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

Westlake Legal Group fall-book-recommendations-feature-Milissenta Here are the books you and your kids should be reading this fall, according to local experts reading One More Page Libraries kids Hooray for Books Family Fall Books Education bookstores books to read Books arlington Alexandria Library alexandria
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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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6 books about wine to get your obsession started

The world of wine is as complex as it is enjoyable. Learn a little bit more about the grape in your glass with these classic and current books.

This post originally appeared in our October 2019 issue‘s cover story. For more food & drink stories, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Westlake Legal Group virginia-wine-travel-journal 6 books about wine to get your obsession started winery wineries Wine Vineyards reading October cover story food and drink Drinks Books   Virginia Wine Travel Journal (2019)
By Nancy Bauer

This is an indispensable companion on any trip exploring Virginia’s many wine countries. The spiral-bound book is a primer on grapes, trends, top talent, best bottles, a directory of all the wineries in Virginia and how to tour each region. There’s also some sage advice: Don’t be afraid to spit. “Since almost no one spits, one of the unanticipated benefits is that the staff will assume you’re a wine aficionado.” (Virginia Wine in My Pocket, $15)

Westlake Legal Group the-food-lovers-guide-to-wine 6 books about wine to get your obsession started winery wineries Wine Vineyards reading October cover story food and drink Drinks Books   The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine
By Karen Page with Andrew Dornenburg

If you’re familiar with this married couple’s encyclopedic tomes of food knowledge (see: The Flavor Bible), then their cunning use of adjective-heavy lists will feel just right when it’s used to help dissect varietals. Regions (there’s a Virginia entry!) and styles are also sliced into tidbits of information ranging from flavors and textures of grapes to food pairings and world-class producers. (Little, Brown & Company, $35)

Westlake Legal Group windows-on-the-world 6 books about wine to get your obsession started winery wineries Wine Vineyards reading October cover story food and drink Drinks Books   Windows on the World Complete Wine Course (2018)
By Kevin Zraly

The industry-approved essential reading for beginners learning about wine, Windows on the World’s 400 pages are a compilation of classes Kevin Zraly taught from the wine school inside the restaurant 107 stories in the sky at the top of the World Trade Center. The book has been updated numerous times since its publication in 1985, and remains the final word on wine. (Sterling Epicure, $28)

Westlake Legal Group the-new-wine-rules 6 books about wine to get your obsession started winery wineries Wine Vineyards reading October cover story food and drink Drinks Books   The New Wine Rules
By Jon Bonné

Wine doesn’t have to be fussy and precious and intimidating. Sure, there are a lot of grapes and grape-growing regions around the world, but mostly, drinking wine should be about pleasure. Jon Bonné, the former wine editor and critic at San Francisco Chronicle wrote a slim, assured guidebook with rules that are just as funny as they are dead-on (“Not every new-wave wine is cool. Not every classic wine is uncool.”) and just plain helpful (“Don’t save a great bottle for anything more than a rainy day.”). (Ten Speed Press, $15)

Westlake Legal Group grasping-the-grape 6 books about wine to get your obsession started winery wineries Wine Vineyards reading October cover story food and drink Drinks Books   Grasping the Grape
By Maryse Chevriere

Understanding wine is a mix of two things: the variety of the grape and where the grape grew. Maryse Chevriere takes the importance of grapes to the extreme, filling in a backstory and persona, a parable, really: “There are those who are bright, easy and cheerful; excited and ready to welcome you … And then there are those who are more guarded and reserved … who require time to open up and reveal the complexities of their personality. Nebbiolo is very much the latter.” She completes each lesson on grapes with pairings, flavors and textures and a whimsical illustration of its personification. (Hardie Grant, $15)

Westlake Legal Group wine-folly 6 books about wine to get your obsession started winery wineries Wine Vineyards reading October cover story food and drink Drinks Books   Wine Folly: Magnum Edition
By Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack

