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Book Genres

It’s important to choose a book that your child is interested in. Books come in a lot of different varieties or genres. A genre is a category characterized by similarities in form, style or subject matter. This article will discuss some different types of book genres that you and your child may enjoy exploring. Some different types of book genres include:

rows of books set up on tables to allow children to choose

Biography or autobiography – A biography is a nonfiction (true) account of someone’s life. It is written by someone other than the subject of the biography. An autobiography is a nonfiction (true) account of someone’s life. It is written by the subject of the autobiography.

Drama/play – Drama is divided into different character parts that can be read by different people or in different voices.

Fantasy – In fantasy, events occur that are outside of the normal ways the universe operates. Magic is very important and often involves journeys or quests. Fantasy is different than science fiction because science fiction is usually set in the future and also involves technology (see science fiction genre below).

Fiction – Fiction is the form of any work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not real. They are invented by the author.

Graphic novel – The term graphic novel is generally used to describe any book in a comic format that resembles a novel in length and narrative development.

Historical fiction – A novel that is written at a different time than what is in the story. It tries to use the spirit and social conditions of a past age with realistic detail to historical fact.

Mystery – A mystery is a puzzle in which the reader receives clues and solves step-by-step throughout the book. There is usually a conclusion that solves the mystery.

Nonfiction – Nonfiction is true. Its primary function is to describe, inform, explain, persuade and/or instruct. Although nonfiction is true, it can still be entertaining.

Science fiction – This genre often involves science and technology of the future. Science fiction is frequently set in space or a different universe or world. It often uses some real theories of science.

Poetry – A poem is a collection of words that express an emotion or idea, sometimes with a specific rhythm.

If your child is new to learning about different genres, this is a great time to help them explore books from each one. Consider helping your child find two books and authors from each genre. You can print this out and let your child list them.

  1. Biography or autobiography
  2. Fiction
  3. Drama/play
  4. Graphic novel
  5. Historical fiction
  6. Mystery
  7. Nonfiction
  8. Poetry

Encourage your child to read books from different genres. This will enhance his/her reading levels and encourage them to try new things. They’ll find a genre that probably suits them more than another. That’s normal and to be expected. One book doesn’t suit everyone, and all children have different tastes. The most important thing is that your child is reading!

Lesley Woodrum, WVU Extension Agent, Summers County