The Big Read Podcast: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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In partnership with Park University and the UMKC Communication Studies Department, the Kansas City Public Library presents an audio recording of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – an accessible online feature that includes a cast of local luminaries as guest narrators.

The entirety of Mark Twain’s classic novel was released in daily installments. This unique audio recording also features dialogue voiced by Park University theatre students.

Patrick Bennett

Patrick Bennett Kastor (Tom Sawyer) is a junior at Park University majoring in Liberal Studies/Theater. At Park, he has starred as “Ray-Bud” in Dearly Departed as well as “Nils Krogstad” in A Doll’s House. This summer he interned for the Bell Road Barn Players. Currently he is working on two roles in Park University’s production of Almost, Maine. Before attending Park, he played “Morris” in G.K. Chesterton’s Magic and “Cocke” in Gammer Gurtons’s Needle at a Society of Our Lady of most Holy Trinity (SOLT) Liberal Arts institute in Corpus Christi, TX called Our Lady of Corpus Christi.

Mindy Reynolds

Mindy M. Reynolds (Aunt Polly, Beck Thatcher) is a junior at Park University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Communications/Public Relations with a double minor in Spanish and Theater. While at Park, she has acted and stage managed for Dearly Departed and has starred as “Nora” in A Doll’s House. She is currently stage managing and acting in Park’s production of Almost, Maine. She is also a Barber Shop Sweet Adeline gold medalist and a Master level American Clogger. She is thrilled to have finished her first audio book and is looking forward to whatever might come next.

Michael W. Graebner

Michael W. Graebner (Huck Finn – Chapters 13 - 35) holds a bachelor’s degree in the critical study of film and television from the University of Southern California Film School. Michael is a professional audio engineer and videographer, who has acted in award winning plays in high school and played various roles in student films and works of his own direction. He currently follows his passion for helping to educate the leaders of the future as the senior audio/visual technician at Park University.

Technical credits for The Big Read Podcast include: Michael Graebner (recording engineer) from Park University; Stephanie Hughes (audio engineer) from UMKC's "New Letters on the Air"; and Paul Smith (producer) from the Kansas City Public Library.

Audio


Introduction to The Big Read Podcast
Crosby Kemper III

Kansas City Public Library Director Crosby Kemper III offers a brief preview of what readers and listeners can expect when The Big Read Podcast launches on September 21, 2011. This audio recording of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will be released in daily installments, with one chapter made available every day. Every chapter features the voice of a local luminary reading the narrative, as well as the voices of Park University theater students performing the dialogue.

Chapter 1
Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri

Sly James was elected mayor of Kansas City on March 22, 2011, and sworn in on May 1, 2011. Born and raised in Kansas City, he graduated from Bishop Hogan High School in 1969 before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1971. When his service ended, James earned degrees from Rockhurst College and the University of Minnesota before embarking on a 26-year legal career, during which he became the first African-American partner at Blackwell, Sanders, Matheny, Weary & Lombardi. James has been married to Licia Clifton-James since 1981 and is the proud father of four children.

SYNOPSIS: In Chapter One, readers are introduced to Tom Sawyer in mid-mischief making – though his Aunty Polly is almost immediately onto him. Aunt Polly anticipates Tom’s playing hookey from school and promises to make him work that next day as punishment. Readers also meet Sid, the goody two-shoes half-brother to Tom. Before this chapter closes, Tom finds himself in a skirmish with a boy newly arrived in the village of St. Petersburg – but will he emerge victorious?

Chapter 2
Crosby Kemper III: Director of the Kansas City Public Library

Crosby Kemper III is the director of the Kansas City Public Library and former CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. Educated at Yale, he has taught English at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China – and been a bookseller in Grand Central Station in New York City. He is the editor of, and contributor to, Winston Churchill: Resolution, Defiance, Magnanimity, Good Will, published by the University of Missouri Press.

In 2008, Kemper and the Library received the Gold Medal for Libraries from the Institute for Museum and Library Services presented at the White House by former first lady Laura Bush.

