A Kid-Friendly Guide to Different Reading Genres

Explore 10 unique genres of books with your child, along with recommended reads for each category.

By Jodie Rodriguez
Aug 09, 2019




Aug 09, 2019

Helping kids discover reading genres that interest them makes the search for new books much easier. For instance, if kids understand that the Harry Potter series falls into the fantasy genre, then they can ask a librarian to recommend other fantasy books. It also helps them identify and convey what kind of readers they are. When someone asks what type of books they like, they might respond with, “I enjoy reading historical fiction,” or “I prefer poetry.”

Exposure to different genres opens your child's eyes to the enormous range of books that are available. Here are 10 popular reading genres, defined, to share with your young reader — along with book suggestions for each.

Looking to further build your home library? Here are books teachers recommend you have on hand, and expert-approved picks for beginner readers. Shop all book genres at The Scholastic Store

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Realistic Fiction 

Defined: A genre of stories that are made up but could very well happen in real life. These stories often take place in settings familiar to your child — like schools — which makes them more relatable. (Here are books about elementary school that kids love!)

Popular Realistic Fiction

Historical Fiction

Defined: A genre of stories that didn’t really happen, but are based on events in history. They're perfect for kids who love to explore the past, and are often full of big adventures. (One of the most famous examples of historical fiction for kids is the I Survived series.) 

Books Inspired By Real Life

Traditional Literature

Defined: A genre in which stories are passed down from one generation to the next, such as tall tales and folk tales. You probably heard a number of these as a child. (Here are more stories parents loved as kids.) 

Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and More

Science Fiction 

Defined: A genre of stories that are not very likely to happen in real life, but are generally set in the future and tie in with science and technology. (These STEAM Books can also ignote your little learner's love of science.) 

Science Fiction Books


Defined: A genre of stories that are made up and include ideas that could not happen in real life, often involving magical or supernatural elements, such as talking animals.

Fantasy Novels


Defined: A genre of stories that involve a secret or crime that needs to be solved, usually by the end of the story. Because kids need to pay close attention to details and follow cause and effect, mystery books can be a great way to boost comprehension and other literacy skills. Don't miss these 7 great mystery series that will appeal to Nancy Drew fans!

Kid-Friendly Mysteries


Defined: A type of nonfiction that provides factual information about a particular topic such as sports, animals, or historical events.

Fact-Based Books


Defined: An account of someone’s life written by another person. These books are great not only for reading, but for inspiring! 

Fascinating Biographies


Defined: An account of someone’s life written by that person.

Great Autobiographies


Defined: A genre where verses, that may or may not rhyme, are written to evoke a feeling from a reader.

Browse Poetry Books

Connect with Jodie at Growing Book by Book.

Featured Photo Credit: © vadimguzhva/Thinkstock

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