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Dinah Books In Order

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Publication Order of Dinah Books

Dynamite Dinah (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dinah for President (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dinah in Love (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dinah Forever (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon

The name ‘Dinah’ refers to a series of books written by Claudia Mills. The books are written with children in mind and deal with matters of morality in the school environment.

+The Story

Do not feel too bad if you have never heard of Claudia Hills. The author is pretty prolific but in a way that wouldn’t garner her worldwide acclaim. Claudia primarily writes children’s books, specifically stories aimed towards preteens. So if you have never heard of her despite her qualifications and the recognition she has attracted over the years, don’t fret. It just means that you are not between ten and fourteen years of age, which is the target demographic.

Claudia Mills’ Dinah series tells the story of Dina Seabrooke. When she is first introduced in the series, Dinah has just entered the sixth grade and she is struggling with all the anxiety that such a change can bring.

She realizes that she is just a small fish in a very big sea. However, Dinah has no intention of settling for her mediocre station in the social structure of her middle school. Rather, she determines to step out of her shell and to become the big fish she was destined to be, making waves even in the massive confines of her school.

As the Dinah series progresses, Dinah encounters challenges to her goals life. Becoming the center of attention isn’t nearly as simple a task as she presumed, not with so many of her peers also looking to stand out.

Dinah comes to realize that there is a big difference between fame and infamy and that she has to walk the fine line of standing out from the crowd without attracting the wrong kind of attention.

And that pretty much drives Dinah’s development as a character and the story of the Dinah series as a whole. Dinah wants to be liked and loved and, to an extent, adored. She desires to monopolize all the attention within her immediate circle. As such, Claudia Mills squeezes a lot of drama out of those events that draw the intrigue and attention away from Dinah.

She is none too happy when her parents begin fussing over her baby brother when he comes home from the hospital, and she is especially prickled when her best friend’s star begins to shine after she gets a leading role in a play at school.

But Dinah is, by no means, a terrible human being. Remember, she is just a sixth-grader and one of Claudia Mills’ strengths is her ability to write characters that act their age. That level of authenticity is pretty difficult to achieve.

And it might explain why the Dinah series is considered to be one of the best works of literature for children on the market today. The novels speak to the issues and complications of life as a child.

Dinah doesn’t have to pay rent or struggle with unemployment or deal with failed marriages. But that doesn’t make her problems any less valid. She must struggle to find her place in her school community. And her issues with boys have been known to give her sleepless nights.

The attraction of the Dinah series is the manner in which Dinah Seabrooke deals with her simple but challenging problems. There’s always a lesson to be learned in Claudia’s books. She presents moral and philosophical matters that Dinah must learn to maneuver using her childlike approach to things.

+The Author

Claudia Mills started writing when she was six. After her mother, who was an elementary school teacher, gave her a black notebook, Claudia began to experiment with poetry. This, in turn, fed into Claudia’s desire for reading, a habit she pursued alongside her younger sister.

When the pair wasn’t reading, they were playing fantasy games and letting their imaginations run wild with tales of magical kingdoms populated by talking animals of all shapes and sizes. Armed with a zeal for storytelling, it wasn’t always obvious that writing fiction would be in Claudia’s future.

Rather, her love for literature seemed firmly rooted in poetry, a passion she pursued throughout elementary school and high school.

The author was lucky enough to land a job as a secretary at Four Winds Press in New York City shortly after graduation. But this point, she was already writing professionally, mostly using the two hours it took her to commute to work by bus each day to jot down her ideas.

As an author, Claudia was a little unlucky because working for Four Winds Press gave her plenty of opportunities to write rejection letters to aspiring authors. Environments of that sort tend to stifle confidence.

However, for all the rejection letters she wrote, Claudia also saw her boss, the editor, make aspiring authors’ dreams come true, especially when they delivered a truly exceptional story. Claudia eventually began using her position at Four Winds Press to collect information about the publishing arena and to revise the stories she was writing to make sure they met the standards of the manuscripts she saw her boss give the green light to.

By criticizing herself beforehand and making all the changes she knew an editor would ask of her, Claudia found that breaking into the publishing arena wasn’t nearly as difficult as it would have been if she hadn’t worked for Four Winds Press.

Claudia Mills has since found work as a professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado (Boulder). Claudia writes a lot about philosophy and ethics. That might seem odd for an author of children’s books, but Claudia actually injects her thoughts on philosophy and ethics into her stories, most of which are pretty short.

Books like the Dinah series are based on Claudia’s memories of her childhood in New Jersey. Her two sons are also a source of inspiration, regaling her with stories of their lives in elementary and middle school.

+Dynamite Dinah

Dinah loves attention. However, her desire to monopolize the adoration of everyone in her immediate vicinity is challenged when her parents begin fussing over her baby brother when he comes home from the hospital.

Even worse, her closest friend has been cast in a leading role in the class play.

+Dina for president

Middle School is a new landscape that, despite its large size, Dinah Seabrooke is determined to conquer. As she strives to find her place, Dinah makes new friends and learns to recycle.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Dinah

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