Built for the visual age, flush with infographics and bullet points, Wine Folly is a comprehensive guide not just to types of wine, but the entire process from how much water to drink to avoid a headache (a glass of water to match each glass of wine) to winemaking techniques, pairing methodologies and full-page explainers on each grape with illustrations of flavors, scales for body and tannins, growing regions, decanting time and how much money to spend. Besides its use as a teaching tool, Wine Folly is a master class in how good design is just as important as clear writing. (Avery, $35)

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Writers in NoVA now have an outlet for their craft, thanks to one local mom

Westlake Legal Group people-writing-at-table Writers in NoVA now have an outlet for their craft, thanks to one local mom Writing writers workshops weekly events Things to Do Features Things to Do reading profile local authors Education creative writing Community
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“I want people to understand we have cultural offerings here—our community is not just a suburb of DC. Also, I just really like hanging out with writers.”

That’s how Annandale-based mom Lisa Lowry explains the reason for her newest venture arriving in Northern Virginia on Tuesday, Oct. 1, The Writer’s Passage, which offers workshops for aspiring writers and creatives alike.  

While Lowry has a Ph.D. in public policy, she recently dove headfirst into creative writing following the birth of her child. Yet after taking several classes at a studio in Bethesda, Maryland, she quickly realized there wasn’t a space for local writers to learn and practice the craft. 

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As the concept is brand new, The Writer’s Passage does not have a studio location yet, but workshops will be offered on a regular basis in both Annandale and Arlington, with a cap of 15 students for each class. Plus, the courses will be led by experienced writers from right here in Northern Virginia.  

“We have about five or six teachers who I found through word of mouth mostly, and there’s actually a ton of writers around here,” says Lowry. “I think your writing is a lot better with a support system. We are offering poetry, fiction writing, a picture book writing class. Right now we are really just trying to see what people are looking for.”

While the classes are currently geared toward beginner and intermediate writers with a strong focus on the basics of storytelling, Lowry hopes to eventually offer more advanced classes to experienced writers in the region. 

The first-ever course offered by The Writer’s Passage is titled, “World Building,” honing in on the importance of setting a scene, and will be held Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 6:30 p.m.

“To me, that’s the most exciting part about writing. You literally get to create your own world for characters to live in,” says Lowry. “I’ll be taking it right along with my students.”   

For a complete list of upcoming classes hosted by The Writer’s Passage, click here.

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Here’s what to expect at the 19th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival

Westlake Legal Group library-of-congress Here’s what to expect at the 19th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival washington D.C. Things to Do Features Things to Do the national book festival reading library of congress DC events Books book festival book
Library of Congress (Photo by Stephen Walker)

Calling all bookworms, casual readers and those looking to get more into reading: The 19th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival returns on Saturday, Aug. 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Being held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the free and open-to-the-public event will feature bestselling authors, novelists, historians, poets, children’s writers and more, including presentations by acclaimed chef José Andrés and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The National Book Festival will host more than 140 authors, illustrators and poets on stages to present their work. Guests can hear talks on children’s books, fiction, historical writing, biographies, poetry and science. There will be thematic programs and panel discussions, as well. 

Other activities include book signings; lessons on what it takes to become a professional librarian; a sneak preview of the film Free for All: Inside the Public Library; a panel on how libraries are adapting storytime for different generations; copyright trivia; and much more. 

For the kids, The Washington Post will host animated readings by local children’s book authors every hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and The Posts’s mascot, Ned the Newshound, will be there to take photos with festival guests. And for parents, there’s even a panel titled, “How to Raise a Reader,” being held from 5 to 6 p.m.

For a list of participating authors, click here, and for more information, visit loc.gov/events/2019-national-book-festival. // 801 Mount Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC; free

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Raising sous: 5 of the best food books for kids

Westlake Legal Group Books-Feature Raising sous: 5 of the best food books for kids reading parenting Kids Food kids books kids Food Family Features Family Education cookbooks children
Photo by Mike Ramm

Christine Carroll, a scientist (neurophsycology) turned chef (French Culinary Institute grad) turned James Beard-nominated cookbook author (Come In, We’re Closed) turned executive director and founder of a nonprofit sending chefs on volunteer service trips (CulinaryCorps) is also a mom of two in Old Town Alexandria who runs an Instagram account curating the top books about food for kids.

