October Staff Picks

Staff-recommended reading from the Alexandria Library Catalog. Check back each month for a new list. Looking for recommended titles? Tell us five titles you have enjoyed and we'll send you a list of five more that we think you will like. Also check out our new Goodreads Group for reviews, online bookclubs, and more!

Diversity Month at Alexandria Library

October is National Diversity Awareness Month and the Alexandria Library is celebrating with an Open House. This month's staff picks include books that promote diversity awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

The camel in the sun


The camel in the sun (Children's Picture Book)

By Griffin Ondaatje & Linda Wolfsgruber

Inspired by the retelling of a traditional Muslim hadith, an account of the words or actions of the Prophet, which the author first heard in Sri Lanka, this is an unforgettable story about empathy.

Between the world and me


Between the world and me (Adult Non-Fiction)

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men--bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates's attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.

Bebe goes shopping


Bebe goes shopping (Children's Picture Book)

By Susan Middleton Elya

Rhyming text describes a trip to the grocery store for a mamá and her baby boy. Includes Spanish words.

The crossover


The crossover (Children's Fiction)

By Kwame Alexander

Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.



Wonder (Children's Fiction)

By R.J. Palacio

Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

The Gay Revolution


The Gay Revolution (Adult Non-Fiction)

By Lillian Faderman

A chronicle of the modern struggle for gay, lesbian and transgender rights draws on interviews with politicians, military figures, legal activists and members of the LGBT community to document the cause's struggles since the 1950s.


Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie


Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie (Adult Non-Fiction)

By Ranya Idliby

For many Americans, the words 'American' and 'Muslim' simply do not marry well; for many the combination is an anathema, a contradiction in values, loyalties, and identities. This is the story of one American Muslim family--the story of how, through their lives, their schools, their friends, and their neighbors, they end up living the challenges, myths, fears, hopes, and dreams of all Americans.


Between Sisters



Between Sisters (Young Adult Fiction)

By Adwoa Badoe

When sixteen-year-old Gloria fails thirteen out of fifteen subjects on her final exams, her future looks bleak indeed. Her family's resources are meager so the entire family is thrilled when a distant relative, Christine, offers to move Gloria north to Kumasi to look after her toddler son, Sam. In exchange, after two years, Christine will pay for Gloria to go to dressmaking school. Life in Kumasi is more grand than anything Gloria has ever experienced. But Kumasi is also full of temptations... Eventually Gloria is betrayed by the people around her and is disillusioned by her new life. But in the end she decides who she can trust, and draws on her own considerable inner resources to put the bad experiences behind her.

It's Okay to be Different



It's Okay to be Different (Children's Picture Book)

By Todd Parr

Illustrations and brief text describe all kinds of differences that are "okay," such as "It's Okay to be a different color," "It's Okay to need some help," "It's Okay to be adopted," and "It's Okay to have a Different nose."

Undocumented : a Dominican boy's odyssey from a homeless shelter to the Ivy League


Undocumented : a Dominican boy's odyssey from a homeless shelter to the Ivy League (Adult Non-Fiction)

By Dan-El Padilla Peralta

Throughout his youth, Dan-el navigated...two worlds: the rough streets of East Harlem, where he lived with his brother and his mother and tried to make friends, and the ultra-elite halls of a Manhattan private school, where he could immerse himself in a world of books and where he soon rose to the top of his class. From Collegiate, Dan-el went to Princeton, where he thrived, and where he made the momentous decision to come out as an undocumented student in a Wall Street Journal profile a few months before he gave the salutatorian's traditional address in Latin at his commencement.


 Alvin Ho : allergic to girls, school, and other scary things


Alvin Ho : allergic to girls, school, and other scary things (Children's Fiction)

By Lenore Look

A young boy in Concord, Massachusetts, who loves superheroes and comes from a long line of brave Chinese farmer-warriors, wants to make friends, but first he must overcome his fear of everything.

El Deafo


El Deafo (Children's Graphic Novel)

By Cece Bell

The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her "superpower


Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet


Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet (Young Adult Fiction)

By Kashmira Sheth

Growing up with her family in Mumbai, India, sixteen-year-old Jeeta disagrees with much of her mother's traditional advice about how to live her life and tries to be more modern and independent.

Enabling Acts


Enabling Acts (Adult Non-Fiction)

By Lennard Davis Jr.

The first significant book on the history and impact of the ADA--the "eyes on the prize" moment for disability rights The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the widest-ranging piece of civil rights legislation ever passed in the history of the United States, and it has become the model for most civil rights laws around the world.