In the Spotlight
Posted On: Aug 26, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
I have a deep sense of pride for our community’s most creative citizens; savoring local artists’ and authors’ works is often more satisfying than fine dining. Lawrence-based artist and author Stephen T. Johnson’s work is among the finest. His children’s picture books are award-winning: A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet was named one of the Best Illustrated Books of the Year by the New York Times, and Alphabet City was the recipient of a Caldecott Honor, in addition to other accolades.
With Johnson’s newest book, Alphabet School, you can enjoy a visual celebration featuring images from Lawrence area schools. Vivid imagery depicts letters of the alphabet in ordinary objects at schools to encourage a child’s curiosity, observation, and comfort with a new school environment. This book can also be used as a classroom companion with Johnson’s previous book, Alphabet City.
This Sunday, August 28, Johnson will visit the library for a very special storytime at 3:30 PM: Back to School with Stephen T. Johnson. He’ll talk about the making of Alphabet School and how many of the ideas in this book came from students. Kids will be called to find library objects that resemble letters, and whoever who finds the most will win a signed copy of Johnson’s book. Miss Linda (Librarian Linda Clay) will be reading stories, and there’ll be a craft for those who aren’t searching for letters around the library. The Raven Book Store will have copies available of Stephen’s books at the event, including Alphabet School, A is for Art, and even a few copies of his highly interactive piece books like My Little Blue Robot.
If you can’t make it to the library, tune in to Kansas Public Radio on Sunday, September 11th at 7:00 PM to hear an interview with Johnson and a discussion of several other 2016 Kansas Notable Authors. You can also check out one of Johnson’s many fabulous public art pieces: “Freedom Rings” near Clinton Lake at the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum in Bloomington Park at Clinton Lake.
He explains its concept and significance:
“Highly reflective circular hoops establish physically and conceptually the relationship of the Underground Railroad to the areas’ ten extinct and extant communities and revolve around a historical windmill tower, positioned in relation to the North Star, which functions as the focal point of the site.”
There is so much more to know about the work of Stephen T. Johnson; see his website here. He’s very involved in the community with his art: he is a finalist for public artwork at a new branch of the Johnson County Public Library, and he is teaching two drawing classes in the School of Architecture, Design & Planning at KU this fall. Johnson is also among the commissioned local artists selected for the East Ninth Street art project.
Upcoming opportunities to see Johnson’s art include the Lawrence Art Walk October 21- 23 and a solo show at the Cider Gallery in November.
Checkout more rich, illuminating books by Stephen T. Johnson and other picture books that are beautiful, educational, and fun for younger readers on this list in the library’s catalog: Books for Kids by Lawrence Authors.
- Shirley Braunlich is a Readers Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library
Posted On: Aug 23, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
It’s been a good month for Lawrence writers. Author Karen Vaughn brings us the most recent piece of local literature with her debut, A Kiss for a Dead Film Star, a genre-blending collection of short stories. Read More..
Posted On: Aug 19, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
I have a new mantra. Here it is: Welcome to your old age, Randi. Okay. So it’s more of a mantra phrase, but still, it’s the repetition that gives a mantra its calming mojo. I use it whenever I feel a twinge where I’ve not twinged before, whenever an injury doesn’t heal quite as quickly or neatly as it used to, and whenever there’s some change in my overall sense of myself—of the me I have grown used to over the years. Read More..
Posted On: Aug 16, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
They look pretty good for one hundred years old, don’t they? Happy Birthday to our National Parks! Well, this doesn’t date the ageless glory contained within the parks, but rather the National Park Service, established on August 25, 1916.
Even now, there are parks who have not had their stories fully told; how did I not know about a parade of massive earthen bears lining a section of the Mississippi River? Hundreds of these centuries-old earthworks quietly reside at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa, one of the 412 units of the Park Service, and I have writer Terry Tempest Williams to thank for introducing me to them. Read More..
Posted On: Aug 12, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
I’m a natural-born rule follower. If there’s a rule in place, it almost never occurs to me to ask why it’s there or whether it’s worth following; it’s a rule, so unless it’s a pile of ethical garbage, I’m probably going to follow it.
My preference for strong, clear guidelines in all things (Obligers, am I right?) even bleeds over into my reading habits. I’ll often set rules for myself about what I can and can’t read; it’s one of the reasons I’m so drawn to reading challenges, which lay out the rules in no uncertain terms: read books about these topics in this order. Ah, sweet, sweet order. Read More..
Posted On: Aug 10, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
When you think of having kids, do you envision yourself as bold, daring, audacious, and full of adventure? Some of you may say yes, but for the rest of you– why not? Read More..
Posted On: Aug 5, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
Lawrence’s own Bryn Greenwood comes from a long line of Kansans, a heritage that suffuses her Midwest-set debut, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. The novel follows the young life of Wavonna “Wavy” Quinn, daughter of an Oklahoma meth baron and an unstable, germophobe mother. Read More..
Posted On: Aug 2, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
We’re more than half way through the year – you haven’t forgotten about Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge have you? Many of us here at LPL have been plugging away at the 24 challenges, ever expanding our literary horizons. Here’s a look at some of my favorite challenges and reads so far: Read More..
Posted On: Jul 29, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
Summertime is in full-swing, which means more time for some of our favorite things – baseball games, new books, and popsicles (which are officially their own food group from May to September.) While we can’t offer you any frozen treats, we can combine the other two to give you…
Lead-off Hits: The Best Rookie Authors of 2016
Posted On: Jul 26, 2016 In: In the Spotlight
As a reader, I usually don’t know where my next read is going to come from. It could be found in a magazine article, by listening to NPR, or from a person convincing me that I need to drop everything and read this book that will apparently change my life. This is the tale of my journey with author and artist Lucy Knisley (pronounced Nicely), who I discovered while researching food memoirs via the NoveList feature on the library website. Read More..