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Here are the books you and your kids should be reading this fall, according to local experts

From bestsellers to classics, picture books to teen novels, NoVA bookstore owners and librarians recommend their favorites.

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Cooler temperatures and quiet evenings make fall the perfect season to drop back into reading. Even though you can’t stick your toes in the sand while flipping the pages, here are the books local bookstore owners and librarians are recommending, from infants to older adults.

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Kids (12 years old and younger)

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Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Children try to spot Leaf Man and his animal friends in Ehlert’s inventive collages made entirely of leaves. –Diana Price, Youth Services Manager, Alexandria Library

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Old Bear by Kevin Henkes – It’s winter, so Old Bear hibernates and dreams imaginatively of all the seasons. –Diana Price, Youth Services Manager, Alexandria Library

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Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler – Each year, tiny Miss Maple collects lost seeds and takes care of them all winter, before sending them off in the spring to find places to sprout and grow. –Diana Price, Youth Services Manager, Alexandria Library

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Summer Green to Autumn Gold by Mia Posada – Preschool and early elementary-aged children learn why the leaves change color each autumn in this beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book. –Diana Price, Youth Services Manager, Alexandria Library

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The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste – In this spooky but hopeful story for middle-grade readers, an 11-year-old girl has to tap into an ancient magic in order to save her village from creepy creatures. With its roots in Caribbean folklore, The Jumbies is a frightening, fun and original tale of courage, friendship and fantasy. —Lelia Nebeker, Book Buyer, One More Page in Arlington

 

Teens (12 to 18 years old)

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I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver – One night changed Ben DeBacker’s life when they come out as nonbinary to their parents, get kicked out and move in with their estranged sister. All Ben has to do is stay under the radar, but a cute boy named Nathan Allen has different plans. —Isaiah West, Teen Services Coordinator, Alexandria Library

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Guts by Raina Telgemeier – In Guts, Raina Telgemeier knocks it out of the park yet again. Witty and honest, this graphic memoir from the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and multiple Eisner award-winner takes on a tough topic: fear. —Ellen Klein (and her staff), owner of Hooray for Books! 

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Bad Unicorn by Platte Clark – Bad Unicorn follows the hilarious misadventures of Max Spencer, who accidentally became one of the greatest sorcerers ever to live! With his uncooperative spell book and unlikely friends in tow, he must navigate an alternate world with unicorn royalty, Princess the Destroyer, on his tail. —Ellen Klein (and her staff), owner of Hooray for Books! 

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The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater – On Nov. 4, 2013 on a bus in Oakland, California, a queer teen named Sasha was set on fire by a boy named Richard. It seems clear that Richard is a hateful monster, but as we all know, nothing is as simple as it seems. —Isaiah West, Teen Services Coordinator, Alexandria Library

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Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner – Young readers who enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s books will devour this hilarious graphic novel about a sixth grader who will do whatever it takes to stand out—even if it means pretending to be a vampire in order to impress the slayer-obsessed girl he loves. It turns out, though, that pretending to be a vampire to impress a potential slayer comes with just a couple of complications. Even if the reader in your life isn’t a fan of vampires, they’ll definitely be able to relate to AJ’s desire to fit in. —Lelia Nebeker, Book Buyer, One More Page in Arlington

 

Adults (18 years old and up)

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Cider House Rules by John Irving – Fall in New England. Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch—saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud’s, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted. –Katie Dow, Adult Services Manager, Alexandria Library

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – Nothing gets you ready for the holidays like this Christmas Classic. A miser learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors review his past and foretell his future. –Katie Dow, Adult Services Manager, Alexandria Library

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The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara – You may not have heard of Milicent Patrick, but you definitely know the classic monster she helped to design: the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Part memoir of O’Meara’s own experiences in movie making, and part biography of a hidden figure, The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Milicent Patrick in her rightful place in monster movie history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since. —Lelia Nebeker, Book Buyer, One More Page in Arlington

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Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado – Sinuous, sinister and surreal, Carmen Maria Machado’s original debut collection of stories are full of heart, horror and healing in equal measures. Each story is a dark, shimmering cut into the human psyche, exploring the twists and turns of women’s existence, the shadows that haunt their minds, and the damage done unto them over the course of their lives. —Lelia Nebeker, Book Buyer, One More Page in Arlington

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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley – A group of 30-something friends from Oxford meet for a holiday on an estate in the Scottish Highlands, and by the end of the trip, one of them ends up dead. If you like Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries, toxic too-close friendships doused with a hefty layer of old money and Dom Perignon, and gorgeous remote settings, The Hunting Party will be a quick and intoxicating read. —Lelia Nebeker, Book Buyer, One More Page in Arlington

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