwidge Danticat’s 2007 memoir Brother, I’m Dying chronicles the year in which her biological father passes away from lung disease, her 'second father' Uncle Joseph escapes from Haiti only to die in an immigration detention center, and she gives birth to her first child. Set against the backdrop of Haiti’s history between the dictatorships of Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier and the 2004 coup d’état, Danticat fascinatingly and emotionally explores her family’s experiences in both Haiti and the United States. Danticat’s memoir realizes more than a simple emotion appeal to readers; she achieves strong meditation exploring transnational identity, family dynamics, and geopolitics."
- Creighton, Big Read Intern

Big Ray, by Michael Kimball

"Daniel Todd Carrier, narrator of the book Big Ray by Michael Kimball, addresses a wide range of emotions associated with the death of his father, a man he did not admire, respect, or love. He expresses his emotions clearly and succinctly and makes no attempt to sugarcoat his statements. Big Ray is a short but very powerful novel."
- Andrea, Westport Branch

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

"It’s August 1986. Eleanor and Park meet the first day Eleanor gets on the school bus. With no open seats, she sits next to Park. Eleanor is reserved and has her own off-beat style, which give the kids on the bus fodder but Park notices her intensely red hair. Neither one says anything to the other for days until Park realizes she’s reading his comic books over her shoulder. So begins their tumultuous relationship as they connect through mixtapes and comic books. As their relationship grows, we begin to learn more about Eleanor’s home life and how it affects her school life and relationship with Park. Rowell captures first love so perfectly when love seems so intense and as though it will last forever."
Erica, Collection Development

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.

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