Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
publication date: 2015
Carry On was another entrant in the “Chosen One” category, a la Harry Potter, Frodo, and countless other (usually YA) novels wherein a main character is given a Herculean task and, after many trials and tribulations, completes it. However, our hero in this story -- Simon Snow -- wasn’t necessarily the wizard any of us would have chosen for the job. He’s a self-proclaimed “thug” who thought more about food than magic.
In fact, Rainbow Rowell precisely and perfectly constructed characters that broke the mold of the genre. A girlfriend who was more enamored with the bad guy. A mentor who was never around to counsel because he was off raiding people’s houses in a costume and a funny mustache. A wizarding world with cars, and laptops, and smart phones.
Through the months of October and November, the Kansas City Public Library in partnership with Mid-continent Public Library is leading the Great City / Great Read initiative. In the first incarnation of this program, we are encouraging everyone in the region to revisit Lewis Carroll's 1865 classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Besides the wide variety of free programs, films, events, book discussions, and art exhibits highlighting the clever and off the wall themes of Alice, the library (of course!) wants everybody to read the book!
But what happens when you've finished Alice? What's next???
Here are some titles to satisfy your itch for tales of magical whimsy, parallel worlds, and the just plain unusual!
Why not start with the classics...
Imagine this: You hear about a book that sounds really interesting. Your friends have raved about it. You haven’t been this excited to get your hands on something to read in a long time. You go to the library to check it out. No can do. Somebody has taken all copies of those books off the shelves. Nobody will be able to borrow them for a long time. You are out of luck.
Does this sound extreme? For some people, this is life. They have experienced it. However, libraries are supposed to be places that protect our First Amendment rights to Freedom of Speech. That means being able to access the information that you want and need. Those of us who work here take that very seriously.
Did you know that the Library offers free streaming video? You can have audiobooks, TV shows, and movies on-demand. Book access is only a part of what we do.
My eight-year-old daughter watched several episodes of The Addams Family TV show from its first season in 1964. She did this on my computer for free by using the Library’s Hoopla service. Following her experience, she agreed to be interviewed for this blog.
Q: Why did you use Hoopla today?
A: I wanted to watch The Addams Family and I was bored. And I couldn’t watch Goosebumps because we didn’t have any (DVDs).
A: I wanted to watch something scary. But it wasn’t really scary. It was just silly.
Q: Did you like it?
A: Yeah. Why wouldn’t I? There was a lot of kissing, though. That was gross.
Q: Would you recommend it to other people?
A: Yes. Yes I would.
Q: If so, who?
A: Everyone in the world
Q: Would you recommend using Hoopla to other people?
A: No. They may not have the right software.
I see her concern, software is a reason why others may not want to try Hoopla as well. However, it is made to be compatible across multiple platforms. Library employees are being trained on Hoopla and will gladly assist you in being able to use this service.
Made You Up by Francesa Zappia
publication date: 2015
This is a YA detective story with a twist: the sleuth, high school senior Alex Ridgemont, can't tell when a clue is real. Alex has schizophrenia, complete with detailed visual hallucinations. In order to keep her perceptions based in reality, she takes her medication and photographs everything around her, relying on the photographs to represent reality.
Alex navigates her senior year of high school at a new school, with a new crush, a new job, and a new principal who is possibly murderous. She attempts to unravel the mysteries at her new school while unraveling the hold her hallucinations have on her life.
One of the best parts of this book is that I, as the reader, simply did not know what was real. Alex is a very unreliable narrator. That adds great interest to the book and made me read carefully to make sure I didn't miss anything. However, the unreliability of the book goes beyond Alex's schizophrenic narration – the plot itself is bizarre and not what I would call realistic.
The Kansas City Public Library, in collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City, is proud to present a new exhibit, Más Allá de Palabras (Beyond Words), opening Saturday, September 5, 2015, in the Genevieve Guldner Gallery, Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The exhibition highlights 34 of Mexico’s top illustrators of children’s literature, working in a variety of media.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is most famous as the creator of the character of Sherlock Holmes, and as the author of the 56 original short stories and four novels featuring this character.
Hurricane Katrina: Books Show Triumph over Tragedy
Kids face all kinds of challenges in their lives, and stories have the power to provide them comfort, support, and examples of resilience.
During Hurricane Katrina people in boats rescued families stranded on rooftops; a little black girl and an old white woman in a wheelchair held hands near the Superdome; and with very little clean water, people shared what they had.
Do you want to make a difference in Kansas City?
This semester, the Kansas City Public Library is looking for teenagers to join our first ever Teen Leadership Council! These volunteer positions have helped the library organize and staff some of the biggest teen programs happening in Kansas City this year, including:
The Summer Reading Kick-off Celebration, May 23rd
The Harry Potter House Cup Award Ceremony, May 30th
The Largest Super Smash Bros Tournament in the World, June 6th
The Black Archives History Lock-In, July 11th
The Kansas City Youth Empowerment Summit, July 25th
Anything Could Happen was a quirky, fun book that fit within the tradition of coming-of-age novels, albeit from a slightly different perspective. In Anything Could Happen, it was Tretch Farm's 15th year and he just discovered he was in love with his best friend, Matt Gooby. Tretch must navigate that situation, while grappling with his sexuality, his brother’s absence at college, and health problems in his family.
This book was right up my alley. The author presented puppy love through the eyes of a likable, insightful character. Tretch’s inner monologue and dialogue were so endearing and genuine.