Articles for parents

The BBC launches 100 ‘novels that shaped our world’!

Nov 2019
BBC's 'Novels that shaped our world"

To mark the 300th anniversary of Daniel Defoe’s, Robinson Crusoe, widely recognised as the originator of the English-language novel and somewhat of a literary milestone, the BBC have listed 100 ‘novels that have shaped our world’ ahead of a forthcoming BBC Two show of the same name. There will also be a year-long festival in partnership with libraries and reading groups around the UK, special events at libraries around the country include workshops, walking tours, film screenings and live performances.

The novels were selected by six leading British writers, curators and critics, including Radio 4 Front Row presenter and Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, authors Juno Dawson, Kit de Waal and Alexander McCall Smith, and Bradford Festival Literary Director Syima Aslam.

With 300 years’ worth of novels, and only 100 to choose, their selection of world-changing books ranged from children’s classics to some of the most popular page turners in history, as well an acknowledgement to some contemporary works. Their top picks were divided into ten wide-ranging categories including family and friendship, adventure, coming of age and identity. Explore the full list here.

For Kumon book-lovers, some of the novels that the BBC have listed as shaping and influencing our thinking can also be found in Kumon’s Recommended Reading List! These include;

1)         To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
2)         The Twilight Saga – Stephenie Meyer
3)         The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S Lewis
4)         Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
5)         Lord of the Flies – William Golding

These books are certainly some of our top picks too! Harper Lee’s 1960 classic To Kill a Mockingbird sold over 30 million copies worldwide and is credited as one of the most influential books written by a woman. There’s no doubt that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein introduced the world to a new type of literary genre; the world’s first science-fiction novel! These books have stamped their mark on society and it’s important that we continue keep them alive.  

That’s why at Kumon, we want students to be able to appreciate and enjoy reading. The Kumon English Programme aims to foster a love of reading by exposing students to a wide range of genres. The programme helps students to build skills, from reading and word recognition to advanced level comprehension, while improving their vocabulary and helping them develop a broader perspective.

Read more about the Kumon English Programme here.

The BBC will be celebrating 300 years’ worth of novels for a whole year! Look out for the digital reading resources that will be made available on the BBC Arts website from January 2020 and a new BBC Two series, 'Novels That Shaped Our World', premiering this month!