SYNOPSIS: Here is the famed fence whitewashing scene – among the most iconic in the novel, given artistic treatment by the likes of Thomas Hart Benton and Norman Rockwell. Chapter Two begins with Tom searching desperately for a way to get out of whitewashing the fence that Aunt Polly has tasked him with – and eventually he lands upon a scheme that makes him rich, at least in the boyhood currency of odds and ends.

Chapter 3
Jeffrey Bentley: Executive Director of Kansas City Ballet

Jeffrey Bentley was appointed executive director of Kansas City Ballet in 1998. He has been involved in dance and theater for more than 30 years as a performer, administrator, festival director, dance presenter, teacher, and consultant. He studied at the American Ballet Center and the School of American Ballet before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1967. He served in leadership positions at many fine arts agencies – including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the New Orleans Ballet Association – before coming to Kansas City.

SYNOPSIS: Following his fence-painting success, Tom meets up with Ben Harper to play at being generals – and Tom leads his army to victory. During the homeward march, Tom first spies Becky Thatcher and becomes love-struck, thus relegating poor Amy Lawrence to literary also-ran status.

Chapter 4 (Part 1)
Angela Elam: Host of New Letters on the Air

Angela Elam has worked in public radio since 1988, but got her start in the medium years earlier as a reader for Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia in dramatic writing and immediately upon graduation, she was seduced into public radio at WUGA-FM in Athens, Georgia. She has served as producer and host of New Letters on the Air since 1996, and enjoys using her playwriting skills to shape the dialogue within her interviews.

SYNOPSIS: Tom resists the notion of attending church on Sunday – by expressing a complete lack of interest in memorizing Bible verses (that is, until his cousin Mary offers him a Barlow knife as a reward for diligence); and then by washing himself at the basin in only the most superficial way.

Chapter 4 (Part 2)
Heidi Van: Curator and co-founder of Fishtank Performance Studio

Van has enjoyed a career working as a professional actor at every professional theatre in Kansas City. Dubbed “the queen of dead art forms,” Van is best known for performing and creating pieces in the red nose clown style. She is a 2010 recipient of a Mastermind Award as well as a Charlotte Street Outstanding Generative Performing Artist and a KC Arts Fund Inspiration Grant recipient. Her most widely produced original clown play is The Coppelia Project: a clown ballet in three acts, which debuted at the 2008 Kansas City Fringe Festival.

SYNOPSIS: Before Sunday school, Tom spends some of the wealth accumulated by selling whitewashing privileges to acquire a sufficient number of tickets (awarded to students who successfully memorize Bible verses) that he can redeem for a brand new Bible. Tom has already demonstrated his familiarity with verses at the start of this chapter – and when he is faced with an impromptu quiz, the outcome is hilariously cringe-worthy.

Chapter 5
Jane Chu: President and chief executive officer of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Jane Chu has played a crucial role in the creation of a new Kansas City arts institution since becoming president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts since November 2006. She holds bachelors and masters degrees in piano performance, music education, and piano pedagogy from Ouachita Baptist University and Southern Methodist University, respectively. Additionally, she holds a M.B.A. from Rockhurst University and is a Ph.D. candidate in philanthropic studies at Indiana University.

SYNOPSIS: During church service, Tom is desperate for distraction. For entertainment, he releases a pinch-bug from a percussion-cap box – and soon the pinch-bug and a vagrant poodle dog become adversaries, as well as a surprisingly comic pair.

Chapter 6 (Part 1)
Leo Morton: Chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City

Leo E. Morton was named Chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City in December 2008. Prior to assuming the chancellorship, Morton was an executive at Aquila, Inc. His management career spanned 26 years in a wide range of engineering and manufacturing positions with AT&T Microelectronics, Bell Laboratories, General Motors, Rust Engineering Company, and Corning Glass.

Morton has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University, and a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

SYNOPSIS: Reluctant to attend school, Tom goes to dramatic lengths in faking an illness – but all for nothing. He stops to talk with Huckleberry Finn on the way to school; Huck is carrying around a dead cat (an essential piece for an incantation to remove warts) and the two boys pledge to try out the incantation that very evening.

