Homegrown Talent

Did you know that—right here, in our town—there are writers and artists and dreamers who make books just for you? I made a list, but I’m sure there are more. If you have a favorite author or illustrator who lives nearby, let me know!

Yours with snorts,

S. Will Burr signature

Roderick Townley

Friday, December 4, 2009
7:00pm @ Plaza Branch
RSVP now!

The Kansas City Public Library welcomes author Roderick Townley for a presentation based on his new book The Blue Shoe:  A Tale of Thievery, Villainy, Sorcery, and Shoes.

The Blue Shoe is an off-center fairy tale that deals with timely issues—greed, prejudice, and the cost of loyalty—with a light touch. An apprentice shoemaker, Hap Barlo is accused of theft and banished to the far side of Mount Xexnax. The punishment is a favor because Hap hopes to find his father, since he’s also been sent to Mount Xexnax. Townley offers an imaginative world for middle school readers with quirkier-than-life characters, dangerous escapades, daring escapes, evil miners, surprising allies, and a mysterious and beautiful blue shoe.

The book features illustrations by Mary GrandPré, the artist renowned for the covers and illustrations for the Harry Potter books.

Roderick Townley has taught in Chilé on a Fulbright Fellowship and worked in New York as a journalist. He now writes from his home in Overland Park.

Jenny Whitehead

Lunch Box Mail and Other Poems
By Jenny Whitehead

A delightful poetry collection about childhood experiences by a talented newcomer.

"The principal called—"

"No more school!"

"It's canceled all week—"

"April Fool!"

School may not be canceled (sorry about that!) but there are still plenty of fun things to do all week long-getting a haircut with Dad, waiting for the ice-cream man, wishing on a star.

From tummy butterflies on the first day of school, to the excitement of learning how to read, to the joys of slurping Jell-O, this playful poetry collection captures childhood in all its bumps and thrills. So if you'd like to know the significance of purple goop or the type of vegetable you can laugh right out your nose, turn the page and read on-you're sure to get a friendly case of the giggling hiccups!

Shane Evans

Olu's Dream
By Shane Evans

It's time for Olu to lie down in bed, for the little one to sleep, his dad just said. Though Olu would rather play and race, Not end the fun, or slow the pace. But as soon as Olu shuts those eyes, catch this—imagination flies!

Brad Sneed

Deputy Harvey and the Ant Cow Caper
By Brad Sneed

2006 Kansas Notable Book

Some cows are missing, and rumor says the culprits are a wild bunch of ladybugs. This spoofy mystery-adventure is told with a western twang, and illustrated in a colorful style that holds many clever clues. Full color.

Lisa Campbell-Ernst

When Bluebell Sang
By Lisa Campbell Ernst

A singing cow's talent brings her stardom, but she soon longs to be back at the farm—if she can get away from her greedy manager.

Derrick Barnes

Brand New School, Brave New Ruby
By Derrick Barnes

Smart and sassy, eight-year-old Ruby is tired of living in the shadows of her three older brothers. When she has a chance to break out, things don't go according to plan. But with nerve and verve, Ruby will make sure everyone knows her name.

Laura Huliska-Beith

Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum
By Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated By Laura Huliska-Beith

2005 Missouri Building Blocks Picture Book Award Winner

Equally hilarious verse and illustrations build the suspense as animal after animal becomes stuck in a gooey bubble-gum mess.

Bradley K. Harris

My Brother and I
By Bradley K. Harris
Illustrator Phyllis Harris

Two young brothers, as different as can be—one likes to stay inside to play blocks and paint pictures, while the other likes to play outside and climb tall trees. Yet despite all their differences, they discover a deeper bond is always there to be shared. Lovely, textured illustrations in rich watercolors and pastels bring this heartwarming story sparkling to life.

Brad Harris' greatest passion is writing and performing for his children. "My Brother and I" was inspired by real-life events and is a first-time collaboration between Brad and his wife, Phyllis.

Phyllis Harris is the illustrator of -several books including "Swim, Swam, Swum." Working with her husband Brad on this book was a long-awaited dream come true.

Dian Curtis Regan

Monster Baby
By Dian Curtis Regan

A very different kind of baby is left on the doorstep of a kindly country couple.

Mrs. Oliver's dreams have come true when her husband finds a tiny baby on the doorstep of their farmhouse. He looks like any other newborn—well, except for the fur, the tail, the pointy teeth, and the horns. But to Mrs. Oliver, he is beautiful. Olly begins to grow at an alarming rate, and in just three days he's big enough for kindergarten. He makes friends with the children at school, but his size keeps getting him in trouble... until he realizes all the things it allows him to do. After graduating from college two weeks after coming to live with the Olivers, Olly is adopted by his new parents. Even better, someone new, and equally unusual, moves into the farm down the road.