Realistic Fiction

Realistic fiction is kind of a newcomer to the long list of literary genres. Primarily aimed at children and adolescents (the corresponding genre in adult literature is usually just called "literary fiction"), realistic fiction is recognizable by its relatable characters and situations. What sets it apart from historical fiction is that the stories do not center around an actual historical event or person, though they may be set in a very real time period.

Characters deal with the things everyone else deals with—death, friendship, loneliness, embarrassment, first love—and they don't get transported to a make-believe island as a solution to their problems. They have to work it out, which is one of the main appeals of this genre; kids like to read about other kids (real or imaginary) going through the typical young person's trials and how they deal with it.

Not that all realistic fiction is sad and gloomy. It's just what it sounds like—stories about real-life from a fresh perspective. Also, we aren't suggesting there are no realistic elements to a fantasy like The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: there are, which is precisely what makes reading that book so rewarding. It's just that real kids don't fight literal dragons, they fight bullies, or their own insecurities, or ferocious acne.

A lot of the best and most-loved stories fall squarely within the limits of realistic fiction. Huckleberry Finn wasn't a real pirate, but he really rafted the Mississippi; Anne Shirley wasn't a Medieval princess, but she really became Matthew and Marilla's daugher; Anna and Caleb Witting aren't big on imagination, but they are big on really accepting Sarah into their family (at least, eventually).

The full range of human experience is explored in these stories, its darkness, its light, its sorrow, its joy. This is the purpose of literature, after all: to show us true life, and in showing us, to better prepare us for it. These books are some of the best at doing just that.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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...and now Miguel
by Joseph Krumgold
from Thomas Crowell
for 5th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
26 Fairmont Avenue
by Tomie De Paola
from Puffin Books
for 2nd-5th grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$3.20 (1 in stock)
26 Fairmount Avenue
by Tomie De Paola
from Scholastic Inc.
for 2nd-4th grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$1.60 (1 in stock)
About Average
by Andrew Clements
Reprint from Atheneum
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Adèle & Simon in America
by Barbara McClintock
1st edition from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
from Dover Publications
Realistic Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$5.10 $3.50 (2 in stock)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
from Grosset & Dunlap
Realistic Fiction for 6th-10th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Illustrated Junior Library Series 2
by Mark Twain
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 4th-8th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$8.00 (2 in stock)
After the Dancing Days
by Margaret I. Rostkowski
from HarperTrophy
for 7th-9th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$5.09 $4.00 (1 in stock)
All Alone
by Claire Huchet Bishop
from Scholastic Inc.
for 2nd-4th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Along Came a Dog
by Meindert DeJong & Maurice Sendak
from HarperCollins
Realistic Animal Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1959 Newbery Honor Book
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Amish Christmas
by Richard Ammon
1st edition from Scholastic Inc.
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Christmas & Advent (Location: HOLIDAY)
$2.40 (1 in stock)
Amos Fortune, Free Man
by Elizabeth Yates
from Puffin Books
Realistic Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1951 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$6.79 $4.50 (2 in stock)
Amos Fortune, Free Man
by Elizabeth Yates
1st edition from Dutton Children's Books
for 4th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$8.50 (1 in stock)
Anna and the King (adapted)
by Margaret Landon
from HarperCollins
Historical Fiction for 4th-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Anna of Byzantium
by Tracy Barrett
from Random House
Historical Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$5.94 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Annotated Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett, edited by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
Annotated from W. W. Norton and Co.
Realistic Fiction for 4th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$29.75 $24.00 (1 in stock)
Apple and the Arrow
by Conrad & Mary Buff
from Sandpiper Books
Realistic Fiction/Historical Fiction for 4th-6th grade
1952 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$7.61 $6.00 (1 in stock)
Applewhites at Wit's End
by Stephanie S. Tolan
1st Edition. from HarperCollins
for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
B Is for Betsy
by Carolyn Haywood
from Harcourt
First School Experiences for 2nd-5th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Baby
by Patricia MacLachlan
from Yearling
Realistic Fiction for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Baby
by Patricia MacLachlan
from Yearling
Realistic Fiction for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$2.50 (1 in stock)
Ballet Shoes
by Noel Streatfeild
from Yearling
Realistic Fiction for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $4.50 (1 in stock)
Banner in the Sky
by James Ramsey Ullman
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1955 Newbery Honor Book
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$7.64 $4.50 (2 in stock)
Baron's Apprenticeship
by George MacDonald
from Bethany House
for 8th-Adult
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo
from Candlewick Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$3.00 (2 in stock)
Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo
Reprint from Candlewick Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$3.50 (2 in stock)
Beduins' Gazelle
by Frances Temple
from HarperCollins
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Beezus and Ramona
Ramona Collection Book 1
by Beverly Cleary
Reissue from HarperTrophy
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$6.79 $3.00 (1 in stock)
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
by Maud Hart Lovelace
from HarperCollins
for 3rd-5th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $3.50 (2 in stock)
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
Betsy-Tacy #3
by Maud Hart Lovelace
from HarperCollins
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Betsy and the Boys
by Carolyn Haywood
from Harcourt, Brace & World
for 2nd-5th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Betsy's Busy Summer
by Carolyn Haywood
11th printing, 1968 from William Morrow & Company
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
Betsy's Play School
by Carolyn Haywood
from William Morrow & Company
for 2nd-5th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
Big Balloon Race
An I Can Read Book Level 3
by Eleanor Coerr
from HarperCollins
Historical Fiction for 1st-3rd grade
in I Can Read Books (Location: REA-ICR)
$4.24 $3.00 (1 in stock)
Big John's Secret
Bethlehem Books Living History Library
by Eleanore Jewett
from Bethlehem Books
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$11.01 $9.00 (1 in stock)
Big Wave
by Pearl S. Buck
from Scholastic Inc.
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Black Beauty
from Breslich & Foss
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Black Stallion and the Girl
by Walter Farley
from Random House
for 4th-7th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Blue Ridge Billy
from Dell Publishing
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Blue Willow
Puffin Newbery Library
by Doris Gates
from Puffin Books
for 4th-7th grade
1941 Newbery Honor Book
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$6.79 $4.50 (1 in stock)
Blueberries for Sal
by Robert McCloskey
from Puffin Books
Realistic Stories for Kindergarten-3rd grade
1949 Caldecott Honor Book
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$6.79 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Bobbsey Twins at School
by Laura Lee Hope
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 1st-4th grade
in Bobbsey Twins (Location: SER-BOBB)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Bobbsey Twins in the Country
by Laura Lee Hope
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 1st-4th grade
in Bobbsey Twins (Location: SER-BOBB)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat
by Laura Lee Hope
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 1st-4th grade
in Bobbsey Twins (Location: SER-BOBB)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Boy and the Samurai
by Erik Christian Haugaard
from HMH Books for Young Readers
for 5th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Boy Who Didn't Believe in Spring (Library Rebind)
by Lucille Clifton & Brinton Turkle
1st Unicorn Edition from E.P. Dutton & Co.
for Kindergarten-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Brethren
by H. Rider Haggard
from Christian Liberty Press
Historical Fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$11.48 $9.00 (1 in stock)
Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson
from HarperCollins
Fantasy for 5th-9th grade
1978 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson
from HarperCollins
Fantasy for 5th-9th grade
1978 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $4.50 (1 in stock)
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