Chapter 6 (Part 2)
Donna Pitman: “FirstNews” co-anchor for KMBC Channel 9

A native of Independence, Missouri, Donna Pitman graduated from the University of Missouri where she majored in journalism and earned a minor in Spanish. Donna began her reporting career on public radio at KBIA-FM in Columbia, Missouri, and later KOMU-TV. She is the co-anchor for "FirstNews" and her reporting can be seen during the KMBC 9 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

SYNOPSIS: Tom takes a switching in school for tardiness (an offense exacerbated by his admitting to consorting with Huckleberry Finn) – but this is just a part of his clever scheme to get close to Becky Thatcher. He woos her with some rudimentary drawings that succeed in attracting her attention.

Chapter 7
Steve Paul: Senior editor for The Kansas City Star

Steve Paul is senior writer and arts editor of The Kansas City Star, where he has been a staff member since 1975. He's a former officer of the National Book Critics Circle, a onetime bookseller, author of a forthcoming book on Kansas City architecture, co-editor of a future collection of essays on Ernest Hemingway, and editor of Kansas City Noir, a short-story collection scheduled for publication in 2012.

SYNOPSIS: During the school day, Tom is desperate for distraction. For entertainment, he releases a tick from a percussion-cap box – and soon he and his friend Joe Harper are busily chasing the poor insect across a slate with pins, until the schoolmaster busts up the fun. Over the course of the lunchtime break, Tom and Becky Thatcher get “engaged,” but this new relationship is short-lived.

Chapter 8
Kay Barnes: Professor at Park University

Kay Barnes is a distinguished professor for Public Leadership at Park University. She served two terms as the first woman mayor of Kansas City from 1999 to 2007, and is credited with pushing for revitalization of the downtown area.

SYNOPSIS: A dejected Tom wishes to make Becky Thatcher sorry for her treatment of him – and so he weighs his options, and decides to become a pirate. He scrambles to a nearby forest clearing to collect his things (marbles, mainly) – but finds Joe Harper instead, and the two spend the afternoon playing Robin Hood.

Chapter 9
Jolie Justus: Missouri State Senator, 10th District

Jolie Justus has represented Kansas City’s 10th District in the Missouri State Senate since 2006. She holds leadership roles as vice chair of the Progress and Development Committee, vice chair of the Healthy Missourians 2020 Committee, and as ranking Democrat on the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Born in Kansas City and raised in Branson, Justus earned her undergraduate degree from Southwest Missouri State University and her juris doctorate from the UMKC School of Law. She works as director of Pro Bono Services for the law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP.

SYNOPSIS: Huckleberry Finn summons Tom to join him (and his dead cat) in the graveyard. They intend to test Huck’s superstitious notion of curing warts – but their plans are stalled (and then forgotten) when they encounter Doc Robinson in the company of Muff Potter and the notorious Injun Joe.

Chapter 10
Gina Kaufman: Author

Gina Kaufmann is a freelance author, storytelling curator, and broadcast journalist from Kansas City who dabbles in sheep farming. Her first book is More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Nineteenth Century Kansas Women, which hits the shelves in January 2012; she also contributed the essay, “Exquisite Suffering,” to A Waiting Room of One's Own. Kaufman earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. An avid Library supporter, Kaufman is honored to participate in The Big Read for a second year.

SYNOPSIS: Tom and Huck have fled the graveyard – and swear to each to keep mum about what they saw transpire at Horse Williams’ graveside. The sudden howling of a stray dog makes the boys believe that they are marked for death and they lament their wicked ways.

Chapter 11
Miriam Pepper: Vice President, Editorial Page, for The Kansas City Star

Miriam Pepper has led The Kansas City Star’s Opinion pages in print and online for the last 10 years. She has also served as The Star’s Readers’ Representative as well as a business columnist, political reporter, special projects reporter, City Hall bureau chief, and Missouri Legislative correspondent. She has also worked for the Associated Press and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She is secretary-treasurer of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, president of the Kansas City Press Club Foundation, and a two-time Pulitzer juror. She is married and the mother of two adult children.

SYNOPSIS: Tom and Huck witness the Sheriff and other residents of St. Petersburg accuse Muff Potter of murder – an accusation supported by the public testimony of Injun Joe. The next morning, Sid complains about Tom having nightmares and talking about blood in his sleep.

