Book Review - The Cure for Dreaming

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

publication date: 2014
pages: 342
ISBN: 978-1-4197-1216-6

In The Cure for Dreaming, Cat Winters weaves bold and funky images, a mystical plot, and a potent message. The result is a fun but somewhat clunky book.

The book, set in Portland, Oregon in 1900, began with Olivia Mead, a budding suffragette with progressive ambitions. Olivia’s father decided to squash these rebellious attitudes for Olivia’s own good and, to that end, hired a hypnotist, Henri Reverie, to make Olivia pliable and obedient. The hypnotism didn’t go exactly as planned, and Olivia left the session with a newfound clarity concerning the role of women and men but no greater acceptance of the state of the gender roles. Olivia’s freshly-acquired clarity gave her the ability to see people and things as “they really are,” which caused her to see monsters and angels in her own backyard.

Winters’s concept was fun, compelling, and personally meaningful but poorly executed. One major problem was that many plot points were contrived and forced. Also, much of the characters’ speech and actions was jarringly modern. As just one small example, Olivia and her friends went “jogging.” It wasn’t just the plot that was problematic; the characters, also, were generally flat and predictable. For the most part, the characters were either evil or virtuous, with no gray in-between.

There were parts of the book, however, that I loved. Throughout the book, there were striking images from that time period, with quotes that related to the story. Winters also had an intriguing obsession with teeth. Olivia’s father was a dentist, Olivia was reading Dracula, and the immoral in the book showed themselves to Olivia as vampires.

The mystical component of the book was interesting. When Winters was discussing the mystical, like Olivia’s vampires or the hypnotist Reverie, she used an effective style that was gothic and morbid. For example:

Without a single other word – or kiss – he slipped his hands back into his pockets and walked away into the shadows, whistling a song that sounded both sad and lovely, like a Pied Piper who pitied the children he was luring out of town.

Another example is Olivia’s experience immediately after being hypnotized:

[M]y tongue froze when I caught sight of a fiend in a white coat standing in the lobby where my father should have been. The brute’s red eyes gleamed bright and dangerous, and his skin went deathly pale and thin enough to reveal the jutting curves of the facial skeleton beneath his flesh. His graying beard resembled the flea-infested fur of a rat.

Because this book was intriguing but inconsistent, I wouldn’t necessarily universally recommend it. I would, however, recommend it to people who need a dose of feminism, avid readers looking for something a little different, or people interested in the woman’s suffrage movement or hypnotism.

3/6: worth reading

About the Author

Jill Anderson

Jill Anderson has a business degree and JD from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She's lived in Kansas City for several years and has worked at the library since 2014. She loves to read anything and everything and you can find YA reviews and more on her book blog at

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Bareknuckle Books

Which author would win in a (literary) fight?

That’s the question you get to help answer during Bareknuckle Books, our Author Cage Match - “Paperweight” Division. Vote for your choice of author in each round April 13-17, and those winners will advance until we have our 2015 Bareknuckle Books Champion!

Who are the authors? And what’s with the “fighting?”
Glad you asked! We chose some of our favorite authors, living or dead. And everyone loves a competition, so we thought it would be fun to see which you think are the best.

Authors will be paired up, and you vote to decide who wins. (Whether they’re competing for the title of best author, or who would actually win in a knock-down, drag-out fight is up to you...)

UPDATE (4/18/2015):

We have a winner! Thank you everyone who played Bareknuckle Books. After many rounds, our victor is MAYA ANGELOU! Click here for more information on how each fight turned out.

And now, the competitors:


May the best writer win!

How do I vote?
Visit Monday, April 13, through Friday, April 17, and choose your victors. There will be new matches every day, and the winning authors will advance to the next rounds until we have a champion! Half of our authors will battle it out on Monday, the other half on Tuesday. After that, it’s winner-take-all as the previous days’ victors are pitted against each other until only one is left standing.

What’s in it for me?
Bragging rights! Also, it’s fun. (But don’t worry; there will also be a random drawing for some fun Library swag. Full contest information is below.)

Awesome! What can I do?
Vote! Tell your friends! Share #BareknuckleBooks on social media! Start arguments in bars over whether Ernest Hemingway had bigger <insert euphemism here> than Hunter S. Thompson! (Just know that we won’t be there to help bail you out afterward… Libraries are underfunded as is.)

Remember to visit every day this week to choose your victors, and have fun!

