What is a classic?
Literature at its finest? A pinnacle of its genre? A book that will continue to be read long after its published?
Chances are, that if I asked you to say the first classic that came to mind you would respond with Shakespeare or some other traditional class text, but what about the books of today? Do they not deserve a chance in our classrooms, a try at clambering after the revered title of a classic?
Contemporary books could bring so much more to the table: important issues of today, worlds and characters that are simultaneously relatable and yet strange and exciting. Modern books, that in a few years will be regarded with the same respect as any other classic.
So why not bring these books into our schools? Books that are new and daring, books that you will remember long after you've read them, books that will get people talking.
These are the modern classics that belong in every classroom.
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
'The Hate U Give' stands for THUG, a quote taken from Tupac. This book is about a black girl named Starr who's childhood friend is shot by a white police man, when Starr is the sole witness. This book discusses the heavy issue of racism and does it in an amazing way. It's funny, it's clever, it's written so you can love Starr and relate to her. An insanely good book and perfect for class.
2. Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders
Five Children and It- a much loved classic. Five Children on the Western Front- a brilliant follow up by a different author. If you've ever wondered what happened to the children after the original books finished, then this is the perfect spin-off. Kate Saunders has written a warm, funny story, not only about the Psammead and his magical adventures, but also about the First World War and the tragedy that it brought. Suitable as a primary class text. You don't need to read the original books to love and enjoy this one.
3. Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean
12+ due to some challenging vocabulary.
Being a fan of 'Lord of the Flies' (a traditional class text), 'Where the World Ends' was a pleasure to read. Set in 1727 on a remote island called St. Kilda, this eerie book is about a group of boys and men stuck on an island and their battle for survival. The most haunting thing? It's based on a true story.
4. Flawed by Cecilia Ahern
What will our future look like? How do we solve the problems of today? How far will we go to reach perfection?
Cecilia Ahern depicts a world where you are either perfect-or flawed. A great book to discuss in class and a new take on the not-so-utopian genre, this book is gripping, heart-wrenching and an interesting read for a generation that is always looking to what the future holds.
5. After the Fire by Will Hill
Set in modern day Texas, Moonbeam lives inside the Fence. She has not been outside the Fence in years. And inside the Fence she faces horrors that no-one else knows about... until after the fire.
Once again, an electrifying novel, based on a true story that tugs at your mind long after you've finished the book. Great for discussions about cults and religion.
6. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The 5th Wave explores the idea of aliens coming to Earth and how wrong all our current ideas about them probably are. It asks what makes us human and whether it really matters in the battle for survival. A remarkable book and fascinating read, I think this is a brilliant sci-fi text to have in the classroom.