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
Jan 22, 2018




Jan 22, 2018

Helping kids discover reading genres that interest them makes the search for new books much easier. If your child understands that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory falls into the fantasy genre, then he can ask a librarian to recommend other fantasy books.

It also helps your child identify and convey what kind of reader he is. When someone asks what type of books he likes, he might respond with, “I enjoy reading historical fiction,” or “I prefer poetry.”

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

Realistic Fiction 

Realistic fiction is a genre of stories that are made up but could happen in real life.

Recommended Reads:

1. The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes (ages 8 and up)

2. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (ages 9 and up)

3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio (ages 10 and up)

Historical Fiction 

Historical fiction is a genre of stories that didn’t really happen, but are based on events in history. 

Recommended Reads:

1. I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis (ages 7 and up)

2. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (ages 7 and up)

3. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (ages 9 and up)

Traditional Literature

Traditional literature is a genre where stories are passed down from one generation to the next, such as tall tales and folk tales.

Recommended Reads:

1. Lon Po Po by Ed Young (ages 6 and up)

2. The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen (ages 6 and up)

3. American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne (ages 6 and up)

Science Fiction 

Science fiction is 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.

Recommended Reads:

1. Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey (ages 6 and up)

2. Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown (ages 7 and up)

3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (ages 9 and up)


Fantasy is a genre of stories that are made up and include ideas that could not happen in real life such as talking animals.

Recommended Reads:

1. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (ages 6 and up)

2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (ages 7 and up)

3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (ages 8 and up)


Mystery is a genre of stories that involve a secret or crime that needs to be solved, usually by the end of the story.

Recommended Reads:

1. Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (ages 6 and up)

2. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (ages 7 and up)

3. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (ages 9 and up)


Informational texts provide factual information about a particular topic such as sports, animals, or historical events.

Recommended Reads:

1. An Egg Is Quiet by Dianna Aston (ages 6 and up)

2. Living Sunlight by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm (ages 7 and up)

3. Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy (ages 7 and up) 


A biography is an account of someone’s life written by another person.

Recommended Reads:

1. Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport (ages 6 and up)

2. Swimming With Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang (ages 6 and up)

3. Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman (ages 10 and up)


An autobiography is an account of someone’s life written by that person.

Recommended Reads:

1. 26 Fairmount Avenue by Tomie dePaola (ages 7 and up)

2. Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges (ages 9 and up)

3. My Life with the Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall (ages 9 and up)


Poetry is a genre where verses, that may or may not rhyme, are written to evoke a feeling from a reader.

Recommended Reads:

1. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children by Jack Prelutsky (ages 6 and up)

2. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (Ages 6 and up)

3. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano (ages 6 and up)

With the help of this guide, soon your child will be able to answer the question, “What types of books do you enjoy reading?” An answer undoubtedly both you and your book fan will like.

Connect with Jodie at Growing Book by Book.

Featured Photo Credit: © vadimguzhva/Thinkstock

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