Easy Classics: an interview with Sweet Cherry’s editors
Sweet Cherry Easy Classics adapts classic literature into illustrated stories for children, introducing these timeless tales to a new generation. All titles in the series are levelled for classroom use, including Accelerated Reader™, Lexile® and Guided Reading Levels.
What message does classic literature give to new generations?
Kellie (Senior Editor): In an age that prizes consumption over comprehension, I think classic literature gives people permission to slow down. You don’t binge read the Brontes or marathon Mary Shelley – not unless you want to cheat yourself of really experiencing the language and themes. It’s a slow walk through a heritage property rather than a mad dash through town. Along the way you encounter characters and scenes that are good, bad and in-between – and often somehow familiar. It’s a reminder that while some things change, others stay the same. Whether you find that reassuring or galvanising is up to you.
How do you think the classics influence children’s reading choices and literacy levels?
Tori (Senior Editor): Classic books work like time machines. They allow the reader to experience an era they’re too young to have lived through. For children especially, these stories provide access to a myriad of plots, themes, characters and language they’re unlikely to come across in modern fiction. This can encourage them to broaden their literary horizons and read outside of their normal interests. It can also help develop and expand their vocabulary, which, in turn, increases their confidence and their ability to tackle higher-level texts.
How did the classics influence your passion for reading?
Ashley (Development Editor): I enjoyed mythology and reading worlds very different to my own as a child. There was a romanticism about the Knights of the Round Table, honour, magic, and shiny armour that made me fall in love with Arthurian legend. This in turn led me to discover other fantastic mythology from around the world.
What can readers expect from the Sweet Cherry Easy Classics series?
Cecilia (Managing Editor): The Sweet Cherry Easy Classics range is constantly growing, and we will continue to make great classics accessible to readers of all ages. We’ve got some wonderful illustrators working with us, and we’re widening our scope so readers can expect to see more beautifully illustrated big names from English literature, but also some well-known titles from around the world!
What advice do you have for parents or teachers who might not have read any classics themselves?
Jasmine (Development Editor): Discovering the classics alongside children is a great way to support them on their classic literature journey. If you haven’t read the books yourself, familiarise yourself with the main storylines and characters by reading synopses – or by reading our Easy Classics books before your child does! While your child experiences these stories for the first time, discuss with them what is happening. And afterwards, why not watch a fun TV adaptation of the book together?