2018: Rock & Read

Adult Summer Reading Program 2018

2018 Rock and Read yellow book with speaker

"So many books, so little time." – Frank Zappa

This year, the Library's Summer Reading Program will shake, rattle, and roll your bookshelves. The 2018 theme, Rock & Read, invites adults and youth alike to dive into a mosh pit of music-themed offerings.

Books and music make good bandmates. At their core, lyrics and prose are two ways we share and enjoy stories. Tales of love, loss, power, joy, terror, and hope stream from stereo speakers and spill across paperback pages. Readers eagerly await new offerings from a favorite author, while music fans anticipate the latest single from a singer or band. With this thematic mashup, the Library adds some rhythm to your reading.

The Adult Summer Reading song remains the same: Read five books between May 25 and July 31. Tune in to enjoyable, lively reads in your preferred format, log ‘em, and earn a rockin' reward: a Summer Reading pint glass.

You can also pump up your reading volume with librarian-curated lists of books and movies with a music beat: biographies of musicians, the science of songwriting, landmark concert documentaries, and more.

Take part in some of our special Adult Summer Reading events. Catch a mixtape of music movies on the Central Library rooftop. Hear a local journalist tell tales of some of KC's greatest concert moments. Help a pair of local musicians write a song over a lunch hour. Attend a book discussion group as we riff on some choice reads.

Need a new reading playlist? Let our librarian rockstars suggest reading, viewing, or listening for you. Complete a personalized reading profile and get your own Top 10 list of recommendations tailored to your tastes.

This summer, crank your reading dial up to 11. Get ready to Rock & Read.

How to Participate

Read any five books between May 25 and July 31, 2018

The Library has a diverse collection of fiction and nonfiction titles designed to appeal to all reading interests. While our entire collection is at your disposal, feel free to browse your own shelves at home for a prized paperback or hardcover classic.

Need ideas for books that fit this year's theme? Library staff have chosen fiction and nonfiction, biographies and memoirs, genre fiction, and classics to provide a quality reading experience that is thoughtful and entertaining.

View the full list in our catalog, or check out our Bonus Tracks for more books & media

Record your reads, earn a prize!

Log the titles of the five books you've read and claim a limited-edition 2018 Adult Summer Reading Program PINT GLASS!

Whether the five books you select are from the Suggested Reading list or are other books you've always wanted to read, the goal of the Adult Summer Reading Program is to promote the fun and discovery of reading for pleasure!

Other ways to take part in Adult Summer Reading:

  • Join a Summer Reading book discussion group.
  • Participate online and share your own Summer Reading experience on social media.
  • Attend a Summer Reading event or activity at various Library locations.


  • You may reserve books (and other Library materials) by visiting any Library location or logging into the catalog using your free online account at kclibrary.org/catalog.
  • Don't yet have a Kansas City Public Library card? Stop by your nearest Library location and get your official card (kclibrary.org/locations). Or to get immediate access to our collection of eBooks, digital audiobooks, streaming music, and other digital resources, visit kclibrary.org/services/library-cards.
  • If a favorite book is currently on the shelf at another Kansas City Public Library location, that item can be delivered to your neighborhood branch. Ask for assistance at any Public Service Desk, or use the online catalog to place a hold and identify the Library location where you'd like to pick up the book.
  • The Kansas City Public Library has select eBook and digital audiobook editions (compatible with several eReaders and tablets, including Nook eReaders, Sony eReaders, Amazon Kindles, and iPads) available for free download. Visit our Digital Branch for more details.
  • For additional reading recommendations, the Library offers two online databases: NoveList, which offers genre-specific reading lists as well as read-alike suggestions based on your favorite author; and Booklist Online, which reviews and recommends fiction and nonfiction alike. Visit kclibrary.org/databases to access these resources.
  • Try out the Library's Personalized Reading Profile service and get some customized book suggestions tailored to your tastes by our shelf-pushin' experts!

Suggested Reading

Check out this list of Adult Summer Reading Program official Rock & Read selections, or explore more related lists. All of these titles are available for checkout from the Library; many are available in other formats, such as eBooks or audiobooks.

The Library also offers book discussion groups where readers may join in smart conversations about select suggested reading titles.

Rock & Read 2018 Adult Summer Reading Program

Youth Summer Reading Program 2018

'Rock and Read' in musical style

"Let the wild rumpus start!"
– Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

Step into our wild rumpus at the Kansas City Public Library this summer and catch the beat of reading, activities, and events. Our 2018 Youth Summer Reading is a music-infused theme: Rock & Read.

Books and music are good bandmates. Singing is vital to early literacy and learning to read. Rhythm and rhyme reinforce the fun of reading, and lyrics set the stage for teens to write and speak their own poetry.

This year, the Youth Summer Reading Program sings a new song: Read five books between May 25 and July 31 and earn a rockin' award. Oh! And when kids and teens sign up, they get a book of their own to keep, plus they qualify for fine forgiveness on Kansas City Public Library youth card accounts.

