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The best books for children from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s

Ages 3 and under | Ages 3 to 7 | Ages 7 to 10 | Ages 10 and up | More expert picks


The Bad Beginning 
By Lemony Snicket (HarperCollins, 1999)
The first title in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" masterfully combines black humor with a fiendishly funny vocabulary lesson.

26 Fairmount Avenue 
By Tomie dePaola (Putnam, 1999)
In this sweet memoir of life in the late 1930s, young Tomie quibbles with the differences between the movie Snow White and the "true story," learns the crucial distinction between chocolate and laxatives, and experiences other rites of passage.

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip 
By George Saunders, illustrations by Lane Smith (Villard, 2000; McSweeney's, 2006)
The sly fable's heroine, aptly named Capable, instantly wins over readers with her stoic, can-do attitude when facing the bristly orange menaces of the title.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret 
By Brian Selznick
(Scholastic, 2007) Move over, Oliver Twist—there's a new light-fingered orphan on the scene. Film stills, photos and original artwork take up more than half of the book's 525 pages and advance the story in cinematic style.

Robot Dreams 
By Sara Varon (First Second, 2007)
The dialogue-free graphic novel tells an affecting, universal story of loss and friendship via a dog and his mechanical man.


Incredulous because we overlooked your faves? Don't get mad; set us straight! Email kids@timeoutny.com with your new classic picks. 

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