Food-themed books, writes Carroll, are “a bridge connecting young readers with other cultures, unfamiliar traditions and new ways of life. It’s amazing to see how food-centric books trigger understanding of how we are all deeply connected. These types of books make incredible conversation starters, especially at the dinner table.”

Working on her own middle-grade fiction book, as she says, “where STEM meets sous vide,” she is deep in the culinary-kid book world. Here are her suggestions:

 

Westlake Legal Group Books-4 Raising sous: 5 of the best food books for kids reading parenting Kids Food kids books kids Food Family Features Family Education cookbooks children
Photo by Mike Ramm

Chapter Book
The Winner Is …
By: Charise Mericle Harper
The finale in the Next Best Junior Chef series is the perfect beach read for your budding Gordon Ramsay. // Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $8

Westlake Legal Group Books-2 Raising sous: 5 of the best food books for kids reading parenting Kids Food kids books kids Food Family Features Family Education cookbooks children
Photo by Mike Ramm

Board Book
Cook In A Book: Tacos!
By: Lotta Nieminen
An interactive series of books to get your little chefs “cooking” while you read aloud about how to make tacos, pancakes, pizza and cookies. // Phaidon, $17 

Westlake Legal Group Books-3 Raising sous: 5 of the best food books for kids reading parenting Kids Food kids books kids Food Family Features Family Education cookbooks children
Photo by Mike Ramm

Picture Book
When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree
By: Jamie L.B. Deenihan
A clever, intergenerational story about turning what you think is sour, into something very sweet. // Sterling Children’s Books, $17

Westlake Legal Group Books-5 Raising sous: 5 of the best food books for kids reading parenting Kids Food kids books kids Food Family Features Family Education cookbooks children
Photo by Mike Ramm

Middle Grade Book
A Woman’s Place: The Inventors, Rumrunners, Lawbreakers, Scientists, and Single Moms Who Changed the World with Food
By: Deepi Ahluwalia
A curated group of trailblazing women who changed the world from their kitchens. Innovators, instigators and inventors, A Woman’s Place features stalwarts like Julia Child and Leah Chase, but also unsung heroes, like Georgia Gilmore whose food helped finance the Montgomery Bus Boycott. // Little, Brown and Company, $25

Westlake Legal Group Books-6 Raising sous: 5 of the best food books for kids reading parenting Kids Food kids books kids Food Family Features Family Education cookbooks children
Photo by Mike Ramm

Cookbook
United Tastes of America: An Atlas of Food Facts & Recipes from Every State!
By: Gabrielle Langholtz
Some food for thought for that epic summer road trip. // Phaidon, $30

This post was originally published in our August 2019 issue. To get even more food stories to your inbox, subscribe to our weekly Food newsletter.

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National Book Lovers Day falls on Aug. 9. Here’s where to find the best reads around NoVA.

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-62 National Book Lovers Day falls on Aug. 9. Here’s where to find the best reads around NoVA. Things to Do summer reading shopping reading local authors bookworms Books book shops book lovers
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Northern Virginia is home to a number of high-profile and bestselling authors and, thanks to the region’s thriving independent bookstore scene, there’s no shortage of places to find talented Virginia writers like Russell Baker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from Loudoun County, and New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci. On Aug. 9, embrace your inner bookworm by heading over to a local bookshop and purchasing a few summer reads in honor of National Book Lovers Day. 

Old Town Books
104 S. Union St., Alexandria

Reston’s Used Books
1623 Washington Plaza N., Reston

Joy Unlimited
10400 Main St., Fairfax

Prospero’s Books
9129 Center St., Manassas

Scrawl Books
11911 Freedom Drive, Reston

One More Page Books
200 N. Westmoreland St., Arlington

Hole in the Wall Books
905 W. Broad St., Falls Church

Barnes & Noble
Locations vary 

Bards Alley

110 Church St., NW, Vienna

Hooray for Books!
1555 King St., Alexandria

McKay Used Books
8345 Sudley Road, Manassas

To stay up to date with all of the must-visit stores in the region, subscribe to our Shopping e-newsletter.

