Anastasia Krupnik

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Ten-year-old Anastasia Krupnik lives with her father, a poetry professor, and her mother, an artist, in Greenwich Village. Life is good, unless you count the fact that she hates Mr Belden in the Chemist’s, all boys and her teacher, Mrs Westvessel, who gave her an F for her (actually very good) poem.

Yet when Anastasia’s parents announce that she’s going to have a new baby brother, Anastasia has to make some changes, and it’s hard when you’ve been an only child for ten years. So when Anastasia’s mother says she can name the baby, she conjures up the most horrible name she can think of – One-Ball Reilly – and writes it down in a secret part of her diary.

Yet as time goes on, Anastasia learns that even the people she hates maybe aren’t that bad after all, and comes up with a much nicer name for her baby brother when he is finally born.

Lois Lowry’s brilliant series once had the subtitle “The Girl Who Thinks For Herself” and indeed Anastasia’s brilliant, witty and chaotic 10 year old stream of consciousness covers God, the Bolsheviks, the intricacies of poetry, warts and the boy she hates (but comes to like) Washburn Cummings. As well, there’s a deeply relatable heart to all of the Anastasia books, which feature sensitively handled topics such as bereavement alongside friendship, school, parents and sibling relationships.

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