6 Classic Literature Books Gen Z Should Read
Books and reading are one of the best ways to acquire new information, expand your mind, get to know different people in new ways, and be introduced to new ideas. The stories we read can transport us to different worlds and really make a person think. In a developing mind, reading is so important for any child or teenager. Not only is reading required in school and higher education for good reason, but being able to read something and understand what you have just read is an underrated skill. We don’t read enough books these days and there is always room to read. Children have time for their screens, they have time to read.
Classic books are considered classics because of their broad appeal, long-standing themes, and significant impact on society. Generation Z is the first of its kind and the first to be born into a world where the internet, instant connection and the ability to always search for everything you ever wanted to know were possible. It’s an incredible change from our childhood and introducing kids to some classics will give them insight into worlds that seem prehistoric. Here are six classic books that Gen Zers should read in their spare time.
6 Kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee
Kill a mockingbird is told from a child’s perspective on a very adult situation. Set in the small town of Maycomb, a prominent Alabama attorney, Atticus Finch, takes on a case defending a black man. The crime is an assault on a white woman. It’s the Great Depression and again the era of Jim Crow laws. This book addresses themes that still ring true today. It’s a lesson in race, prejudice, preconceptions, family and innocence. Young readers will be outraged at the treatment of Atticus’ client and his children because of this. They will also be touched by what Scout learns during her formative years. This is a reader’s choice of penguin and features in many school curricula.
5 Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
This is a Canadian novel loved around the world. While many think Anne of Green Gables is just for young girls, it really is a story for everyone. An 11-year-old orphan is adopted by his unmarried siblings Mathew and Marilla Cuthbert in Prince Edward Island, Canada. They want to adopt a boy mainly to help on their farm, but they are sent a girl by mistake. This girl has red hair, never stops talking, has an active imagination, and thinks she’s found her forever home. When she finds out the Cuthberts wanted a boy, she is devastated. Well, they’re keeping her, and Anne’s life as an orphan has made her an optimistic dreamer who’s causing a stir on the island. This classic book gives Generation Z insight into school life, friendships, and love at first sight in the 1870s.
4 The Heart Catcher by JD Salinger
It’s one of the classic books that used to get burned, so Gen Z should love how edgy it is. The Heart Catcher is a very funny book that has the reputation of being a banned book because it uses swear words and a character that is not a good example. So, parents, use your best judgment, but high school age is appropriate for this classic book. The protagonist (or antagonist depending on how you see it) is teenager Holden Caulfield who drops out of his posh boarding school and spends a weekend in New York. And what a weekend it is.
3 farm animal by George Orwell
This is another forbidden book and the whole book is an allegory. Animal farm is literally animals living on a farm; however, they realize this and are no longer satisfied with their living conditions. The animals band together against their farmer in an effort to create a society where animals can be happy, free and equal. Generation Z will be able to see the similarities in this novel and what they have witnessed in the current political climate. The animals continue their cause until they realize something about themselves. Symbolism runs deep in this novel.
2 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
You’ve probably heard of this classic about Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Austen writes in an old-fashioned language that shows his era. First published in 1813, it is the story of the Bennet sisters and their mother’s quest to marry them off, which was pretty much the only thing they could do at the time. Her problem is that her second eldest daughter, Elizabeth, is a bit feisty and doesn’t want to settle down. The novel follows his growth and growth. the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) explain that Pride and Prejudice was a hit upon its release. It was praised for its “spirit” and Austen, who wrote it at 20 and published it at 34, was very proud.
1 East of Eden by JD Steinbeck
Generation Z should be able to appreciate this 1953 from the famous novelist John Steinbeck. It’s a generational story set in the Salinas Valley of Northern California, which serves as the setting for two brothers raised together but growing up very differently. The Trask brothers begin a rivalry and live alongside the Hamilton family for years. Both families have ups and downs and fall into the same generational patterns that never work. Steinbeck used the Bible as inspiration, taking themes from Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel.
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