Skip to main content

Author Anita Silvey on the new classics

With so many great works being published today, many are bound to be classics, says author Anita Silvey.

This video appears in:


Of course, our most popular books in the United States, and now our young adult, Stephenie Meyer had five books at the top of the all-time that seller list last year. So the teen sections have never done better in bookstores. It’s exciting to watch, you know. And for the first time, by the way, the statistics and reading have reversed themselves. We’re seeing more kids, 17, 18, 19, talking about how they enjoy reading and they do pleasure reading. And we owe a lot of that to J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer and a lot of these other writers who have really made teens realize that, you know, what’s inside a book can be pretty cool. And it can be what you talk about, you know. It can be popular culture, as well. So the only thing I would do if I were to work on “500 Great Books for Teens” again would be to add some of the new things that are so spectacular. Certainly since I I wrote “500 Great Books for Teens.” One book that has appeared, which I believe is absolutely headed for classic status, is Marco Sussex, “The Book Thief.” And that is… I have Sussex books in there. He’s, of course, a wonderful Australian writer. But I’m seeing “The Book Thief,” which really is the Holocaust story only with a rather positive ending to it. It’s not as…it’s not as a depressing of ending as most Holocaust stories really has started to move into curriculum across the country, as a book that is being taught in six, seven, eight and it has been almost continually on the bestseller list since that book first appeared. So it’s a beautifully written piece of work and it’s really moving into popular culture. And that’s the sort of thing I look at when I say, “Okay. What are the books that are going to be in print 20 years from now?” and they start to have that pattern. They start slowly and then they start to build as classroom after classroom finds a person after person find them. And this little book begins to have a very great effect throughout different levels of society.