Librarian’s Club Fun and Summer Reading List

Thanks to the Librarian’s Club members and their guests who joined us for a fun happy hour in June at the boozy bookstore Our Daily Nada in Kansas City’s River Market area!



Members put together a summer reading list, and we can’t wait to get started on it! We figured it was too good not to share:


The Hunting Party – Lucy Foley


Educated – Tara Westover


Sissy – Jacob Tobia


Slightly South of Simple – Kristy Woodson Harvey


Semiosis – Sue Burke


How Long ‘Til Black Future Month – N.K. Jemisin


The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah


Chinaberry Sidewalks – Rodney Crowell


I am not your perfect Mexican Daughter – Erika Sanchez


With Love From the Inside – Anglea Pisel


The Song of the Jade Lily – Kristy Manning


The Jeff Trask Series – Marc Rainer




All in all, it was a wonderful evening that included not only this fabulous book list, but great appetizers and wine and even better company.






We raffled off a book collection for one child in honor of one of our guests, and the winner was Michele Kilo, M.D., co-founder of Reach Out and Read KC.
















The event was planned and sponsored in part by the Advisory Board’s Marketing Committee. Thanks to this wonderful group for their energy and support! See more photos from the event here.

The Librarian’s Club is a group of dedicated literacy champions who donate $100 or more annually to ROR-KC. Find out more about the Librarian’s Club here.

Janice’s Bookshelf: June Recommendation

At the Farmer's Market book picture

Most months, we post a book recommendation from our Book Coordinator, Janice Dobbs.  She’s spent 17 years curating the collection of developmentally-appropriate books that Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides to our partner medical clinics to hand out at well child visits. She knows books!


Here’s her June pick!


At the Farmer’s Market
Illustrated by Steffane McClary
Edited by Anna W. Bardaus
Published by: Scholastic
Age Range: 2-6 years old


At the Farmer’s Market is published by Scholastic. This brightly colored book is made of sturdy pages and features a diverse group of people shopping for healthy foods at their local Farmer’s Markets. Children will enjoy the “seek and find” pictures on each page and talking about the yummy fruits and vegetables depicted. It is also great for teaching colors and about the seasons. The back cover gives several suggestions to parents on how to expand on the concepts presented in the book as well. There is an English version and a bilingual version.

– Janice Dobbs


Janice Dobbs has been the Book Coordinator for Reach Out and Read Kansas City for over 17 years. She’s responsible for purchasing, organizing, and managing the delivery of over 80,000 books annually to our partner clinics.


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Thank You Out-going ROR-KC Board Members!


(left to right) Out-going Board Members Mary Olive Joyce, Susanne Mahoney and Marshaun Butler. Not Pictured: Gharib Gharibi



It is with great appreciation and gratitude that we bid farewell to four fantastic Advisory Board members, including one who’s served for 21 years. Three years ago, ROR-KC adopted new guidelines for board members that included term limits in an effort to maximize energy and engagement. Terms are three years, with the option to extend to a second term. As we approach a new fiscal year, Mary Olive Joyce, Susanne Mahoney, Marshaun Butler and Gharib Gharibi are rolling off the board.


Susanne is the longest serving board member in ROR-KC history, having started when the board (then called the Community Council) was founded 21 years ago. “I have loved being a part of ROR-KC and have learned that the program truly makes a difference!” she says. Susanne is a Speech Language Pathologist in the Kansas City, KS school district. She says her most rewarding experience was when ROR-KC co-founder Dr. Jean Harty asked her to present at the National Conference in Boston nearly two decades ago. “She made me go over to her house to practice the speech with each slide and made sure I knew what to say. It was an incredible honor to talk about our unique coalition; the only ROR group that spans the state line. I met many other ROR program leaders and was so inspired by all.”


Marshaun Butler, a Vice President at Children’s Mercy Hospital, has been on the Advisory Board for six years. She says she’s enjoyed “connecting and collaborating with colleagues who believe in the power and importance of early literacy. The degree of importance early literacy can make for a child is astonishing. The impact carries over a lifetime!” Marshaun says volunteering at clinics has been most rewarding, and she loves watching the magic happen when children are read to: “The sparkle in their eyes, the excitement in their smile and most importantly, the desire for more after the story ends.”


Gharib Gharibi, a doctoral candidate at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, has been on the board for three years. He was very involved in establishing the Race to Read 5K, now in its third year.


Mary Olive Joyce is a Librarian with the Kansas City Public Library who’s been on the board for three years. She says what she enjoyed most about her time with ROR-KC falls in line with her career. “I love helping parents and families grow in their love of books and reading!”


This year, we’ve welcomed seven new Advisory Board members. Learn more about them here. In July, we will welcome two more new members. Mary Olive has some advice for them all: “Roll up your sleeves and dig in. The best part of being on the board is doing the work and making ROR-KC stronger so that we can foster future generations of readers.” We couldn’t have said it any better!


