Previous Special Events

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of Sputnik, the world’s first satellite, was a critical Cold War moment for Dwight D. Eisenhower. What he called “a small ball” became a source of Soviet pride and propaganda and wounded him politically as critics charged the American president with responding sluggishly to the challenge of space exploration.

Dowling College historian Yanek Mieczkowski, the author of Eisenhower's Sputnik Moment: The Race for Space and World Prestige, argues otherwise. Eisenhower stayed calm and moved effectively in guiding the U.S. into the Space Age.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Few literary works are more quoted, translated, and adapted than Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This year marks the sesquicentennial of the 1865 publication of the tale of a young girl who falls through a rabbit hole into a world full of curious characters.

Kicking off a two-month, citywide celebration of the book, Mark Burstein—former president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America—discusses the impact that Carroll’s story and characters have had on literary and popular culture.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Spotlighting three generations of six ethnically diverse families, KCPT tackles the sensitive subjects of racism, prejudice, and immigration in the online documentary series Your Fellow Americans. Interviewed at the dinner table, members of the immigrant families discuss how they identify themselves, why they do, and what those identities both provide and cost them.

Producers Christopher Cook and Nate Bozarth share several of the filmed interviews and, after each viewing, lead a discussion of the issues they raise.

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.

Kansas City Public Library Beta