Previous Special Events

Thursday, May 15, 2014

For most of the Civil War, the role of cavalry was limited to reconnaissance and screening infantry movements. But at the Battle of Yellow Tavern (Virginia) on May 11, 1864, a mounted federal force defeated the legendary rebel cavalry of J.E.B. Stuart, who was mortally wounded and died a day later. The North realized that cavalry could be an essential offensive tool.

Observing the 150th anniversary of the battle, Louis DiMarco of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth examines the role of mounted combat in the Civil War.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jonathan Swift is known today as the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the classic satiric fantasy. But during his lifetime, Swift was famous as a major political and religious figure and as a national hero who fiercely protested English exploitation of his native Ireland.

In a discussion of his new book, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography, Harvard’s Leo Damrosch shows how Swift’s public version of his life — the one accepted until recently — was deliberately misleading.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Thirty years ago Eddy Harris took a solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River. The result was the acclaimed Mississippi Solo: A River Quest.

As he prepares a second journey down the big river, Harris discusses his past and present and the changes the intervening years have wrought — on the river, on the country, and on himself.

Harris’ penetrating accounts of his travels — among them Native Stranger and Still Life in Harlem — center on his own identity and the identity of blacks in general, and how places either embrace or alienate black culture.


Sunday, May 11, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Two American originals—baseball and musical comedy—meet in this 1955 fantasy which updates the Faustian legend to the modern American baseball diamond. An aging baseball fan sells his soul to the devil in return for newfound youth and the batting skills to lead his home team to victory over the hated New York Yankees. Among the hit tunes from this Tony-winning Best Musical are “(You Gotta Have) Heart” and “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”

The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre performs its eighth season of Script-in-Hand – a series of classic comedies called Exit Laughing.


Friday, May 9, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Enjoy a performance by the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts Band! Here’s a chance to see what some of Kansas City’s talented youth have to offer.

Paseo Academy is a signature school in the Kansas City Public School District. Students with an interest in fine and performing arts audition for admission.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

A writer and a filmmaker join creative forces to craft a unique work that can only be read the old-fashioned way, by turning the pages. A layered literary mystery, S. uses the story of a nameless man without a memory to tell another story of two college students’ romance and their life-threatening pursuit of an author’s carefully hidden secret identity.

In a conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, Doug Dorst explains how he and co-creator J.J. Abrams (TV’s Lost and Alias) conceived of and created S., in which the story on the printed page dovetails with the scribblings of two readers in the margins and the various objects — photos, maps, telegrams, postcards, letters — found hidden between those pages.


Thursday, May 8, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Authors Dav Pilkey and Dan Santat introduce young readers to the newly re-illustrated Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot book series – written by Pilkey and drawn by Santat.

Pilkey is the man behind the popular Captain Underpants and Super Diaper Baby series of children’s books. Santat, an award-winning author and illustrator, created the animated Disney Channel series The Replacements.

Books purchased during the event will be available for signing after the presentation.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Why do some children succeed and others fail? Answers don’t come from the ACT, SAT, or other measures of intelligence, Paul Tough says. The author points to less calculable qualities such as perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.

In a discussion of his best-selling book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, Tough introduces us to researchers and educators who are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their experiences, he traces the links between childhood stress and achievement. He uncovers surprising ways in which parents prepare — and fail to prepare — children for adulthood. And he offers new insights into how to help youngsters growing up in poverty.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

According to an ancient Frankish ordinance, “He who claims that someone else is covered in dung shall be liable to pay 120 denari.” In Skamania County, Washington, it is a felony to commit the “premeditated, willful and wanton” slaying of a sasquatch – a creature whose existence has never been proven.

Kevin Underhill examines weird, bizarre, illogical, and just plain funny laws from the past and the present in a discussion of his new book. Underhill is a partner in the San Francisco office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, the powerhouse law firm based in Kansas City. He is the author of the essay series, “If Great Literary Works Had Been Written by Lawyers,” and the blog “Lowering the Bar.”


Sunday, May 4, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Coterie Theatre Artists read from favorite children's books while the audience enjoys an opportunity to "jump into the story" and participate in an improvised story of their own making.

Appropriate for all ages, Dramatic Story Time programs take place one Sunday each month at 2 p.m. throughout the 2013-2014 school year, beginning October 6, 2013.