Contest Details:

To show our appreciation for participating in Bareknuckle Books, we are also hosting a random drawing for prizes. All you need to do is submit your name & email at and you will be entered into the raffle. (Heck, you don’t even have to vote in Bareknuckle Books to enter the drawing. That’s how much we like you!) The winners will be chosen at random and announced on April 20, 2015. Winners will be contacted via email, and their names published on the Library’s website.

One Grand Prize:
* One copy of a book written by the Bareknuckle Books “champion”, one Kansas City Public Library canvas tote bag, and two tumbler glasses from the Library’s recent Love on the Rocks reading program.

Two Runner-up prizes:
* One Kansas City Public Library canvas tote bag.
* One signed book by a previous Library presenter. (There have been some awesome authors who have come to speak at the Library over the years. We found some of their signed books that we had squirreled away, so why not give one away?)

Anyone is welcome to enter the drawing, but prizes must be picked up from one of our Kansas City Public Library locations.

Poems For Tiny People and The Grown-Ups Who Love Them

Poetry does not need to be lofty. It does not need to be revolutionary. It does not need to rhyme or follow a particular form. It can do all of these things, but it doesn’t have to. When we celebrate National Poetry Month every April, sometimes we forget that it is for all ages. That’s right; even tiny babies can enjoy poems.

The poems in The Silver Moon: Lullabies and Cradle Songs by Jack Perlutsky and illustrated by Jui Ishida are song lyrics. There is sheet music in the back of the book for four songs and you can download the musical notation for the rest at Jack Prelutsky's website.

These poems don’t need music to be beautiful. The short sets of well-chosen words sound lovely when said aloud. The illustrations are warm and rich. They feature babies with adults--both animals and humans. The people are from many different ethnic backgrounds. There are men and women, old and young. It reflects the diversity that we experience.

The Lambton County Library in Canada has a wonderful explanation of how singing actually helps get infants ready to read when they get older. So, sharing a book like The Silver Moon: Lullabies and Cradle Songs may just seem like it leads to snuggles and cuddles, which is important, but it is actually doing more than that. In addition to bonding with the babies in your life, you will be preparing their brains to enjoy worlds of stories as they grow up.

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas. She has worked in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri for a decade. Currently, Anna Francesca is Kansas City Public Library’s Education Librarian.

Poetry: Your Pen is Mightier

What do you believe in? What do you stand for? Sometimes, unfairness in the world can make you feel like you are going to explode. At the same time, you can feel helpless. Absolutely powerless. But you aren’t. Your words can awaken. They can embolden. They can ignite.

According to the National Association of Social Workers‘ website: “Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.” We have a book called Indivisible: Poems for Social Justice edited by Gail Bush and Randy Myer with 54 poems by 49 different people. These poets range from Abraham Lincoln to Maya Angelou to Dorothy Parker to Tupac Shakur. The poems touch on such different topics as physical handicaps, immigration, and race-- among others.

Some grievances eat at you. Write down what you think. Then, cut away everything that isn’t necessary. Give us the raw essence; we will get what you mean. You will make us care.

April is National Poetry Month. While we have prompts every day, you can submit other poems, too. Go to our website, Facebook, or Twitter. You can also participate in the open mic portion of Teen Poetry Night at Central Library on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 from 6-8 p.m.

You have something to say. Say it.

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas. She has worked in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri for a decade. Currently, Anna Francesca is Kansas City Public Library’s Education Librarian.

With $100,000 Grant, Library to Launch Financial Literacy Program

The Kansas City Public Library has received a $100,000 grant to help launch a new, two-year program aimed at improving financial literacy.

The Library will partner with the Women’s Employment Network and other local agencies to provide a range of services—workshops, web resources, and individual financial coaching—to residents who are looking to enhance their money-managing skills but may lack access to reliable, unbiased education opportunities and resources. The program will be open to anyone but specifically target:

  • Young women entering the workforce and women newly assuming primary responsibility for managing household finances.

  • Immigrants, primarily Somalis and Latinos living near the Library’s North-East Branch.

  • Adults 55 and older who are preparing for retirement or managing income in retirement.

The services—expected to be available by summer—are projected to reach hundreds of residents in areas of need served by the Library’s L.H. Bluford Branch, and Southeast Branch, in addition to North-East.

“Our goal,” says project principal Eric Petersen of the Library’s H&R Block Business and Career Center, “is to provide basic information and services to help people begin to improve their financial outlook.”

