Have you ever spotted letters in unlikely places? Perhaps it’s a crack in the sidewalk shaped like an “R,” or a bridge railing that looks like an “N.” Stephen T. Johnson’s Caldecott Honor book Alphabet City is full of images of ABC’s spotted in city scenes.
This week at the Library, we want you to hit the streets of KC to find your own letters in the landscape and share them with us on social media.
An award-winning artist and children’s book illustrator, Stephen T. Johnson  grew up in Kansas and lives in Lawrence. He got the idea for Alphabet City over ten years ago.
He was walking down a New York sidewalk and saw an ornamental keystone that looked like the letter S. “Then suddenly I saw the letter A in a construction sawhorse and the letter Z in fire-escapes,” he writes.
Pretty soon, he’d found the whole alphabet.
Johnson’s Alphabet City paintings are part of an exhibit at Central called Art, Language & Play . He will be conducting a kids’ workshop on Friday, April 20, at 10:30 a.m. at the Central Library (RSVP now ).
Alphabet KC Photo Contest
This week, we want you to fire up your imagination, grab your camera or smartphone, and head out into the urban/suburban wilderness of Kansas City to find as many letters as you can.
Maybe you’ll find an “O” somewhere in Olathe. Or an “R” in Raytown. Wherever you are, be on the lookout for hidden letters. When you find one, snap a photo and share it with us. Whoever finds the most letters by 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 29, 2012, will receive an autographed copy of Alphabet City.
This could be a great adventure to enjoy with your kids, your friends, or on your own.
Note: Letters found in signs are not eligible.
How to Share
Once you’ve taken a snapshot of the letter, note the location, and do one or more of the following:
- Twitter: Tweet it to us @kclibrary  with the hashtag #abckc.
- Facebook: Post it on our wall at facebook.com/kclibrary .
- Pinterest: Create an “Alphabet KC” board and upload it with the hashtag #abckc. Tag the Library’s Pinterest @KCLibrary .
- Instagram: Tag our Instagram profile @kclibrary and using the hashtag #abckc. (Optional: Share on Twitter/Facebook as well.)
- E-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org 
Be sure to note the location of each photo.
At the end of the contest, we’ll collect all the letters and share them on our website. We’ll also announce the winner of the signed copy of Alphabet City.
Just think, whether you win or not, you’ll have your own map of Kansas City’s unique, hidden alphabet!
About the Author
Jason Harper  is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.