October Staff Picks

Staff-recommended reading from the Alexandria Library Catalog. Check back each month for a new list. Need some 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!

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.


All but my life



All but my life

By Gerda Weissmann Klein

Equally fascinating and horrifying: one woman's account of surviving the Holocaust.

Recommended by Rosie D.

The essential dykes to watch out for




The essential dykes to watch out for 

By Alison Bechdel

Before the success of Fun Home and Are You My Mother?, Alison Bechdel's career emerged with Dykes to Watch Out For, a comic strip which centered on lovably exasperating Mo and her multifarious lesbian community. In this compilation, readers can enjoy the DTWOF characters as they grow and change over the years, shining a humorous light on this often underrepresented segment in contemporary fiction.

Recommended by Megan Z.

The storyteller : a novel





The storyteller : a novel

By Jodi Picoult

Sage Singer is a baker, a loner, until she befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses—and then he confesses his darkest secrethe deserves to die because he had been a Nazi SS guard. And Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. How do you react to evil living next door? Can someone who's committed truly heinous acts ever atone with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And, if Sage even considers the request, is it revenge…or justice?

Recommended by Shahana P.

Blackbird fly



Blackbird fly 

By Erin Entrada Kelly

Bullied at school in a small Texas town, eighth-grader Apple, a Filipino American who loves the music of the Beatles, decides to change her life by learning how to play the guitar. Along the way she makes some surprising discoveries about herself, her heritage, and what it means to be a true friend. Highly recommended for anyone who liked Wonder.

Recommended by Lisa S.

The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian



The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

By Alexie Sherman

Sherman Alexie combines humor with truth in this coming-of-age story with plenty of heart. Told with supplementary illustrations, this YA novel can be enjoyed by adolescents and adults alike. Alexie makes it easy to cheer for his title character while representing an underrepresented but important part of the modern American population. Also available as audiobook (CD) and eAudiobook on OneClickdigital.

Recommended by Abby H.

Wild about us!







Wild about us!

By Karen Beaumont

Warty Warthog narrates this spirited and fun book about zoo pride. From Tortoise's amble and Crocodile’s big, toothy grin to Rhino’s wrinkly skin, each animal’s attributes are described and celebrated through clever text and beautiful illustrations. Beaumont encourages readers to love the skin they’re in. As Warty says, "Can’t be who I’m not, I am who I am and I’ve got what I’ve got…. Yesiree! We all are the way we are all meant to be!" Pair this plucky picture book with Lovell’s Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon to springboard a discussion on tolerance and self-acceptance. Perfect Diversity Month read aloud.

Recommended by Genelle S.

Each kindness




Each Kindness

By Jacqueline Woodson

This is a moving story about a young girl, Chloe, who shuns the new girl at her school. The new girl moves away, and her teacher talks about how each kindness makes a difference every day. Chloe becomes very regretful that she didn't reach out to the new girl. As someone who has moved every two years of my life (until recently), both as a child and as a mother with children, this book speaks to my experiences.

Recommended by Gretchen C.

Marked : race, crime, and finding work in an era of mass incarceration



Marked: race, crime, and finding work in an era of incarceration

By Jacqueline Woodson

Devah Pager uses a simple technique to show how mass incarceration has undone the small amount of racial progress achieved in 1960s and 1970s.

Recommended by R. Hailu

The ninth jewel of the Mughal crown : the Birbal tales from the oral traditions of India



The Ninth Jewel of the Mughal crown : the Birbal tales from the oral traditions of India

By James Moseley

It is a collection of 28 tales about Birbal, the wise minister to Akbar, emperor of Agra in India. These delightful fables sparkle like Kipling's Just so stories and The Arabian Nights. They are full of humor and surprise endings. Perfect bedtime stories-for the whole family!

Recommended by Anu S.