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
1954 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$6.40 (1 in stock)
26 Fairmont Avenue
by Tomie De Paola
from Puffin Books
for 2nd-5th grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$5.59 $3.20 (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 $2.80 (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 $3.20 (1 in stock)
Album of Horses
by Marguerite Henry
from Rand McNally
for 3rd-8th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$9.60 (1 in stock)
All Alone
by Claire Huchet Bishop
from Scholastic Inc.
for 2nd-4th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$1.60 (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
1st edition from Dutton Children's Books
for 4th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$6.80 (1 in stock)
Angelino and the Barefoot Saint
by Valenti Angelo
First Edition from Viking Press
for 4th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$4.80 (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)
$2.80 (1 in stock)
Anne of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery
from Dilithium Press, Ltd.
for 5th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$9.60 (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 $19.20 (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)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Avenging the Owl
by Melissa Hart
from Sky Pony Press
for 4th-7th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$4.80 (1 in stock)
Baby
by Patricia MacLachlan
from Yearling
Realistic Fiction for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Baron's Apprenticeship
by George MacDonald
from Bethany House
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Bayou Suzette
Wartime Edition from J.B. Lippincott Co.
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$16.00 (1 in stock)
Bears on Hemlock Mountain
by Alice Dalgliesh
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Realistic Fiction for Kindergarten-2nd grade
1953 Newbery Honor Book
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.09 $2.80 (1 in stock)
Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo
from Candlewick Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$2.40 (1 in stock)
Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo
Reprint from Candlewick Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$2.80 (2 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 $2.40 (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 $2.80 (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 $3.20 (2 in stock)
Betsy and the Boys
by Carolyn Haywood
from Harcourt, Brace & World
for 2nd-5th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$9.60 (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)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Betsy's Play School
by Carolyn Haywood
from William Morrow & Company
for 2nd-5th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$12.00 (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 $7.20 (1 in stock)
Big Wave
by Pearl S. Buck
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $2.40 (1 in stock)
Black Stallion and the Girl
by Walter Farley
from Random House
for 4th-7th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$2.40 (1 in stock)
Blue Ridge Billy
from Dell Publishing
for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$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)
$6.40 (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)
$6.40 (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)
$3.20 (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)
$12.71 $7.20 (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)
$3.60 (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 $3.60 (1 in stock)
Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson
First Ed from HarperCollins
Fantasy for 5th-9th grade
1978 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$6.40 (1 in stock)
Bud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis
from Laurel-Leaf Books
Realistic Fiction for 4th-6th grade
2000 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$2.80 (1 in stock)
By the Shores of Silver Lake
Little House Series #5
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction/Pioneers for 3rd-6th grade
1940 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$7.64 $4.00 (1 in stock)
By the Shores of Silver Lake - Audio Book (CD)
Little House Series #5
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction/Pioneers for 3rd-6th grade
1940 Newbery Honor Book
in Audio Books & Dramas (Location: CD-AUDIO)
$12.80 (1 in stock)
Cabin Faced West
by Jean Fritz
from Puffin Books
Historical fiction for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$5.94 $2.80 (1 in stock)
Cabin Faced West
by Jean Fritz
from Puffin Books
Historical fiction for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$2.40 (1 in stock)
Caleb's Story
by Patricia Maclachlan
1st edition from HarperCollins
for 3rd-5th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$6.40 (2 in stock)
Calico Bush
by Rachel Field
from Dell Publishing
Realistic Fiction for 5th-8th grade
1932 Newbery Honor Book
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$1.60 (2 in stock)
Captains Courageous
by Children's Classics, Rudyard Kipling
from Dover Publications
for 4th-6th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$1.20 (1 in stock)
Captive Treasure
by Milly Howard
from Bob Jones University Press
Realistic Fiction for 2nd-5th grade
in BJU Journey Books & Booklinks (Location: REA-BJU)
$8.50 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Catherine, Called Birdy
by Karen Cushman
Reprint from Houghton Mifflin
Realistic Fiction for 4th-9th grade
1995 Newbery Honor Book
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$6.79 $3.60 (4 in stock)
Chalk Box Kid
by Clyde Robert Bulla
from Random House
for 1st-3rd grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$3.39 $2.00 (3 in stock)
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