The program is made possible by a grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation through the Smart investing@your library initiative, a partnership with the American Library Association. The Kansas City Public Library is one of 21 grant recipients nationwide in 2014.

The Library will make financial literacy resources available on its website and in its print collection. Workshops, held at the three branches and at area community centers, social services agencies, and religious facilities, will cover banking, budgeting, credit management, and protection against identity theft. The Women’s Employment Network and other Financial Opportunity Centers will offer individual sessions with a financial coach.

Petersen and Mary Olive Thompson, who is assisting in coordinating the program as the Library’s director of outreach and community engagement, expect more than 450 people to take advantage of the workshops and 150 or more to engage in the one-on-one coaching sessions.

Petersen sees the two-year program as a natural extension of the Block Center’s personal finance offerings. The Center, housed in the downtown Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., also targets career development, entrepreneurship, and nonprofit development.

“With workshops in the three branches, this helps maintain the Block Center’s identity as a system-wide service,” says Petersen, who co-wrote the grant with the Central Library’s youth services manager, Jamie Mayo.

Partnering on the financial literacy program with the Library and the Women’s Employment Network are the Kansas City chapter of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); Guadalupe Centers, Inc.; the Somali Center of Kansas City; and Arts Tech.

The Washington, D.C.-based Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest non-governmental regulator of securities firms doing business in the U.S. Now in its eighth year, the Smart investing@your library program has awarded a total of $10 million to public libraries, community college libraries, and library networks across the country.

The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, and I like to take time around April reading a lot of poetry. When I thought to devote my blog postings for the library during 2015 to books written during, or about World War I, one of the first things I did was make sure that there were volumes of poetry available.

Of course, there are several books of poetry written during the war, or written afterwards which reflect the experience of the war. Some of the poets associated with World War I are among the greatest of the 20th century: Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Edmund Blunden, Isaac Rosenberg, to name a few. Owen, Rosenberg and Charles Hamilton Sorley died during the war, and their loss was seen as especially tragic. Sorley's death happened early in the war, just as his poetic career was beginning, while Owen tragically died a week before the armistice, having returned to France to fight, though he might very well have remained in Britain until the war’s official end.

In the trenches, poetry was encouraged as a pastime. Poems were generally short pieces, and it was possible for one to write poetry in short concentrated bursts. And it was very portable, in a way that novels were not.

Read more of Bernard Norcott-Mahany's 2015 reviews of books about the First World War:

January 12, 2015
The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

February 5, 2015
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

March 13, 2015
Tarzan the Untamed by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Poetry, as an art form, tends towards personal reflection, and the poets in this collection had a lot on which to reflect. Many had gone to elite schools where they received a rigorous classical education, which education tended toward idealism and especially the idealism of patriotism and fighting the good fight. But World War I was unlike any war that had preceded it. In addition, there had been general peace in Europe and the Mediterranean for 40 some years, and there was a hope and belief that such stability would be maintained.

In the 40 years since the Franco-Prussian War, the last great war in Europe, there had been tremendous advances in the weaponry of war, and in the manufacture of weapons. Weapons were much more powerful, and produced at a greater rate. Advances in science had also increased the murderous efficiency of warriors. There was now poison gas with which to contend, and artillery shells and bombs that could do tremendous damage. Wars were no longer fought solely between armies on the battlefield, but often included tremendous collateral damage among the civilian population. Though in its infancy, aerial warfare contributed to the spreading of the devastation.

So the war that the idealistic young men entered so eagerly was not the war they experienced. The discrepancy between the rhetoric and the reality is reflected again and again in many of the poems. Rudyard Kipling was a very vocal supporter of the war, but after his son died in the war, he became just as vocal a critic, as his poem “Gethsemane” demonstrates. Siegfried Sassoon was a decorated officer in the war, but came to hate it. He even sent an open letter to his commanders, “Finished with the War: a Soldier’s Declaration,” which publication almost got this decorated officer court-martialed. Instead, his commanders declared that he was suffering from shellshock (what PTSD was called in WWI) and sent him to spend the final year in a psychiatric hospital in England. While there, he had a tremendous influence in other poets and war opponents, such as Wilfred Owen.