Thank you, Mary Olive, Gharib, Marshaun and Susanne for sharing your time and talents with ROR-KC and the children of our communities!


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Chiefs Hall-of-Famer Will Shields Teams up With ROR-KC

Professional Football Hall-of-Famer Will Shields has been promoting literacy at one local elementary school for more than two decades, and ROR-KC was once again a lucky recipient of his generosity in May. The former Kansas City Chiefs lineman spent the day at Meadow Lane Elementary in Olathe with our Book Coordinator, Janice Dobbs, helping to collect books for ROR-KC.

Meadow Lane challenges students to read for at least 200 days each school year. Those that do receive a book, and many children donate that new book to ROR-KC. Shields says literacy is a special cause for him and for his Will to Succeed Foundation.






“To build up self-esteem you have to have knowledge and understand what you’re doing and if you can’t read or write…then you don’t have that knowledge base, so you can’t learn anymore.” — Will Shields  




The fifth-graders who read at least 200 days also get a pizza party with Will, and the opportunity to get his autograph. 5th grader Michael McKeever (pictured to the left of Shields) was thrilled to meet the athlete. “He’s actually a pretty cool guy! He went to a ton of different tables, to meet everyone and hang out with everyone.” Fellow 5th grader Jonathan Mudd (pictured to the right of Shields) agreed. “Mr. Shields is really, really nice – outgoing and easy to talk to.” Both boys said Suzanne Collins’s Gregor the Overlander series was the best thing they read during their 200 days (our Communications Coordinator agrees that it’s a great middle grade series).

“I love that the culture at Meadow Lane School is all about encouraging students to read,” says ROR-KC’s Janice Dobbs,”and that they teach their students about giving back to the community.” Meadow Lane also holds an assembly, where all 400-plus students perform a fun song about the importance of reading and Shields throws autographed foam footballs to the fifth-graders. “Reading is the most important thing we do,” says Meadow Lane Principal Brian Lowe, “and we try to make it fun for the kids. This is the best day of the year as far as I’m concerned.”


The school also holds a book drive for Reach Out and Read KC, and this year collected over 1,200 books for us!  Thank you, Meadow Lane and Will Shields!


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Summer Reading Programs: Great For All Ages!

kidsReadingOutsideSchool’s out, and the calendars of our local libraries and other organizations are packed with fun literacy-themed activities and events. There are also free books to be earned!


Even though libraries ramp up the incentives to read this time of year to prevent the “summer slide” of school-aged kids, the programs are great for readers of all ages. You can sign up the littlest readers, who earn books by being read to, and even adults in some programs (last year our Communications Coordinator earned a free tote bag in Mid-Continent’s adult reading program).


We’re lucky enough to have several fantastic library systems in our area – as well as other organizations- offering summer programs.  Most of them are outer space-themed. We’ve rounded them up for you.


kck logo


Kansas City, Kansas Public Library: A Universe of Stories

This program is for readers of all ages, including teens and adults. Readers log their books and activities to earn points, and then free books, as well as the chance to win prizes and library bucks. There are a wide variety of family-friendly events on the library calendar as well. Click here for more information and to sign up for the program.



dare to discover

Kansas City, Missouri Public Library: Dare to Discover

This program also caters to readers of all ages, including teens and adults. You even get a free book just for registering. According to the library’s website, the theme is “a nod to our collective spacefaring legacy and amibitons to explore the unknown, but it’s also an invitation – and a challenge – to use the Library and its resources to learn, grow and endeavor to know more about our world and how it works.” Readers log their books, and can earn a sippy cup, light-up cup or pint glass. There are also myriad events and activities for families to enjoy. Click here for more information and to sign up for the program.



mid contientnt

Mid-Continent Public Library: A Universe of Stories

Also an outer-space themed program, Mid-Continent has separate programs for younger and adult readers. All involve logging books and activities for points/badges, and to earn free books (up to 4), or for adults, a T-shirt or tote bag. The library system’s many branches have also scheduled a wide variety of programs, from music to wildlife to yoga and science. Click here for more information and to sign up for the program.


joco logo


Johnson County Public Library: A Universe of Stories

You can stop by the library to pick up a free book (while supplies last), and all readers are encouraged to track the books they read this summer. There are lots of activities planned with authors, astronomers, astronauts and more. Click here for more information or to register for the program.




Olathe Public Library: A Universe of Stories

Olathe offers programs for kids, teens and adults as well. Kids can earn prizes by logging their books as well as writing reviews and going to activities. There’s also a kids’ summer bookmark contestClick here for more information or to register for the program.





Turn the Page KC: Summer Reading Splash

Turn the Page will hold a free summer reading celebration on Wednesday, June 19th, at the Sprint Center, along with KC Mayor Sly James. The citywide summer reading celebration will feature more than 2,000 K-3rd grade students, as well as activities and performances to get kids excited about reading. There will also be a free book fair! Find out more here.