Staff Picks

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

All Boarded Up

Boarding school stories for young adult readers

Novels set in boarding school are perfect for the reader who may care for realistic stories over science fiction and fantasy but still want a good dose of escapism.  Although most of the books here fall under contemporary or realistic fiction, the boarding schools almost feel like separate worlds.  Each of these institutions has a history and characters whose stories long to be told.  These novels are written for a young adult audience but can be enjoyed by adult readers as well.

Church of Mercy cover image

Read Up for the Pope's Visit to DC

DC is gearing up for Pope Francis' historic visit, and the library is no exception--the MLK Library will be closing early at 7 p.m. on September 23 and reopening at 3 p.m. on September 24 in anticipation of his visit to a neighboring church.

Cover of Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch shows a map of London with parts outlined in red

Fantasy for Adults: Beyond the Bestsellers

Fantasy is big in pop culture these days.

Journey by Aaron Becker

At a Loss for Words

Noteworthy Wordless Picture Books for Children

Wordless books are a valuable literary tool for toddlers and preschoolers, as well as for reluctant readers, that can help shape early literacy skills and foster children's imaginations. The vivid illustrations found throughout wordless books provide young readers access to dynamic art presentations and highlight the creativity of illustrators as storytellers. Wordless books also give children confidence that they can finish books on their own, understanding the development of a story without having the fear of incorrectly pronouncing a word.

Unpunished by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Feminist Literature: the First Wave

Feminist literary fiction from 1890 to 1949

Welcome to Feminist Fiction! In this series we’ll explore the library’s best feminist novels and short stories from every wave of the feminist movement.

Code Name Verity cover image

Wily Young Women

Teen protagonists who live by their wits

There's plenty of fun, smart, brave, or just plain good female heroes to root for in teen fiction, but I'm most drawn to the young women who use guile, cunning, and necessary subterfuge to live, survive, and even thrive. These heroines lead interesting lives that are sometimes tragic, sometimes exhilarating, and sometimes life-threateningly dangerous. But through it all, they use their wits to find adventure, (temporary) safety, joy, and success, secretly defying those who would thwart them or harm them. 

The Joy Luck Club Book Cover

Introspective Tearjerkers

These books will hit you 'right in the feels'

Summer can be all about fun, flirty or "light" reading, but sometimes you just long for something different. There are so many novels that have heart -- they make us laugh and cry -- but the joy that comes from these authors' writing is that by making us feel so deeply about them, it makes both the illustrative content of the writer as well as our own world that much brighter. If you are looking for a different flavor - maybe something a little heavier or a book that dares to be moody - why not try these suggestions?

Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra

Eighth-Grade Math Novels?

Books that make math fun for middle-schoolers

The library got a request this morning via Twitter: We've gotta admit this is a slightly unusual -- and incredibly specific request. But our amazing Library staff are up to the task! Here's what awesome Children's Librarian Annie Lyon came up with:

'Go Set a Watchman'- Opposing Viewpoints

Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s long-awaited second (but technically first) novel is one of the most talked-about books of the summer. It’s also one of the most controversial. For some reason, if you are a reader, you are required to have an opinion on it (even if you haven’t read it.) Don’t worry. DC Public Library can help.

Choir Director

Church Folk

Slightly scandalous urban Christian Fiction

There is a genre of fiction that is categorized as Urban Christian. The story lines often reveal emotional and spiritual conflicts within urban church settings. The intensities between the spiritual and secular warfare can range from the horrific to the comedic. Of course, sex and violence heighten the novels’ appeal. My reaction to these non-stop scandals that are occurring in the church and outside the church is WOW. These authors offer intriguing plots and characters that demonstrate that nobody is exempt from being involved in church scandal.

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