There is a lot to be said for immersing oneself in the poetic output of a poet like Sassoon, or like Owen, Blunden, or Rosenberg. But to make a good start of reading verse profoundly affected by the news of its day, a book such as The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry has a lot to recommend it. What it lacks in the breadth of works by a single poet, it makes up in providing a broad overview of the verse of the time. Though most of the poems take a hard cynical look at the jingoism that resulted in so many young men dying or ruined by war, there are some voices here of poets who retained a certain idealistic view of the war (as, for instance, Edward Thomas’ “This is No Case of Petty Right and Wrong”).

Silkin’s selection of poems is primarily that from the British Expeditionary Forces, as one might expect for an English collection. He does include poems from the Germans, Russian, French and Italian in translation; there are a few poems from the US as well, including one by Edna St. Vincent Millay called “Conscientious Objector,” in which the speaker declares “I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death,” expressing opposition to the war from a more personal position. And Silkin’s excellent introduction to the poems, the poets and the time, is the best reason for choosing this particular collection of verse.

In addition to this collection of poems, I would recommend a visit to a site like or and find poems by Sassoon, Owen, Blunden, Rosenberg, and Sorley. You can also find me on YouTube during April reading poems by World War I poets as my way of celebrating National Poetry Month 2015.

About the Author

Bernard Norcott-Mahany, a library technical assistant at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch, is our resident connoisseur of classic literature. He is also the leader of the Black Classics and In the Heat of the Night book groups.

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Teens have the power to Save MO Libraries!

People from all over Missouri met at the State Capital to ask Governor Nixon to release the $6 million he is withholding in state aid to libraries. Two busloads of teens from Kansas City led the protest and sent powerful message to their state legislators!

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free by Cory Doctorow

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow is, as one would expect, an incisive and lively exploration of the issues surrounding copyright and enforcement in the Internet Age.

Doctorow is established as an outspoken critic of the various methods that media corporations use to try and enforce their interpretation of copyright laws on the Internet: digital locks, DRM efforts, automated “Notice and Takedown” practices, etc. He takes on each of these methods and explains clearly what they’re intended to accomplish, why they fail, and the damage they do to creative workers and Internet users in general.

Some of these methods involve pretty esoteric computer science and Doctorow is the best in the business at translating the argot of technology into terms anyone can understand.

Most importantly, he explains why arguments over copyright in the Internet Age are necessarily about more than just intellectual property rights. In less technological times, copyright laws really only affected commercial producers. But given how the Internet itself works—the core structure of this information-sharing system—attempts to strictly enforce copyright online have a powerful impact on every Internet user in all of our online interactions, even when no copyright infringement occurs, when interactions involve no copyrighted materials at all. On the Internet, you can’t separate the mechanisms that have been built to enforce copyright from unrelated online interactions. That type of differentiation is impossible.

As a consequence, the tools that commercial media conglomerates use to try and protect their intellectual property online undermine the safety and security of the Internet itself. These tools open doors for malicious hackers and viruses. They enable governments and other entities to spy on Internet users regardless of whether or not a user is doing anything that infringes copyright.

This is a facet of our current copyright arguments that too many people don’t understand. Doctorow puts it front-and-center and clearly identifies the potential for disaster.

Copyright can’t be handled in the online world of the Internet Age according to the same rules that governed it in the analog world. Reality has changed and copyright needs to change accordingly, to work in ways that don’t make us all unsafe, that don’t punish innocent people indiscriminately. The Internet is too important to allow media companies to control it, just to try and prevent a handful of people from stealing a movie or two.

So far, attempts to reform copyright law to apply it to the Internet have only benefited the middle men who profit from the distribution of creative works. Copyright no longer serves the interests of either the creators or the audience.

This struggle for reform isn’t without hope, as Doctorow points out. There are other models for handling copyright online that show promise.

Historically, every time new technology came along to supplant the dominant paradigm, those who profited the most from the old ways have resisted and attempted to stifle innovation. This isn’t the first time those in power have tried to use copyright laws to prevent change. These attempts have never succeeded.

Indiscriminate, draconian copyright enforcement—the primary weapon wielded by old guard media companies to resist technological change—probably won’t succeed this time around, either.

The question is: how much damage will they do to the rest of us in the meantime?

About the Author

John Keogh

John Keogh is the Digital User Specialist for the Digital Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. He grew up in Fargo, ND, (too small) and lived in Chicago for several years (too big) before he moved to Kansas City. He calls KC his "Goldilocks town" because it's just right.

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Camp Fire's Absolutely Incredible Kid Day

Kids are amazing! They all bring something unique and interesting to the world. We wouldn't be able to see things the way that we do without the perspective that they provide.

