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Have a bike-a-thon at home with these movies available from your Kansas City Public Library.

September marks the 100th birthday of influential African-American author Richard Wright. Born on September 4, 1908, Wright revolutionized the literary landscape with his depictions of African American culture, paving the way for future writers.

By Richard Wright

Richard Wright’s most well-known book, Native Son, was published in 1940 to great success, becoming the first novel written by an African American selected for the Book-of-the-Month Club. It tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a young African American living in Chicago’s ghetto in the 1930s who accidentally kills a white woman and depicts the racism and social injustice of the time.

A collection of short stories, Uncle Tom's Children, contains some of Richard Wright’s earlier writing. The stories highlight the complicated interaction between blacks and whites in the post-slavery South, depicting racism and how African Americans responded to it.

What is mud, anyway? Mud can be wet soil, but the best, squishiest, ozziest mud puddles are wet clay. Clay is made of minerals (rocks are made of minerals, too).

I love mud. It's a sunscreen so I don't burn my nose or tail. Mosquitoes can't bite me. But best of all, mud can be made into mud pies, mud cupcakes, and mud strudel. I can make mud paintings and mud sculptures. People make houses and buildings out of mud. Adobe bricks are made of sand, clay, sticks, and straw. The bricks dry and harden in the sun. In ancient times, large temples and even whole cities were made from mud bricks.

A whole town is too much for a pig--but I'd really like a mud igloo someday.

'Tis the week before ...and all the animals are preoccupied with gift lists and shopping and deciding who will play Santa at the village Christmas party (perhaps a certain tiny female mollusk*?). All except Freddie, who's busy in his repair shop working on a plan of his own that will remind everyone what the spirit of giving -- Mud Flat-style -- is all about. Short, gemlike chapters accompanied by enchanting watercolor illustrations make this another welcome visit to James Stevenson's one-of-a-kind animal habitat that his young fans will joyously recognize as Mud Flat!

Saddle up for Kansas City’s American Royal, running from September through November. On September 16, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, Dr. Jim Hoy gave a presentation inspired in part by Western novelist Louis L’Amour’s legacy entitled American Icon: The Enduring Appeal of the Cowboy. Check out a few books by Jim Hoy, enjoy a few classic cowboy novels, or discover a recent award-winning Western.

Books by Jim Hoy | Cowboys | Award-winning Westerns

Books by Dr. Jim Hoy

Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales From the Tallgrass Prairie

By Jim Hoy This 2007 Kansas Notable Book tells the story of exemplary cowboys from the rugged hills. These stories run from the late 19th through the mid-20th century and they are told by a scholar who is one of them.

Cowboys and Kansas

By Jim Hoy In Cowboys and Kansas Jim Hoy educates and entertains us with essays and tales about cowboy life that are based on personal experience, folklore, and history.

Plains Folk

Dr. Dale Herspring discussed his book Rumsfeld's Wars: The Arrogance of Power at the Central Library on September 11, 2008. Learn more about the man who served as the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2001-06 under President George W. Bush or read a book about recent or current U.S. foreign relations.

Books by Dale Herspring | Donald Rumsfeld | Recent U.S. Foreign Relations

Books by Dale Herspring

Rumsfeld's Wars: The Arrogance of Power By Dale Herspring Dale Herspring, a political conservative and lifelong Republican, offers a nonpartisan assessment of Rumsfeld's impact on the U.S. military establishment from 2001 to 2006, focusing especially on the Iraq War – from the decision to invade through the development and execution of operational strategy and the enormous failures associated with the postwar reconstruction of Iraq.