Previous Special Events

Sunday, September 13, 2015
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Judy Schachner doodled on just about everything while growing up in New England, including her father’s bald head. Now, as The New York Times once put it, she is “something like the James Joyce for the elementary school set” — the author and illustrator of some two dozen children’s books including Bits & Pieces, Yo Vikings, The Grannyman, Willy and May, and the Skippyjon Jones series. The latter earned her the first E.B. White Read Aloud Award.

The former Hallmark greeting card designer discusses her latest book, Dewey Bob, an endearing tale of unexpected friendship revolving around sweet raccoon Dewey Bob Crockett. She will sign copies purchased during the event.

Friday, September 11, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Philadelphia-born Kevin Roth draws from his collection of over 250 children’s songs for an interactive presentation focusing on character development, social skills, and teaching youngsters that we are all part of one world.

Appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Historians have long pointed to the devastation of smallpox and other European-introduced diseases in tracing the demise of North America’s indigenous peoples. Lacking antibodies, hundreds of thousands of Native Americans died. Control of the New World swung to its white colonists.

But that’s a convenient and incomplete story, says University of Kansas history professor Paul Kelton. Yes, there were epidemics. But in a discussion of his new book Cherokee Medicine, Colonial Germs: An Indigenous Nation’s Fight against Smallpox, 1518–1824, he maintains that scholars have overlooked how colonialism’s violence set the stage for Natives’ depopulation, curtailing their ability to protect themselves from infection, impeding recovery, and exacerbating mortality.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Whitney Terrell’s novel, The King of Kings County, remains a landmark examination of white flight and the manipulative, prejudice-laced real estate practices that helped to segregate Kansas City. Selected as a best book of 2005 by the Christian Science Monitor, its inquiry into the economic roots of racial inequality feels even more current today.

On the 10th anniversary of its publication, Terrell—assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City—revisits the issues he explored in the book. Has the city’s racial climate changed in the past decade? If so, how? If not, why? Joining the discussion are Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Kansas City and new Black Archives of Mid-America Manager Emiel Cleaver. Gina Kaufmann, the host of KCUR-FM’s Central Standard, moderates.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

An estimated 225,000 adults in Kansas City function at the lowest literacy level, denied some of the simplest and most important moments in life because they cannot read.

The nonprofit organization Literacy Kansas City targets that issue through tutoring and other direct services, advocacy, and collaboration. Its seventh annual event at the Library, The Power of Reading and Writing, emceed by KCPT-TV’s Nick Haines, commemorates the effort and the adult learners benefitting from it. A number of them share their stories. Kansas City Star columnist Jenee Osterheldt and playwright Frank Higgins also discuss what writing has brought to their lives.

Co-presented by Literacy Kansas City and The Writers Place. Co-sponsored by the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Location: City Market, 400 Grand St.

Join us on the first Saturday of every month (June–October) as the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library present the eighth annual City Market Summer Book Sale, from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. At the City Market, 400 Grand St. - North Walkway next to the Steamboat Arabia. For additional information, contact, or call 816.701.3468.

Friday, September 4, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Join the Kansas City Keepers chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance in an evening of activities that are all about J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard. Appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, September 3, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

You’re scheduled to give a business presentation, pitch investors, or deliver a wedding toast. And you’re petrified. You’re simply not cut out for public speaking.

David Nihill has walked—and talked—in your shoes. The Irish-born comedian and public speaker went from being deathly afraid of standing in front of an audience to regularly performing stand-up routines and winning storytelling competitions in front of packed houses. He did it by learning from some of the world’s best public speakers: stand-up comics.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Few creative artists before or since Walt Disney have left as deep an imprint on our culture. Nearly a half-century after his death in 1966, the man who gave us Mickey Mouse, the first feature-length animated film (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), and Disneyland remains an American icon.

What imprint did Disney’s early years in Marceline, Missouri, and Kansas City leave on him? On the morals and messages in his creations? Join Steven Watts in a sneak peek at PBS’ upcoming documentary Walt Disney, in which Watts is one of the featured historians, followed by a discussion led by the University of Missouri professor and author of The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Beyond fathering a nation, founding a great university, and leaving a legacy as an architect and inventor, Thomas Jefferson was a forefather of modern organic and sustainable garden movements. In gardens on the grounds of his Monticello estate, he nurtured 170 varieties of fruits, 330 different herbs and vegetables, and an array of flowers, experimenting with seeds and plants discovered during his travels and sent to him from friends abroad.

As the director of gardens and grounds at Monticello for 35 years, Peter J. Hatch brought Jefferson’s horticultural work back to life with a painstaking restoration of the 1,000-foot-long vegetable garden. Hatch looks back at the careful work—Jefferson’s and his own—in a discussion of his award-winning book “A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello.

Kansas City Public Library Beta