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How to keep your kids academically healthy during summer break

Westlake Legal Group young-girl-reading How to keep your kids academically healthy during summer break summer break Summer school reading read parenting Health family health Family expert tips Education Books
Photo by Josh Applegate

With the distraction of outdoor activities, video games, time with friends and mobile devices, reading and other academic activities aren’t often at the top of your child’s summer agenda. Which, left unchecked, may lead to summer learning loss, often referred to as the summer slide.

Research shows that on average, students’ achievement scores can decline over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning.

Kristina Hardy, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist within the division of neuropsychology at Children’s National Health System, answers frequently asked questions about staying academically healthy and provides tips for parents looking to avoid summer learning loss.

What happens to a child’s brain if it is not academically active during the summer?
With children, it’s all about growth all year-round. If a child isn’t academically engaged over the summer then the content gained throughout the school year can be lost. Keep in mind that summer learning loss can be cumulative. Academic content lost over successive summers begins to add up and can set your child back in terms of long-term learning.

If there is one academic activity kids should try to focus on over the summer, what is it?
While other subjects are important, reading is the gateway to learning. After the third grade there is a shift from learning to read, to reading to learn. If your child isn’t engaged in reading, then they aren’t building skills that will help them understand other subjects and access related content that is only unlocked by reading.

How often should a child read over the summer?
It’s all about quality of the book, the level of interest your child has in what they are reading and how closely the reading material matches their academic literacy. The book should be at a reading level similar to where the child was at the end of their most recent grade to make sure critical literacy skills are reinforced.

How can you promote reading when kids are not in school?
Children are more engaged in books that they pick themselves. When in the library, allow your child to pick out books on their own. Parents can help select reading material if your child tends to choose books beyond their reading level or if you plan to actively engage with your child in reading that book. When making choices with your child, try to keep in mind the literacy skills your child needs to practice over the summer.

What should parents do if a child has difficulty with reading?
One thing that I often recommend is audio books. From the perspective of literary skills and comprehension, there isn’t much of a difference between listening to a book and reading a book. For example, in terms of reading comprehension, making predictions, inferences within the text, understanding character development and story sequences are all things kids do with audio books as they do with a physical book. While audio books shouldn’t completely replace print books, they can serve as a good alternative and create a great way for families to enjoy books together.

Kristina Hardy, Ph.D., is a pediatric neuropsychologist within the division of neuropsychology at Children’s National Health System and is an associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Hardy has expertise in developmental and acquired difficulties with attention, learning and executive functioning.

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Don’t miss this summer’s pop-up library at Ballston Quarter

Westlake Legal Group Pop-Up-FEATURE Don’t miss this summer’s pop-up library at Ballston Quarter Things to Do Features reading Pop-Up Library library family friendly Family Education children ballston quarter arlington
Photo courtesy of Ballston BID

Finding a good book at the mall doesn’t just have to be from the bookstore. It can now be from your local library thanks to a new pop-up library at Ballston Quarter.

According to the Director of the Department of Libraries in Arlington, Diane Kresh, the creation (the third of its kind by the Arlington Public Library) is all about adapting to change and “meeting people where they are.”

“We assume that for all kinds of reasons, not everyone goes to a traditional brick-and-mortar library,” Kresh says. “There are people stopping at the pop-up that don’t even know that less than a mile away is a central library.”

The former retail space is now open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (except on Fridays) until Aug. 2, and has a handful of amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Visitors can sign up for a library card, browse a stock of popular-interest and children’s books or just kick back and use one of the space’s charging stations for digital devices.

According to Kresh, the pop-up library is showcasing how libraries on a larger scale are allowing public access to services that go beyond just lending out books.

“We are very conscious about how people are using the public space of the library,” Kresh says. Many come to the permanent locations in the area for a quiet place to study and a place to charge a laptop, while others stop by and conduct most of their interactions through the library app once they leave.

That’s why locations like this one, even if temporary, make people aware of the ways the library can become a frequent and reliable resource, no matter what they’re looking for.

