AS READERS, OUR DEEPEST CONNECTIONS WITH BOOKS ARE OFTEN WITH THE ONES WE READ AS CHILDREN. THE CLASSICS, LIKE A WRINKLE IN TIME OR DR. SEUSS’S WORKS, ARE ALWAYS WITH US, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CONTEMPORARY GEMS? HERE, JOY PREBLE RECOMMENDS SOME GREAT NEW BOOKS THAT WILL BECOME THE CLASSICS OF THE FUTURE.
Joy Preble is the Children’s Specialist at Brazos Bookstore. She also teaches creative writing at Writespace Houston and is the author of numerous books for young adults, including Finding Paris and It Wasn’t Always Like This.
Looking for a great read aloud picture book? Then try the very charming My Pet Wants a Pet (Henry Holt & Company) by New York Times bestselling author Elise Broach, about the humorous chaos that occurs when a little boy gets a dog and then decides that the dog also needs a pet.
Moxie (Roaring Brook Press), by Houston’s own Jennifer Mathieu, is a joyful and uplifting novel in which sixteen-year-old Vivian anonymously protests the sexism in her small Texas town high school and ends up starting a feminist revolution.
On the hunt for a new middle- grade or chapter book destined to become a new classic? Check out Houston author Crystal Allen’s Magnificent Mya Tibbs series (Balzer and Bray). Books one and two are in paperback now, and the third installment arrives in October.
Wordy Birdy, by award-winning author Tammi Sauer (Doubleday Books for Young Readers), will also tickle your funny bones while emphasizing the need to pay attention. It’s the adorable story of a bird who loves to talk but not to listen and the crazy shenanigans that result.
Prefer a little gentle magic? Houston’s own Anna Meriano’s debut novel, Love Sugar Magic (Walden Pond Press), will fill the bill. Leonora hopes that this year will be the year her parents let her help out at the family bakery. When she discovers that her mother, aunt and four older sisters are actually brujas and that the extra ingredient in all the baked good is a little magic, everything gets a bit hectic. A sweet, warm-hearted and magical read!
In the Young Adult category, a must-read that’s getting lots of well-deserved buzz and accolades is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer and Bray). Long-listed for the National Book Award, this ripped-fromthe- headlines debut novel is the story of Starr Carter, whose tenuous balance between her poor neighborhood and her elite private school is upended when she’s witness to a police shooting of an old friend. Powerful and raw.