The New Classics

Recent titles worthy of joining your child’s permanent collection.


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[Chapter Books]

Bud Not Buddy
By Christopher Paul Curtis (Delacorte, 1999)
This coming-of-age tale follows a 10-year-old in Flint, Michigan, who heads off to find his father during the Great Depression. “The added bonus,” says Rovenger, “is the underlying story of the Depression and growing up black in the era of Jim Crow.”


By Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, 2002)
This beloved book from fantasy author Neil Gaiman follows a young girl who discovers a secret door in her house, which leads to a world that’s almost exactly like her own—but with some disturbing differences. “It has the whimsical appeal of Alice Through the Looking-Glass, with a deliciously eerie and macabre tone to suit modern sensibilities,” she says. Giver
By Lois Lowry (Houghton, 1993)
The Giver takes place in a futuristic world where all of society’s ills have been eliminated. However, there are consequences to perfection. Chilling and thought-provoking, The Giver has received the Newbery Medal, the Regina Medal, and was named “Best Book of the Year” by the School Library Journal.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
By J. K. Rowling (A.A. Levine/Scholastic,1998)
It’s inconceivable that you haven’t heard about the young wizard and his attempts to avenge his parents and stop the evil Lord Voldemort. “Part of the series’ appeal is the proximity of the magical world to our world,” Rovenger says.

Love That Dog
by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins, 2001)
In a book that’s both humorous and serious, a boy named Jack learns to get over his hatred of poetry, which eventually gives him a way to process his grief for his deceased dog. “This book resonates with kids,” Rovenger says.


Emily Keating’s Picks

Directed by Andrew Davis (Walt Disney Pictures, 2003)
This film, based on the award-winning book and starring a young Shia LaBeouf, is about a young boy who tries to deal with a family curse while at a summer camp for delinquent children. The action shifts between the boy’s present, his family’s past (and that dang curse), and the story of a 19th-century bandit who pulled her heists near the current campsite. “It plays with sequence,” says Keating, “and for many viewers, it’s the first time they’ve experienced that.”

The Iron Giant
Directed by Brad Bird (Warner Bros Animation, 1999)
Like E.T., this animated film is a touching tale of a boy who befriends a being from outer space—only this being is a humongous alien robot that just might be a weapon out to destroy Earth. Directed by Ratatouille’s Brad Bird, “this was right at the beginning of computer animation,” says Keating, “and you can see it as a turning point.”

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Directed by Brad Silberling (Paramount Pictures, 2004)
Based on a series of books (written by the mysterious Snicket himself), the film follows the three Baudelaire orphans in their attempts to find a new home—away from the influence of the evil Count Olaf. “It has an epic quality,” she says. “There’s enough fantasy to make the story larger-than-life.”

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Directed by Mel Stuart (Paramount Pictures, 1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Directed by Tim Burton (Warner Bros Pictures, 2005)
These two takes on Roald Dahl’s classic book couldn’t be more different—and, even though Dahl is credited on the screenplay for the 1971 version, it’s the 2005 edition that hews closer to the source material. “Kids love to compare the new version with the original,” she says.

 Continue reading for our Middle School and Young Adult section.



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