Chapter 12
Julian Zugazagoitia: Director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Julián Zugazagoitia has served as director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum for just over one year. Before coming to Kansas City, he served as a cultural attaché to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and consultant for the Getty Conservation Institute, and later as director of the El Museo del Barrio in New York City.

Born in Mexico, Zugazagoitia holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Sorbonne Paris IV, with a focus on Aesthetics and Modernism in the arts, and was awarded a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres Medal by the French Ministry of Culture in 2003.

SYNOPSIS: Becky Thatcher has fallen ill, and Tom is depressed and worried over her condition. Aunt Polly interprets his depression as an ailment and looks for a remedy, finally deciding on pain-killer as the best treatment. But the only cure for him is to see Becky come down the road to school; when she greets him coolly, Tom is crestfallen.

Chapter 13
Carolyn Long: co-anchor for KCTV Channel 5

Carolyn Long co-anchors KCTV5 News at Noon and KCTV5 News at 4 p.m. She joined the KCTV5 News team in August 1996 as a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Kent State University with a degree in communications and a minor in political journalism and worked as a radio news anchor in Connecticut before coming to Kansas City.

SYNOPSIS: Tom and Joe Harper pledge themselves to lives of piracy – and naturally recruit Huck Finn to join their gang of three. They flee to Jackson’s Island and envision adventure-filled careers in piracy as their collective future.

Chapter 14
Mary Sanchez: Editorial Columnist for The Kansas City Star

Mary Sanchez is a weekly syndicated columnist with Tribune Media Services and a local columnist with The Kansas City Star, specializing in immigration, education, race, politics and culture. She received the National Clarion Award in 2007 for column writing and her columns appeared in Best Newspaper Writing 2007, published by The Poynter Institute.

Sanchez also writes a monthly column for Poder, a business magazine geared to Latin America and has been a correspondent for EFE, a wire service based in Madrid, Spain. A Kansas City native, Sanchez has lived in Mexico and traveled extensively in Central America.

SYNOPSIS: Tom and his comrades spend the day at play on Jackson’s Island – until homesickness distracts their thoughts. They are soon distracted by the sound of a steamboat firing a canon into the water, from which Tom deduces that the village of St. Petersburg fears that he and his comrades have drowned.

Chapter 15
Jane Wood: Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Park University

Jane Wood joined Park University as an associate professor and chair of the English department in 2006. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and both master’s and doctoral degree from the University of Kansas. She recently published The Theme of Peace and War in Virginia Woolf’s War Writings (2010). She is a past president of the board of directors of the Unicorn Theatre and serves as co-chair of the Governance Committee for The Writers Place.

SYNOPSIS: Tom sneaks away from the campsite while Huck and Joe sleep, leaving them to eavesdrop on Aunt Polly back home. He spies on Aunty Polly and Mrs. Harper as both grieve over their lost boys, thought drowned.

Chapter 16
Steve Kraske: Political report and columnist for The Kansas City Star

Steve Kraske is the host of “Up to Date” on KCUR 89.3 FM and has worked as the political correspondent for The Kansas City Star since 1994. He covers national, state, and local politics with a special focus on the Iowa presidential caucuses every four years. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received a bachelor's degree in journalism.

SYNOPSIS: Tom and his comrades spend another at play on Jackson’s Island – but this time, the eventual pangs of homesickness create a schism within the group. In desperation, Tom reveals a plan that will work only if the three boys remain together on the island for a little while longer.

Chapter 17
Miriam Pepper: Vice President, Editorial Page, for The Kansas City Star

Miriam Pepper has led The Kansas City Star’s Opinion pages in print and online for the last 10 years. She has also served as The Star’s Readers’ Representative as well as a business columnist, political reporter, special projects reporter, City Hall bureau chief, and Missouri Legislative correspondent. She has also worked for the Associated Press and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She is secretary-treasurer of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, president of the Kansas City Press Club Foundation, and a two-time Pulitzer juror. She is married and the mother of two adult children.

SYNOPSIS: The town of St. Petersburg mourns the assumed loss of Tom, Huck, and Joe – until the boys make a surprise appearance in the church during their funerals.