Unfortunately, children may not know how great they are. Sometimes we forget the importance of telling them the fantastic ways that they improve our lives. Luckily, Camp Fire has made a day to remind us to declare how much we appreciate them.

Absolutely Incredible Kid Day is on Thursday, March 19th this year. At any of the Kansas City Public Libraries, you can pick up forms to write letters to them. You can express how lucky you are to know such wonderful young people. It will mean a bunch to the kids you admire

To find out more, you can "like" Camp Fire's Facebook page. Just by clicking "like" any time during March 2015 up to the 19th, you will be entered to win two Southwest Airlines tickets. You can also follow the campaign on twitter at #AIKD.

Thank you for letting these incredible kids know how special they are to you. It means a great deal to them. We support your active connection to these kids and their lives.

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas. She has worked in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri for a decade. Currently, Anna Francesca is Kansas City Public Library’s Education Librarian.

Tarzan the Untamed by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Tarzan the Untamed from 1920 is the seventh Tarzan book written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs is most famous for his novels about Tarzan of the Apes—24 novels written and published between 1912 and 1936 in all. As all you readers likely know, Tarzan is a British lord, Lord Greystoke, whose parents died in Africa when he was a baby and he was raised by apes, hence his jungle title Tarmangani, “the Great White Ape.”

Most people also know of his encounter with Jane Porter in the first book, Tarzan of the Apes, and their eventual marriage. Even if you haven’t read any of the books (Which you should do, as they are well-written adventure novels. Burroughs has a very readable style.), you’ve likely seen Tarzan on the screen played by Johnny Weissmuller or Buster Crabbe or one of the many others. There’s even a 1918 silent film starring by Elmo Lincoln.

But, if you’ve only seen the films, you’ve only seen Tarzan as the “noble savage.” Tarzan’s vocabulary and grammar is pretty limited in those films; in the 1981 film version of the Tarzan story, Tarzan, the Ape Man, the title character, played by hunky Miles O’Keefe, has no lines at all. In the books, he is quite capable in the civilized world – in England, he can be seen in the best restaurants and clubs, even if he prefers the brutal honesty of the animal kingdom to the two-faced world of western civilization.

In this particular novel, Tarzan is away from his Kenyan estate, when the novel starts, having spent some time in England recently, even taking his place in the House of Lords – he is, after all, Lord Greystoke. When a British officer meets him in this novel, he is quite surprised at Lord Greystoke’s loin cloth, as he had last seen him in London at an event where his Lordship was dressed in the white tie and tails appropriate for dinner.

This novel is quite unique in the Tarzan canon as it is the only one that makes reference to the Great War. The novel, though written in 1919 and published in book form in 1920, is set in 1914. When the novel begins, Lady Jane and Tarzan’s household do not yet know that war has broken out between Germany and England, which ignorance a German strike force takes advantage of, when they come from Tanzania to Tarzan’s sprawling estate in Kenya. Lady Jane, unaware that a state of war exists between Britain and Germany, welcomes the German officer and his men into her house. When Tarzan arrives (is rushing home when we first see him, as he knows that war has been declared), he finds the servants dead, including Wasimbu, his warrior friend, who was serving as a bodyguard for Jane. And he finds a woman dead whom he takes to be Jane.

Convinced that the Germans have attacked and killed his wife, his friend, and his servants, and destroyed much of his estate, Tarzan returns to the jungle where he stalks the Germans he feels are responsible. His first victim, a German officer whom he throws to a lion Tarzan has trapped, was not involved in the attack – it was his brother who led the raid. One might expect Tarzan to feel some regret, seeing as he got the wrong man. Instead, Tarzan, in his distracted state, cares nothing about whether the Germans caught and killed had been part of the attack on his home, as he feels all Germans are responsible for the barbaric acts of any German. And though the German attack on Tarzan’s home was brutal, Tarzan’s own brutalities do not evoke any such condemnation from the author.

The book is full of the propaganda one would expect in a British novel written during the war. But the book was not written during the war. It wasn’t even started until after the war. And Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, and America’s involvement in the war was relatively short – only the final year and a half of the war. At the war’s conclusion, the negative propaganda ceased. Even in England, the level of animosity had dropped quite a bit by 1920. So, what was Burrough’s point in writing and publishing this work? Besides, from a practical point of view, this novel made no sense. Burrough’s Tarzan books were very popular in Germany. In fact, their popularity in Germany was the highest in Europe. When this book came out, casting the whole German nation as the monstrous Hun, it did not play well in Germany. And the German readers who had thrilled to Tarzan’s adventures in the first six books stopped buying, and Burroughs lost a big market.