“Some local libraries are always really busy because they’re right in the middle of the community [literally], but this way we have another location that can see the library and add it to their daily life tasks,” Kresh says. “You can stop by and get out of the heat, find a comfy chair and read a book.”

And the kids can enjoy it, too.

Kresh is hoping that local children find the library to be a fun, educational and safe space. That’s why local children can also sign up for the library’s 2019 Summer Reading Challenge, when they visit. Children are eligible to earn prizes after 25 days of reading, including tickets to a Washington Nationals game.

“We push reading because it’s something that you can enjoy lifelong,” Kresh says. “It’s fundamental. Even if you’re older, you can still enjoy it.”

And ever since the opening, Kresh has noticed its impact when spending just a few minutes in the space.

“When I was visiting just the other day, there were two young women with their babies there, and they were having a great moment,” Kresh says.

Aside from browsing the collection of books or charging up a cell phone, visitors can also experience Alterspace, a collaborative project with Harvard University’s metaLAB that offers an immersive nook where users can control light, color, sound and space to create their ideal environment for reading. It’s the project’s first location outside of Massachusetts.

As for the library continuing the pop-up beyond early August, Kresh is unsure if it’s term will be extended. But she does know one thing about the Arlington Public Library and its community initiatives: “We are always there and we’re here for everybody,” Kresh says. // Ballston Quarter: 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free

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Alexandria’s Morrison House launches new Bedside Reading program

Westlake Legal Group Archive-feature Alexandria’s Morrison House launches new Bedside Reading program vacations travel staycations reading Morrison House local author love hotel cultulre Books alexandria
Photo courtesy of Morrison House

What’s better than relaxing with a good book in bed? Reading in bed at a luxury hotel.

The Morrison House in Old Town recently launched a new program, Bedside Reading, which offers guests great books to delve into during their stay.

Didn’t have time to finish it? You can take it home.

Westlake Legal Group dark-rhapsody-book-cover Alexandria’s Morrison House launches new Bedside Reading program vacations travel staycations reading Morrison House local author love hotel cultulre Books alexandria
Photo courtesy of Helaine Mario

The program (which is nationwide with other participating luxe hotels) offers a rotating selection of books, but the first trio includes Arlington-based author Helaine Mario and her latest thriller Dark Rhapsody.

Westlake Legal Group helaine-mario-headshot Alexandria’s Morrison House launches new Bedside Reading program vacations travel staycations reading Morrison House local author love hotel cultulre Books alexandria
Helaine Mario, author of Dark Rhapsody (Photo courtesy of Helaine Mario)

The second in the local author’s Maggie O’Shea mystery series follows four seemingly disparate stories that all intertwine throughout the novel. A luxe Old Town hotel and some great reading material on the bedside? Sounds like the perfect staycation to us. // Morrison House: 116 S. Alfred St., Alexandria; rates from $239

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NoVA local merges food and reading through Boso Kitchen

Westlake Legal Group boso NoVA local merges food and reading through Boso Kitchen virginia made VA Made reading Food News Food Features Food farmers markets boso kitchen
Photo courtesy of Boso Kitchen

In order for that lentil salad to be lively when the farmers market opens, Rosalie Essimi starts cooking the night before, and doesn’t leave the commercial kitchen space at Haymarket’s incubator Frontier Kitchen until 3 a.m. She sleeps for three hours before driving to set up her stand. This is after she puts in a full day as a teacher in Fairfax County.

Essimi started Boso Kitchen not just to show off her skills mixing turmeric and chili together for a savory-spicy blend on almonds and cashews, or layering flavors in her black-eyed pea and kale soup, but to give her money away. Growing up in Cameroon without access to books—“and I loved reading,” she says—she wants to make sure children everywhere can develop their own admiration of books.

While she’s still figuring out the charitable component, Essimi is working toward a second master’s, this one in library studies. “If I hadn’t had that dream of doing something, I would have never started a business,” says Esimi, who brings her wares to farmers markets in Burke, Merrifield and Falls Church. “That’s what motivates me to get to the kitchen and give up my sleep.”

This post originally appeared in our June 2019 issue. For more food content, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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