Chapter 18
Wolfgang Bucher

Wolfgang Bucher has been fortunate enough to parlay his two favorite things, art and coffee into a career. He part-times as a barista at City Center Starbucks. He has worked an artist/educator in Kansas City for over 15 years, developing curriculums and programs for youth that utilize interdisciplinary art as a vehicle to enhance self-compassion, life skills, and social skills. In 2006, Bucher co-founded Mosaic Brain, which provides after-school, evening, and summer art programs to at-risk youth and families in the urban core of Kansas City. In 2008, Bucher organized Chalk Walk in the Historic Northeast, an annual accessible chalk art festival on the Concourse at Kessler Park. On his off time, he bikes, gardens, and reads books.

SYNOPSIS: Under pressure from Aunt Polly, Tom professes to have had a dream that convinces his caretaker that her carefree ward did consider her grief while pulling his prank. Back at school, Tom and Becky cannot bring themselves to reconcile.

Chapter 19
Angela Elam: Host of New Letters on the Air

Angela Elam has worked in public radio since 1988, but got her start in the medium years earlier as a reader for Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia in dramatic writing and immediately upon graduation, she was seduced into public radio at WUGA-FM in Athens, Georgia. She has served as producer and host of New Letters on the Air since 1996, and enjoys using her playwriting skills to shape the dialogue within her interviews.

SYNOPSIS: Aunt Polly confronts Tom about his so-called dream. For once, she finds more than empty promises from Tom in a not-quite-empty pocket of his jacket.

Chapter 20
Kaite Stover: Readers’ Services Manager at the Kansas City Public Library

Kaite Stover is the Library’s Big Read book group facilitator – a natural fit since she is a nationally recognized authority on reading tastes and trends. She is a columnist for Booklist magazine as well as NoveList, and is co-editor of The Readers’ Advisory Handbook (2010).

SYNOPSIS: Tom witnesses Becky steal a glance at the schoolmaster’s anatomy book – and then accidentally tear one of its pages. Though he revels in her anxiety about the punishment when her offense is discovered, Tom takes the blame – and the whipping.

Chapter 21
Steve Sitton: Site Administrator for the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site

Steve Sitton grew up in south Kansas City, graduating from Ruskin High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, in 1990. He has worked for the Missouri Division of State Parks since 1994, starting out as the tourist assistant for Deutschheim State Historic Site in Hermann. He became the site administrator of Deutschheim in 2000, and then transferred to the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site in 2001.

SYNOPSIS: Amid the schoolmaster’s tedious annual exhibition of student learning, Tom and his fellow students execute a prank that is far more entertaining than amateur oratory.

Chapter 22
Angela Elam: Host of New Letters on the Air

Angela Elam has worked in public radio since 1988, but got her start in the medium years earlier as a reader for Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia in dramatic writing and immediately upon graduation, she was seduced into public radio at WUGA-FM in Athens, Georgia. She has served as producer and host of New Letters on the Air since 1996, and enjoys using her playwriting skills to shape the dialogue within her interviews.

SYNOPSIS: Amid a series of summertime amusements and disappointments, Tom becomes bedridden with the measles for two weeks – and then loses three more weeks to a relapse.

Chapter 23
Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver II: Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District

Emanuel Cleaver II is now serving his fourth term representing Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District and was recently elected as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus of the 112th Congress. Having served for 12 years on Kansas City’s City Council, Cleaver was elected as the city’s first African-American mayor in 1991. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M of the University of Texas and a master’s degree from St. Paul Theology in Kansas City, augmented by five honorary doctoral degrees.

SYNOPSIS: The long-awaited trial of Muff Potter for the murder Dr. Robinson has arrived – and Tom is suffering acute pangs of conscience. As the trial progresses, the crowd in the courtroom is annoyed by the seeming incompetence of Potter’s attorney, that is, until a surprise witness is called to testify.

