Genres: definitions for children’s literature

Reading is a beautifully varied experience, with different books for different kinds of readers. Like music or movies, a child may enjoy one kind of book but not the other, so it helps to lớn underst& the different between genres when choosing books for your young reader.

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First, let"s be clear on the difference between categories and genres. Book types that refer to lớn general reading levels or age groups lượt thích chapter books, early readers, & young adult novels are categories. Nonfiction và fiction are categories that contain genres and subgenres. Genres focus more on the actual subject matter of the book, so mystery, sci-fi, và horror are examples of genre. 

When you go to lớn the bookstore or library or search online for a certain type of book, you"re probably searching for a genre. Understanding genres helps you find books you"ll enjoy reading, but it"s also good to help you understand what you"re reading and what to expect from a book. Here are some of the various genres in children"s literature. Keep in mind that certain genres are more comtháng or popular in some age groups than others, so it"s also helpful lớn understand the reading level of a book.




Fiction is a general literary categories that holds many genres và subgenres within it. Simply put, fictional stories are not real. They might seem real or even be based on real events or in a real time period, but they didn"t actually happen. Reading fiction is fun because it can offer an escape from the real world inkhổng lồ worlds imagined by creative sầu authors. Here are seven genres that are comtháng within children"s literature.

Contemporary Fiction

Contemporary fiction covers a wide range of topics, but the genre name is self-explanatory. Contemporary fiction stories are stories set in our world at approximately the same time that the book was written. These books don"t have sầu any time travel, talking animals, or anything out of the ordinary, but they are still made-up. Contemporary fiction can be funny & silly, meant lớn make readers laugh, or they can be more serious and delve sầu inkhổng lồ important topics. New Kid and Ms. Bixby"s Last Day are two contemporary fiction stories for kids worth checking out. 


Mystery is one of the most popular literary genres in both adult và children"s literature. Readers love the thrill of the unknown, solving the case, catching the bad guy, và uncovering the truth. Well-known children"s mystery novels & series include Case Closed, The World"s Greathử nghiệm Detective, The Greystone Secrets, and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. 

Historical Fiction

When you see the message "based on true events" at the beginning of a movie, that"s a good sign that the story falls in the historical fiction genre. Maybe the author has written a story about an imaginary character who grew up during World War II—real time period, but not a real person, & so the story itself isn"t real. Popular historical fiction books for kids include The Last Musketeer series, One Crazy Summer, và the Flashbaông xã Four series. 

Fairy Tale/Fable/Folktale

It can be tough lớn tell the difference between fairy tales or fables và fantasy books. The most obvious difference is the history of the story. Typically, fairy tales và fables have been passed down through generations, while fantasy stories are newer. There"s a longstanding legacy lớn fairy tales & fables that most fantasies don"t have sầu. (Think hundreds of years for a story like Cinderella versus several decades for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.)

Fairy tales are stories like Hansel và Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, and the Three Billy Goats Gruff, while fables are different because they are usually short & feature a clear moral lesson. Think of stories like the race between the tortoise & the hare or the hard-working ants and the lazy grasshopper.

Folktales are similar to lớn fairy tales & fables because they were passed down for generations, but they were usually passed down through word of mouth. Alvin Schwartz"s Scary Stories lớn Tell in the Dark is a written collection of spooky American folktales for children. Though they"re in a book now, originally many were told from child to lớn child on playgrounds & at sleepovers.


In fantasy books, you"ll find stories about universes that look very different from ours — places where magic is common and the typical laws of nature don"t apply. Think of stories like the Seven Wonders series, Lalani of the Distant Sea, or The School for Good và Evil series, which are full of wizards and mystical creatures. Fantasy stories are totally outside of the realm of possibility, whereas sci-fi tends to lớn hold on lớn some of our laws of nature. High fantasy novels take place in a totally different world, but low fantasy novels keep things on Earth with fantastical elements. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is an example of the former, while Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston is an example of the latter.

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Science Fiction

Sci-fi or science fiction stories usually include elements of advanced technologies can take place in the future or even in space. Hard science fiction refers khổng lồ the types of stories that use more realistic & plausible math và science in the creation of the story, like Omega City. Soft sci-fi is more interested in the possibilities of the setting và doesn"t try khổng lồ stiông chồng lớn any laws of science or math like Last Day on Mars.


Finally, books that are meant lớn get your blood pumping and make you wonder what"s going bump in the night typically fall inlớn the horror genre. Even little readers can enjoy some light horror with fun, silly books about Halloween & friendly monsters. Older readers will enjoy the creepy stories from series like Goosebumps or the aforementioned Scary Stories to lớn Tell in the Dark



The opposite of fiction, nonfiction books are those that are true. Nonfiction genres range from the instructional khổng lồ the historical. You can learn lớn cook, learn about the past, or learn about cool, weird animals from nonfiction books. Here are three common genres of nonfiction in children"s literature.


Both biographies và autobiographies tell the true story of a person"s life, but autobiographies were written by that same person. If you come across a person in history class or in the news that you find interesting, kiểm tra & see if they have sầu a biography written about them. Some famous children"s biographies include I Got This (the autobiographical story of Olympic gold medal winner Laurie Hernandez) and Ready to lớn Fly: How Sylvia Townskết thúc Became the Bookthiết bị di động Ballerina.


If you"re interested in learning something new about the past or the world around you, check out a nonfiction book in the history, biology, or science genre. Want lớn learn about dinosaurs, the history of LGTBQ+ people around the world, or energy and the human body? There are tons of enlightening books on these topics & much more.


Self-help books are geared toward helping kids deal with the various challenges they might face in life. Kids can learn about handling their self-esteem, dealing with a new school, or even times of grief.

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In the over, stories và books can vày so much in the lives of readers young and old. They can take you to a new world, imagine limitless possibilities, help you giảm giá khuyến mãi with hard things, & teach you something new. No matter what you"re interested in, there"s a genre out there for you full of books that you won"t want to lớn put down.

Chuyên mục: literature