Accessible Classic Literature for Middle-School

Accessible classic literature for middle-school readers? Soon, Poe Illustrated will fill that bill. We have this Edgar Allan Poe collection of stories in pre-production right now. We plan to publish in April 2021. It will include three illustrated Poe stories – our previously published Thou Art the Man and Hop-Frog, plus a new Adapted Classics title – The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether.

We know that many middle school students enjoy reading classic literature just as originally written and presented. But we also know that many middle school students would never choose to read this type of fiction for pleasure. Furthermore, they would reject it as classroom assignments if only they could. So, we believe this latter group of readers need encouragement. Classic literature rewards in many ways. We want to do whatever we can to help reluctant middle school students discover that.

What makes Literature Accessible?

What makes for accessible classic literature? First and foremost, who doesn’t like looking at illustrations executed with surpassing skill and imagination? That’s exactly what Marc Johnson-Pencook brings to our adapted classic stories. You’ll see a series of three of them attached to this post. Poe Illustrated will include 49 illustrations like these.

Secondly, short is accessible. As an introduction to classic literature, short stories are the best approach for our primary audience. Long classic novels usually seem too much for young readers to want to read. Likewise, at first, they often seem too much for adults.

Finally, classic literature usually requires some language modification to make it accessible for middle school readers. We deeply respect the authors who created the stories we adapt. Consequently, we only lightly touch-up their prose, mostly to simplify it. But also to modernize it. We are proud that VOYA Magazine rated our Adapted Classics collection as Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers.

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