Kerry Winfrey
October 05, 2014 6:59 am

When it comes to YA heroines of my youth, Anastasia Krupnik was pretty much number one. Sure, Kristy Thomas had mad entrepreneurial skills and started the best babysitting business Stoneybrook had ever seen. Janie Johnson dealt with the shock of seeing her face on a milk carton. Karana survives on an island all by herself (well, there are those blue dolphins). But there’s only one girl who loves the wart on her finger, has a crush on a guy named Washburn Cummings, and gets advice from a bust of Sigmund Freud. That girl, of course, is Anastasia Krupnik.

Anastasia Krupnik is having a moment lately because, as The Cut reported, the book series by Lois Lowry will be re-released in January. I was, of course, stoked to hear the news. I love Anastasia so much that I actually wrote about her in my very first Young Adult Education column almost three years ago! Clearly, time flies when you’re writing about YA. But if you’re wondering why, exactly, Anastasia Krupnik is so cool, never fear. I’m here for you.

1. She gets advice from an unlikely source.

Everyone needs a friend to turn to when they want advice. Maybe you talk to your best friend, your parents, or a teacher. Anastasia buys a bust of Sigmund Freud. I mean, why not? If you’re going to get advice, why not get it from the inanimate head of one of the world’s most popular psychoanalysts? You could probably do worse.

2. She’s creative.

When Anastasia’s parents say she can name her new baby brother, she wants to pick a name she heard on the playground: One Ball Reilly. Listen, say what you want about the name One Ball Reilly, but it’s unique. You are never going to meet another One Ball Reilly. She ends up changing her mind and picking the much more traditional name Sam, but a part of me still thinks One Ball Reilly Krupnik would’ve been a pretty sweet name.

3. She loves and accepts herself, (literal) warts and all.

When Anastasia gets a wart, she doesn’t freak out or try to get it removed. She cherishes it. In fact, the wart actually makes the list of things she loves. We should all strive to be so body positive. Viva la wart!

4. She has the coolest parents.

First off, her dad’s name is Myron, so he’s already the coolest. But he’s also a poet/professor, while her mom is an artist. No wonder Anastasia is so cool. I have very distinct memories of Anastasia reading one of her dad’s old poetry books and noticing that it’s dedicated to a woman that he dated before he married her mother. That feeling of realizing your parents have lives that don’t involve you at all is something we’ve all experienced, but most of us don’t have poets for dads.

5. She takes her career seriously.

When Anastasia is supposed to do a school assignment on “My Chosen Career,” she doesn’t just phone it in. Instead, she interviews a bookstore owner AND spends her own money to take a modeling course. Because you just never know if being a model is the career for you. I mean, who knows what would have happened if I took a modeling course when I was 13? The answer is “not much,” because I liked to wear oversized sweatshirts and put my hair in butterfly clips, but it’s still nice to put yourself out there. Anastasia gets it.

6. She’s controversial.

The Anastasia books are actually on the ALA banned books list. Apparently, some parents complained that Anastasia Again refers to things like beer and porn. Tellingly enough, I have absolutely no recollection of reading anything “inappropriate” in the Anastasia books. That’s right; I read these scandalous books and lived to tell the tale! Let’s hope other children are so lucky.

7. She accidentally puts dog poop in a mailbox.

I actually forgot about Anastasia, Absolutely, but the Goodreads page brought it all back. As one reviewer summed it up, “The one where she puts poop in the mailbox and the bomb squad comes.” I mean . . . yeah, that about covers it.

Basically, Anastasia Krupnik was the coolest girl ever, and if you don’t agree, maybe you should go back and reread every book in the series. What about you guys? Are you Anastasia superfans too? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education. Leave a comment, email me at youngadulteducation@gmail.com, or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.

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