I must warn you that the violence in the book, which is never overly explicit, is still fairly shocking in what would have been books for pre-teens and teens, especially in the 1920s. In many ways, Tarzan in the book is more Wolverine than Lord Greystoke – following a strict ethical code, but not one that matches with the everyday morality of civilization. Also Burroughs was very much a man of his time, and so, while Wasimbu, a recurring character killed in this book, is a noble warrior whom Tarzan loves like a brother, most of the African tribesmen are presented in the stereotypes typical of the time. Those Africans who are allied to the Germans come in for the worst treatment.

Tarzan the Untamed is in the public domain in the United States, so eBook and digital Audiobook copies of the novel are available for download from Project Gutenberg, and also available for check out from Library resources such as hoopla and the EBSCOhost eBook Collection.

About the Author

Bernard Norcott-Mahany, a library technical assistant at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch, is our resident connoisseur of classic literature. He is also the leader of the Black Classics and In the Heat of the Night book groups.

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Book Review - The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling (2014) by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling is another addition to the extensive catalogue of fantasy novels. The book followed Kelsea Glynn, as she was taken from her home at eighteen by a cadre of soldiers and forced into the role of queen of the kingdom.

The book differed somewhat from your average fantasy novel. First of all, it was written by a woman. Additionally, the main character was a woman, and an unattractive one at that. Also, the setting wasn’t just some faraway land; instead, Johansen dropped tantalizing hints about the time period and location of the story – indicating the story might be set on Earth in the future.

These differences were welcome, although they didn’t raise the book above an average fantasy novel for me. Things that made the book different from other fantasy novels – a not pretty female protagonist, a futuristic setting – have all been extensively used in other genres and were, therefore, not that extraordinary.

Additionally, parts of the book were a little bizarre. Kelsea was always saying weird things at inopportune times and no one would react strangely to them. For example, Kelsea was injured while riding on her horse and her guard asked her if she could make it ten more miles to the stronghold. She replied:

“What sort of weak, housebound woman do you think I am, Lazarus? I’m bleeding that’s all. And I’ve never had such a fine time as on this journey.”

I thought Lazarus’s question was a reasonable one. And was Kelsea being sarcastic or was she really having an exciting time because she led a sheltered life? So either Kelsea made a sarcastic and overblown comment to a genuine question or she got easily excited and spouted off her feelings at a random time. Either option is bizarre. Additionally, people would react strangely to Kelsea at completely random times and she would allow it, even though she was queen and would seemingly want to squelch that kind of behavior. It seemed like sloppy writing to me, but it is possible Johansen was just crafting characters with somewhat strange thoughts and behaviors.

The writing was not all bad. The plot of the book was entertaining, with magic and political intrigue. Also, Johansen introduced several other characters besides Kelsea and she wove all their stories together compellingly.

For fans of the fantasy genre, The Queen of the Tearling is a welcome addition. For others, there are better fantasy books out there, and better books of any genre.

4/6: worth reading

About the Author

Jill Anderson

Jill Anderson has a business degree and JD from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She's lived in Kansas City for several years and has worked at the library since 2014. She loves to read anything and everything and you can find YA reviews and more on her book blog at

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Teen Rally to Save MO Libraries!

Join people from all over the state to Save MO Libraries!

The Governor is withholding $6 million dollars in funding from libraries all across the state and has almost completely eliminated state funding to libraries next year.

Two busloads of teenage library advocates will be leaving from Kansas City and heading to Jefferson City to explain to their legislators why libraries are so important in their communities...

Join the The Kansas City Public Library, KC Keepers: Kansas City Harry Potter Alliance and our statewide partners at 1:00 p.m. on the south steps of the State Capitol to demand that the Governor recognize how important libraries are to Missouri and release our funding! This event is open to people of all ages!

Join us on Facebook!

Want to join the teen buses leaving Kansas City? Fill out this permission slip and return it or Email to secure your spot!

Can't make it to the rally but still want to help? Contact the Governor and your legislators and tell them to fully fund MO Libraries!