Chapter 24
Mi-Ai Parrish: President and publisher of The Kansas City Star

Mi-Ai Parrish took over leadership of The Kansas City Star in June 2011, after nearly five years as president and publisher the Idaho Statesman. Her career has included editorial roles at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Arizona Republic, and the Chicago Sun-Times. A native of New York City, Parrish holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

SYNOPSIS: Tom basks in public commendations of his courage – but suffers nightmares about Injun Joe taking revenge.

Chapter 25
Mi-Ai Parrish, President and publisher of The Kansas City Star

Mi-Ai Parrish took over leadership of The Kansas City Star in June 2011, after nearly five years as president and publisher the Idaho Statesman. Her career has included editorial roles at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Arizona Republic, and the Chicago Sun-Times. A native of New York City, Parrish holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

SYNOPSIS: Tom and Huck embark upon careers as treasure hunters only to find their efforts thwarted by superstition, magic, and the lack of an accurate timekeeping device. So they decide to move their prospecting efforts indoors to a haunted house in a valley behind Cardiff Hill.

Chapter 26
Nick Haines: Executive producer, Kansas City Public Television

Nick Haines leads KCPT’s news and public affairs division. He is host of KCPT’s primetime public affairs program Kansas City Week in Review and Executive Producer of KCPT’s weekly food-for-thought-fight Ruckus, as well as numerous community-interest documentaries and specials. Haines is a former BBC radio news reporter and holds a degree in government from the University of Essex. Nick joined KCPT in 1999 after a ten-year career in public radio news. He is the former news director of KANU in Lawrence, and for three years covered the Kansas legislature for Kansas Public Radio. His reports have been featured on National Public Radio and the Voice of America.

SYNOPSIS: Tom and Huck stumble upon Injun Joe and the Spaniard – just as the criminals stumble upon an attractive pile of treasure.

Chapter 27
Gwen Grant: CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City

Gwen Grant provides direction and oversight for advancing the Urban League mission and its programs, including the Servant Leadership Development Program that has trained 450 emerging leaders. She is vice president of the Kansas City Missouri School District Buildings Corporation Board of Directors and leads the internal facilitator team for this district’s community-wide strategic planning initiative. She has received numerous honors and awards, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Community Service Award and the Martin Luther King – King Dream Conference Woman of the Year.

Grant holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Park University and an Executive Fellows MBA from Rockhurst University.

SYNOPSIS: Tom and Huck lament the misfortune of having missed the fortune that is now in the hands of Injun Joe and the Spaniard. But some quick detective work gives Tom a lead in tracking down the whereabouts of the loot.

Chapter 28
Angela Elam: Host of New Letters on the Air

Angela Elam has worked in public radio since 1988, but got her start in the medium years earlier as a reader for Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia in dramatic writing and immediately upon graduation, she was seduced into public radio at WUGA-FM in Athens, Georgia. She has served as producer and host of New Letters on the Air since 1996, and enjoys using her playwriting skills to shape the dialogue within her interviews.

SYNOPSIS: Tom has a too-close-for-comfort encounter with Injun Joe, but he escapes undetected. Afterward, he and Huck hatch a new plan to track down the gold – though the risk seems to fall entirely upon Huck...

Chapter 29
Paul Smith: Communications specialist, Kansas City Public Library

Paul Smith has served as the lead coordinator for The Big Read at the Kansas City Public Library since 2009. Earlier this year, Library Journal designated him as a “Mover & Shaker,” which recognizes those in the library profession doing extraordinary work to serve their users and move library services forward.

SYNOPSIS: While Tom and Becky attend a picnic and then venture into McDougal’s Cave, Huckleberry overhears Injun Joe and the Spaniard plotting to attack the Widow Douglas. Heroism ensues.

Chapter 30
Jama Akers: Owner, The Akers Studio

Jama Akers is a writer, public relations professional and broadcast producer with many years of experience representing nonprofit organizations and small business. A native of Kansas City, she is the owner of the Akers Studio, providing strategic communications and media relations consultation. She has written numerous articles about artists and exhibitions and been published in local and national art magazines and journals. Akers is a graduate of Colorado College with a degree in philosophy. In her spare time, she is working on a children’s book tentatively titled Dolce and Goldy.

