Friday, January 17, 2014

Keepin' it real!

I enjoy receiving and giving realistic fiction, for both children and adults, with strong characters, beautiful language, and humane visions.
If I ask a typical middle schooler to show me a book categorized as realistic fiction, they'd probably show me one about some sort of girl drama or sports...because that's how they roll.  If they asked me to show them an example of realistic fiction, I'd run, or drive, to my nearest public library and find Dorothea Benton Frank, Elin Hilderbrand, or Nora Roberts...because that's how I roll.

Wait a minute....GASP...OMG, we're on the same page.  They just want to read something they can connect to, identify with, recognize, empathize, and feel similar feelings as the characters in their books.  Just. Like. Us.

Realistic fiction is a huge umbrella that spans romance to mystery, humor to sports, and even includes a little ghostliness in there sometimes.  It can be overwhelming to anyone when they hear..."find a realistic fiction book to read".  Wait, what?  For current middle schoolers, is Hurricane Katrina considered historical fiction or realistic fiction?  What about 9/11 fiction?  These are issues I've seen lately when teachers ask students to search for this genre.  Who decides?  Teachers?  Students?  Librarians?  Does it matter?  Well it certainly shouldn't but it does put some things into perspective when we strive so hard to categorize a book by genre.  As librarians and teachers, we should do more of the discussion about a book and less of the categorization (IMHO).  Am I channeling Donalyn Miller here or what?

So let's keep it real in January.  The weather is cold (this week in SC it's 30, next week it's going to be 70...but I digress) so it's a great time to find some good realistic fiction and sit down with some hot coffee, hot chocolate, soup, well you get the hint, and READ.  As I mentioned in our #bookbootcamp wiki, some of the books on this month's reading list overlap with other genres.  Just like us, our books are certainly unique but they can't be placed into a specific niche all of the time.  

With those random thoughts about realistic fiction, go be one of your students...explore, read, think.  We'll chat about all of this and more on Monday, January 25th at 8:00 pm EST on Twitter using hashtag #bookbootcamp.  If this is your first chat, welcome!  If you're a regular, welcome back!  Talk to you soon and have fun keepin' it real with your reading.

Wordle: Realistic Fiction

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