Rounding out the Library concert lineup: Librarian-curated playlists of books that rock, show-stopping events, and pitch-perfect activities.

This summer, turn up the volume and get ready to Rock & Read.

During the 2018 Youth Summer Reading Program, kids and teens can plug into a playlist of music-themed books, activities, and more with this year's Rock & Read theme. There are several ways young rock stars can amplify their reading and learning:

  • Register for Summer Reading at any Library location or through the online logging system powered by Beanstack. Learn about registration here.
  • Every youth participant gets a FREE book upon registration.
  • Kids and teens can read away Library fines and fees to give their accounts a fresh start.
  • Keep track of completed books using the Beanstack log (or your paper form).
  • When participants read five books and submit a completed reading log, they get a FREE book bag. Visit any Library location to collect your prize.
  • Graphic novels, novels, nonfiction, and audiobooks all count as reading. Your books, our books, your cousin's books ... just read what you want!
  • One person can register the whole family. Families who read together rock! Parents can take part in Adult Summer Reading, while the kids enjoy all that Youth Summer Reading has to offer.
  • Turn up the fun with a lineup of youth-focused activities and events.

Reading Suggestions

Picture Books With a Beat | Rockin' Kids' Books | Tune In to These Teen Books

Read Away Youth Fines

Children and teens participating in the 2018 Youth Summer Reading Program are eligible to give their Library account a rockin' reboot. Get registered, come visit your neighborhood Library location, and Library staff will wipe away current fines and fees.

  • Applies to anyone with a youth library card who gets officially registered for Summer Reading. This is done either through the Beanstack online logging service or using a paper form (available in Library locations or in the Summer Reading booklet).
  • All existing fines and fees on youth accounts are eligible.
  • To take advantage of this offer, get your young reader registered for Summer Reading, then simply stop by your neighborhood Library location (or call if you can't visit in person), visit with a customer service staff member, and they will confirm registration and forgive all youth account fines.
  • Library staff will review and confirm registration either through the online Beanstack service or by accepting a paper form.
  • This offer is only good during this year's Youth Summer Reading Program (May 25-July 31, 2018).

Record reads, earn a prize!

Log the titles of the five completed books read and claim a limited-edition 2018 Youth Summer Reading Program BOOK BAG! Whether the five books are from our suggested titles or are other books you've always wanted to read, the goal of the Youth Summer Reading Program is to promote the fun and discovery of reading for pleasure!

Summer Learning Activities

In between books, check out some of the cool things to do around Kansas City this summer—or make up your own. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Take in a free concert. Various locations throughout the metro area offer them during the summer months.
  • Create your own musical instrument. There are all kinds of websites and online videos to help you learn how. Not to mention books at the Library.
  • Gather family or friends, and use your new instruments to hold a concert.
  • Be a tourist in your own hometown. Find out what's happening in Kansas City at visitkc.com.
  • Harmonize on a different level by visiting the Children's Peace Pavilion in Independence, which features more than 25 activities that encourage peaceful living.
  • Take a tour of fountains—Kansas City is full of them—and listen to the soothing tones of water.
  • Create your own meditation video or audio program by recording the natural sights and sounds around us—particularly at one of our many area parks and nature centers.
  • Learn more about the history of music in Kansas City by visiting the Marr Sound Archives on the UMKC campus. Or visit KCHistory.org.
  • Exercise to your favorite tunes.
  • Download a movie from the Library on Kanopy Kids, Hoopla, or Overdrive.
  • Get your own songs to keep from the Library's Freegal digital music service.
  • Or stream an album from Hoopla and listen to something new every week.
  • Art Starts at the Library (and so does music) the First Friday in June at the Central Library.
  • Learn a new tabletop board game, and play with your friends.
  • Catch a Jazz Storytime at the American Jazz Museum on First Fridays at 10 a.m.
  • Join us for Friday Night Family Fun at the Plaza Branch at 6:30 p.m.
  • Music and dancing happens all over the Library system this summer.
  • Find a Youth Summer Reading program and join in the fun.
  • Widen your musical taste by listening to a new genre of music or a new artist. Get started at your Library!
  • Create a playlist of your favorite songs. Check out how your parents/grandparents experienced their favorite songs back in the day. (hint: Google "Mixtape").
  • Explore the science of music at exploratorium.edu/music. Don't let "science" scare you off—this site is fun.
  • Create your own music at soundation.com/studio. It's a free website.
  • Turn the car radio up, roll the windows down, and sing along as loud as you can.

Kansas City Digital Media Lab: kcdml.org

Check out the new home of the Kansas City Digital Media Lab (KCDML), which recently opened at the Southeast Branch in the Goppert Media Center. Available to teens ages 12-18, the space offers opportunities to learn maker activities (3D design, Arduino, and more) and audio production. For summer hours and workshops, visit our website or call 816.701.3733.