SYNOPSIS: St. Petersburg is atwitter with the news that the Widow Douglas was rescued from robbers – though speculation about the robbers is doused by the realization that Tom and Becky have not returned from the picnic outing.

Chapter 31
Pam Whiting: Vice President of Communications, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

Pam Whiting is a familiar voice to many Kansas Citians. She was a reporter, news director, and so-called “morning personality” for many years as half of the popular “Dan & Pam” AM show. She also was a reporter for KMBC-TV and hosted a talk show on KCPT-Channel 19. Whiting currently serves as vice president of Communications for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, she served as press secretary to then-Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II.

She lives in Kansas City with her husband, dog, and two cats.

SYNOPSIS: A pleasant adventure in McDougal’s Cave becomes a nightmare for Tom and Becky as they lose their way, and find their sources of food and light dwindling quickly. Soon after their last candle dies, Tom happens upon his nemesis wandering a passageway nearby – narrowly avoiding discovery as he searches for escape.

Chapter 32
Gregg Todt: Producer, KQRC 98.9 FM The Rock

If Gregg’s voice sounds familiar then someone is an early bird. Gregg has been the producer of the Johnny Dare Morning Show on 98.9 The Rock for over 15 years and is a frequent on-air personality. He is also one of Kansas City’s most popular local musicians as lead vocalist and guitarist for Federation of Horsepower and drummer for Hossferatu and The Great Vehicle. He writes many of the witty ditties heard on the Johnny Dare show and contributed the title track to the gold-selling album, Lord I Apologize by Larry the Cable Guy. Gregg is the proud dad of Ian, also a budding musician.

SYNOPSIS: Tom and Becky are rescued thanks almost entirely to Tom’s tenacity, plus a little bit of luck. After he recuperates from the ordeal, Tom learns from Judge Thatcher that the entrance to McDougal’s Cave has been sealed – and only Tom realizes whose fate has been unintentionally sealed therein.

Chapter 33
Bob Butler: Resident film expert at kclibrary.org/film-blog

Bob Butler is a lifelong Kansas City area resident, a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School and the William Allan White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. For several decades he was the movie editor of the Kansas City Star; he now selects film screenings and writes a film blog for the Library, in addition to running a movie-themed blog at butlerscinemascene.com. He's married to the former Ellen Vaughan; they are the proud parents of LA-based comedian, writer, director, and TV personality Blair Butler. He used to be a dog person but now lives with two cats, thus demonstrating the flexibility of the human condition.

SYNOPSIS: Tom recruits Huck for one last treasure-hunting outing, during which they refine their plans to start a gang of robbers. (Note: these plans are fully realized in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.) On their way home, the boys are waylaid by the Welshman and brought to the home of the Widow Douglas.

Chapter 34
Billie Howard Barnes: Board of Trustees, Kansas City Public Library

Billie Howard Barnes is a fourth grade teacher at the Pembroke Hill School. She is the recipient of several educational awards and was a UMKC Fellow of The Greater Kansas City Writing Project. Howard Barnes is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, where she attained a bachelor’s degree in English literature. In 2010, she earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education from the University of Kansas. Howard Barnes was appointed to the Library Board in August, 2005.

SYNOPSIS: The Widow Douglas offers to take Huckleberry Finn into her home as a token of her thanks for his heroism, which has been divulged by the Welshman. Then Tom and Huck reveal their newfound riches before an audience of the most prominent citizens of St. Petersburg.

Chapter 35 & Conclusion
Crosby Kemper III: Director of the Kansas City Public Library

Crosby Kemper III is the director of the Kansas City Public Library and former CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. Educated at Yale, he has taught English at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China – and been a bookseller in Grand Central Station in New York City. He is the editor of, and contributor to, Winston Churchill: Resolution, Defiance, Magnanimity, Good Will, published by the University of Missouri Press.

In 2008, Kemper and the Library received the Gold Medal for Libraries from the Institute for Museum and Library Services presented at the White House by former first lady Laura Bush.

SYNOPSIS: Huck does not last long in the confines of the Widow Douglas’ home before he runs away. Tom tracks down the errant boy and convinces him that the civilizing offered by the Widow Douglas is a prerequisite to joining Tom Sawyer’s Gang.