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October Staff Picks

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

October is Diversity Awareness Month

In celebration of National Diversity Awareness Month, this month's staff picks include books that promote diversity awareness, understanding, and acceptance. 

Breaking out : an Indian woman's American journey





Breaking Out--An Indian Woman's American Journey

By Padma Desai

Living in a foreign country for a year gave me a life-long interest in immigrant stories. How do others fare when transplanted thousands of miles from home? Padma Desai came from a sleepy village in India, but her otherwise traditional father encouraged both university in Bombay, and the leap to America and a Harvard doctorate. As she rose to become a top scholar of the Russian economy, she fought the consequences of an early disastrous marriage, knowing that had she stayed in India she would not have had the strength to move on. Dr. Desai's story is equally about what America gained from her brilliance and what she gained from becoming American. A fascinating read for Diversity Month.

Recommended by Marilyn D.




By Gaby Triana

The story of a second generation Cuban immigrant caught between her own heritage and American culture.

Recommended by Rosalinda D.

My neighbor's faith : stories of interreligious encounter, growth, and transformation



My Neighbor's Faith : stories of interreligious encounter growth and transformation

By Jennifer Howe Peace, Or N. Rose, and Gregory Mobley

At a time where we live in the most religiously and culturally diverse society, this book will teach us how we can live together with mutual respect and work together toward a more compassionate and just world.

Recommended by Ruth H.

Catfish and mandala : a two-wheeled voyage through the landscape and memory of Vietnam




Catfish and mandala: a two-wheeled voyage through the landscape and memory of Vietnam

By Andrew X. Pham

This is a beautiful story of the author's search for his own identity. Coming to America at the age of ten, he always identifies himself as an American but not to the people around him. He decides to go back to his birth country to learn more about where he came from. The author's bicycle journey unveils the life and the people he meets along the way and how his life is changed when he returns home to America. This book is a "Jack Kerouac meets Wild Swans".

Recommended by D.L.

The running dream


The Running Dream

By Wendelin Van Draanen

A powerful story about a 16 year old track star who perseveres after a tragic accident. Every teen, I know, who reads it, loves it!

Recommended by G. Schuler

The Interestings


The Interestings

By Meg Wolitzer

A group of teenagers in the mid 1970s come together at an upstate New York arts camp and forge bonds that last through middle age. They dub themselves "The Interestings". It is November's selection for Barrett's Let's Talk Books discussion.

Recommended by A. Williams

My beloved world




My Beloved World

By Sonia Sotomayor

With captivating honesty and candor, Sonia Sotomayor recounts the struggles of her childhood in the Bronx and rise to become the first Hispanic woman on the Supreme Court (and the third female Justice). Detailing her childhood with an alcoholic father, diagnosis with juvenile diabetes, and struggles to obtain her education from valedictorian through law school, Sotomayor’s story reveals a woman who is both relatable and inspirational. This is one you don’t want to miss! Available in regular, large print and audio formats.

Recommended by Jessica S.

Pig in a Taxi and Other African Adventures



Pig in a Taxi and Other African Adventures (eBook)

By Suzanne Crocker

A funny and inspiring book by a missionary couple on their adventures in Africa. Stories for young and old about encountering problems due to cultural and language differences, experiencing blessings of faith regardless of differing religious customs, and making sacrifices of self for others in order to share a depth of spiritual love and physical needs of people being ministered to. Truly the world is one and selfless love unites all.

Recommended by L. Rudd

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