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Step Two: The New Classics (these books are playing for keeps!)

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Hello Port Washington!

Are you itchy for some new titles for your kiddos (or is that a little hay fever)? Let’s assume it’s the books and—on the count of three—bid a fond farewell to winter. Wait, was that ice on my car last week? Were we four inches deep in 44 degree rainwater yesterday? I know, I know. Let it go…

Last time around we talked classics, books which appeal to most of us because we think no time has passed since we were flopped on our beds in Tretorns and friendship pins reading Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. But alas, some years have gone by and lucky for our kids (and us) there are some new books out there that must be read by you and yours and for eternity. We’re calling them…The New Classics. (You were hoping for something more exciting, probably but it is what it is. This isn’t an episode of 24.)

Check ‘em out on the great blog wall at the Dolphin! Come on, give your kid the gift of great fiction after plugging through standarized tests all week. Oh, and rumor has it there will be a teen blog coming your way (for all of you not-so-closeted YA fanatics), so my list will always be heavy on pre-school and middle grade growing pains, lighter on teen angst and vampires.

As for me, I’m in the middle of writing a new novel and parenting through the Common Core—no one talk to me ‘til I’m done. (Unless you have book blog requests, or want to commiserate, or want to grab a coffee and talk about the Clinton grandchild.)

Until then, get on over to the Dolphin for books and treats and coffee and gifts…and books!


Picture Books

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (read it aloud to a group of kids and watch what happens)

Skippyjon Jones (They’re all good but Lost in Spice in a personal fave because well, Lost. In. Spice. It’s just so funny)

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (ah, the way Henkes lets a kid work all the way through their drama stuff is genius, you guys!)

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willem

Wild About Books by Judy Sierra

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin


Because April was National Poetry Month and I’m kind of a joiner so I feel super bad about missing it…

Firefly July (yes, July!) by Paul Janeckzo and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Absoutely every last thing Shel Silverstein ever wrote (in verse, that is, since the co-dependent message of The Giving Tree…not for me so much)

Love That Dog and Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech (as well as most everything Sharon Creech has written)


Elementary (or middle grade, as they say)

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes (click here for my deep thoughts on this one)

The Mysterious Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (author of Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Desperaux and Flora and Ulysses—these parentheses are my way of loading up this list with a whole lot of Kate DiCamillo)

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (lovely old-fashioned feeling, summer read for girls 8 and up)

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (if you or your kids loved and were moved by Wonder, read this next)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (forgive me, but if you’ve ever sung a Broadway tune when maybe it wasn’t a good time, you must read this and here’s why…)

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Frindle by Andrew Clements (if you happen to have a boy (or a girl!) who won’t read anything but sports stats and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, try this one)

And now, a (non-dystopian) YA selection because these belong on any new classics list…

The Fault in Our Stars by the incomparable John Green (because had this been around when we were teens, we’d ramble on about it to our parents–who wouldn’t understand!–through snotty tissues…)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (charming and magical and about as strong a non-conformist message as you can get without anyone knowing what you’re up to.)

And not to be missed by tweens, teens, and adults alike… The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (National Book Award-winner, anyone?)

As always, more book recs to come!


2 responses »

  1. just finished absolutely true diary of a part time indian – soo good! and you know i find no fault in the fault in our stars!! love em. i think stargirl might be next up! thanks!!


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@ the Dolphin Bookshop

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educating alice

monica edinger, teacher and reader of children's literature


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