Realistic Fiction in Children’s Literature
Classification, Evaluation, Conversation
“Imaginative writing that accurately reflects life as
it was lived in the past or could be lived today.
Everything in the story can conceivably happen to
real people living in our natural physical world.”
~Children’s Literature in the
Elementary School. 10th ed.
Popular Types of Realistic Fiction
School Stories Mysteries
● Does the book honestly portray the realities of life for today’s children?
● Does the book illuminate issues of growing up in today’s world?
● Does the story transcend the contemporary setting and have universal
● Are the characters convincing and credible to today’s child?
● Are controversial topics dealt with in an open way?
● If negative behavior is part of the story, does the author provide
motivations and show the aftereffects?
● Does the author avoid stereotyping?
● Does the book truly represent the experience of the culture depicted?
● Does the book help children enlarge their personal points of view?
Evaluating Realistic Fiction
Helps children to:
● understand and come to terms with themselves as they acquire “human-
● gain a fuller understanding of human problems and relationships
● see the world from another perspective
● see that they are not the first to face certain problems
● illuminate experiences that they have not had
● see different models for behavior, both good and bad, and shape their own
● What is real?
● How real should a children’s book be?
● Bias and stereotyping
● Author’s background
o Experience vs. Imagination