Contact Jay Nixon, Governor-
Phone: (573) 751-3222
Tweet @govjaynixon

Contact Jason Kander, Secretary of State-
(573) 751-4936
Tweet @jasonkander

Find/Contact Your State Senator-

Find/Contact Your State Representative

Avoid Cyberbullying: Enjoy Your Internet

Like any media, the Internet can be used in wonderful or horrible ways. It can connect people across the globe. It can be a source of extremely helpful information. It can record memories and historic events. However, with the increased anonymity we experience online, it also provides a forum for people to say mean and hurtful things.

According to a Pew Research Study in 2013, one third of teens report being victims of cyber-bullying (Woda 32). That makes surfing online a dangerous activity. What can young people and the adults who care about them do? Luckily, the Kansas City Public Library carries books to help with that very topic.

One book we have is Cyberbullying by Lauri S. Freidman. School Library Journal outlines how it covers the seriousness and legal ramifications of cyberbullying. For students in sixth grade and up, it fosters conversations in addition to being useful in writing papers. Another book is Teen Cyberbullying Investigated: Where Do Your Rights End and Consequences Begin? by Thomas A. Jacobs. The School Library Journal recommends this to seventh graders and above. It uses real court cases to help teens discuss ethics with the adults in their lives. In addition, it suggests multiple resources for teens to learn more.

Sure, the world can be scary sometimes. That isn't a reason to avoid the Internet and the benefits that teens can derive from it. However, it is a reason to approach technology in a smart way. Brush up on how to stay safe. Then, you are ready for the digital wealth that is waiting for you.

Woda, Tim. "Cyberbullying: Children as Victims and Predators" USA Today Magazine. Jan 2015, Vol. 143 Issue 2836, p.32-33. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Accessed 6 Mar 2015.

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas. She has worked in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri for a decade. Currently, Anna Francesca is Kansas City Public Library’s Education Librarian.

Welcome to the Chinese Year of the Sheep!

The Chinese New Year, with a cycle based on the moon, began on the 4th of February, 2015 and will continue through February 3, 2016. Among other personality traits, people born during this year are said to be selfless.

The folktale in The Sheep Beauty by Li Jian emphasizes the self-sacrificing nature of sheep. When a horrid monster threatens a village, the sheep transforms into a beautiful girl and uses cunning to lead the beast away from the townspeople. When danger reappears, the sheep turns into a rock to again save the community. This explains why the name of the place is “Sheep Horn Village.”

This lovely book includes muted watercolor illustrations. In addition, it is entirely bilingual with both English and Chinese versions of the story. It would make a fantastic book for elementary students to read with the adults in their lives, both as an introduction to Chinese culture and as demonstration of the beauty of benevolence.

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas. She has worked in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri for a decade. Currently, Anna Francesca is Kansas City Public Library’s Education Librarian.

Shakespeare's First Folio is coming to the Library

The Kansas City Public Library has been selected as the Missouri stop for the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2016 national tour First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Only 233 copies exist of the First Folio—the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays published in 1623—and we’re beyond excited to have the opportunity to exhibit one at our Central Library in downtown Kansas City.

Eighteen First Folio copies will circulate among the exhibit locations. They're among 233 copies of the book known to exist today, less than a third of the 750 thought to have been printed originally in 1623. A single exhibit location was selected in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Kansas State University was named in Kansas.

Published seven years after Shakespeare's death, the First Folio was the first compilation of his plays. Eighteen of the works, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, and As You Like It, had never appeared previously in print and otherwise would have been lost.

When the First Folio arrives in Kansas City, its pages will be opened to the most quoted line in the world: "to be or not to be" from Hamlet. Accompanying the 900-page book will be a multi-panel exhibition exploring the significance of Shakespeare, then and now, with additional digital content and interactive activities.

The Kansas City Public Library will make the four-week exhibit the centerpiece of a months-long celebration of Shakespeare, partnering with local and national scholars and an array of area institutions and organizations in offering speaking presentations, stage productions, film screenings and discussions, workshops, and other activities for children and adults.

The Kansas City Public Library will be displaying the First Folio June 6 - June 28, 2016. Other dates and locations for the 2016 exhibit are available here. More information on the exhibit available in our press release.


This exhibit has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor and by the generous support of and Vinton and Sigrid Cerf.

Partnering with the Kansas City Public Library in bringing First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare to Kansas City are the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Department of Theatre and Department of English Language and Literature, the Kansas City branch of the English-Speaking Union, the Missouri Humanities Council, and KCUR-FM.