CLASSICAL LITERATURE FOR PRIMARY SCHOOLS

The word ‘classic’ covers a range of well-established texts that have stood the test of time and are well written.  The National Curriculum is nudging us towards heritage literature and the big names of Shakespeare, Dickens and Austen, etc.  Yet the definition is left open to allow us to include modern classics and children’s classics.
Here is a list of classic reads for primary pupils.  The editions have been chosen because they are the best available in terms of their font size and the quality of the illustrations.

 

1. CLASSICAL POETRY ANTHOLOGIES (5 to 11)

Key resources for teachers and great for the poetry shelf

Oxford Book of Story Poems                                           C.Stuart-Clark                                          OUP

The Usborne book of Poems for Young Children                                                                              Usborne

I like this poem                                                                K. Webb                                                Puffin

Poems by heart                                                              Laura Barber                                           Penguin

 

2. LUXURY ILLUSTRATED CLASSICAL POEMS (9 to 11)

Stunning quality and startling imagery bring these classics to life

The Lady of Shallot                                                         Tennyson                                             OUP Oxford

The Highwayman                                                            Noyes/Keeping                                     OUP Oxford

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner                                      Coleridge/Dore                                      Dover

Beowulf                                                                         Crossley-Holland/Keeping                      OUP Oxford

 

3. LIGHT-HEARTED CLASSICAL POETRY (5 to 9)

Much-loved verse to bring out the smiles

The Owl and the Pussycat                                                  Lear/Beck                                      Corgi

Meet my folks                                                                   Ted Hughes                                     Faber

Revolting Rhymes                                                              Roald Dahl/Q Blake                         Puffin

Cautionary Tales                                                                Hilaire Belloc                                  Red Fox, New Edition

 

4. TRADITIONAL FAMILY FAVOURITES (9 to 11)

Loved for four generations. Books to read aloud, or give to confident readers

Wind in the Willows                                                             K Grahame                                 Vintage

Swallows and Amazons                                                       Arthur Ransome                          Vintage

Black Beauty                                                                      Anna Sewell                               Scholastic

Little Women                                                                      L Alcott                                       Puffin

 

5. CLASSICS FOR KS1 (5 to 7)

Great short reads combining simplicity and depth from literary giants, to read aloud or give to enthusiastic readers

The Iron Man                                                                    Ted Hughes                                Faber

The Selfish Giant                                                              Oscar Wilde/Foreman                 Puffin

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland                                      L Carroll                                     Walker

A Child’s Garden of Verses                                                R L Stevenson                           Wordsworth

 

6. CLASSICAL MIX FOR KS2 (7 to 11)

Children’s classics by well-known literary authors

Treasure Island                                                                R.L. Stevenson                           Vintage

The Secret Garden                                                           Burnett/Moore                            Walker 09

A Classical poetry: illustrated collection                             ed. M Rosen                              Walker

Poems to perform                                                            ed. J Donaldson                          Macmillan

 

7. MAKES YOU THINK (7 to 11)

For the enquiring reader – though- provoking books from a range of periods and at a range of levels

Bill’s New Frock                                                                Anne Fine                                    Egmont

Flour Babies                                                                     Anne Fine                                    Puffin

Aesop’s fables                                                                       -                                             Usborne

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark                                       Schwartz/Helquist                           HarperCollins

 

8. CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS FOR YOUNG INDEPENDENT READERS  (7 to 9)

Great fiction which will lead into sequels and other works by the same author

BFG                                                                               Roald Dahl                                Puffin Feb 13 Paperback

Horrid Henry                                                                   F Simon/ T Ross                        Orion Childrens

The Worst Witch                                                            Jill Murphy                                  Puffin

Flat Stanley                                                                   Jeff Brown                                   Egmont

 

9. BIG READS FOR KS2  (9 to 11)

Get lost in a big book with these modern classics for confident readers, with the promise of sequels for those who can’t put them down!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe                             C.S.Lewis                                HarperCollins Childrens

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone                         J.K. Rowling                             Bloomsbury

Redwall                                                                         Brian Jacques                          Red Fox

The Dark is Rising                                                          Susan Cooper                          Red Fox

 

10. THE WORLD WARS (9 to 11)

Books about Britain’s two world wars for confident readers

Private Peaceful                                                         Michael Morpurgo                    HarperCollins Childrens

The Snow Goose                                                       Paul Gallico/ill. Barrett              Hutchinson (Hardback)

War Boy                                                                   Michael Foreman                      Pavilion Children’s

Carrie’s War                                                              Nina Bawden                            Puffin (reissued 2014)

 

11. CHILLER CLASSICS RETOLD (7 to 11)

Keeping close to the original language, but shorter

Victorian Horror Stories                                                                                                         Usborne

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde                                    R.L. Stevenson retold by John Grant                  Usborne classics

Journey to the Centre of the Earth                   Jules Verne classic retold by P.Dolan                 Franklin Watts

Dracula                                                         Bram Stoker classic retold by Mick Gowar         Franklin Watts

 

12. GRAPHIC CLASSICS (9 to 11)

Quality illustrations with dialogue that draws directly from the original text

Great Expectations                                Jen Green (Adapter), Charles Dickens (Author)           Classical Comics

Frankenstein (Quick text  version)          Jason Cobley(Adapter), Mary Shelley (Author)             Classical Comics

Jane Eyre  (Original Text version)             Charlotte Bronte(Author), Karen Wenborn                  Classical Comics

Call of the Wild                                         Jack London                                                         Campfire

 

13. STORIES THAT HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME (7 to 11)

for a range of abilities in Key Stage 2

Oscar Wilde Stories for Children                                              Oscar Wilde/Lynch                        Hodder

The Extraordinary Cases of Sherlock Holmes                           Arthur Conan Doyle/ Stroud             Puffin

Stories from Around the World (Usborne Myths and Stories)      Amery/Edwards                             Usborne

Grimm’s Fairy Tales(Illustrated paperback)                                                                                   Wordsworth Classics

 

14. MODERN POETRY FAVOURITES (5 to 9)

Respected and popular recent collections

A Laureate’s Choice: 101 Poems for Children              Carol Ann Duffy                                    Macmillan

Quick, Let’s Get Out of Here                                      Rosen/Blake                                        Puffin

Please Mrs Butler                                                     Allan Ahlberg                                       Puffin

Off By Heart: Poems to Learn & Remember                Roger Stevens                                     A&C Black

 

15. MULTICULTURAL POETRY (7 to 11)

for all ages

Down by the River                          Afro-Caribbean Rhymes, Games & Songs                  Hallworth & Binch

Funky Chickens                             Benjamin Zephanian                                                 Puffin Poetry

Poetry Jump Up                             ed. Grace Nichols                                                    Puffin

All the Colours of the Earth             ed. Cooling & Oxley                                                 Frances Lincoln

 

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