Fortunately, Scholastic (there's a stroll down memory lane) asked the kids what made for a good story.
The majority of kids ages 6–17 (70%) say they want books that “make me laugh.” Kids also want books that “let me use my imagination” (54%), “tell a made-up story” (48%), “have characters I wish I could be like because they’re smart, strong or brave” (43%), “teach me something new” (43%) and “have a mystery or a problem to solve” (41%).And nine of ten readers name as their favorites a book they picked out themselves. Does it come as a surprise that a school board decreeing "read this, it's good for you" will be any more successful than a parent urging, "eat this, it's good for you?"
Give the kids agency. And if you really want to introduce the post-modern sensibilities, let the kids use their imagination.