Literary Genres

Classifying by genre is a way of organizing literary, musical or artistic works by similar forms, styles, or subject matter (content). Literature can be broadly classified as fiction or nonfiction
  • Fiction features stories with made-up characters, events or settings.
  • Nonfiction features factual information.

Adventure A story where characters are placed in dangerous situations and must use their wits and skills to survive. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Autobiography An account written by someone about his or her own life The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Biography An account of a real person’s life, written by someone else. Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought   Different by Karen Blumenthal
Fantasy A story that has imaginative or impossible elements, such as talking animals or magical powers Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Historical Fiction A story that takes place in a historically accurate time and setting. The characters and some events may be fictional. I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis
Horror A story in which events evoke a feeling of dread and sometimes fear in both the characters and the reader.  May contain eerie or paranormal elements. Took by Mary Downing Hahn
Humor A story about a series of funny or comical events to amuse the reader. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Informational Texts that provide facts about a variety of topics.  DK Eyewitness series
Mystery A story that includes suspense and the unraveling of secrets or clues that ends with the solving of the puzzle or crime.   39 Clues series (various authors)
Mythology Stories often describing adventures of superhuman beings to describe the origins of people, customs or beliefs. Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick   Riordan
Narrative nonfiction Factual information about an event presented in a format which tells a story Saved by the Boats: The Heroic Sea   Evacuation of September 11 EX:  by   Julie Gassman
Poetry Verse written to create a response of thought or feeling from the reader. It may include rhyme, rhythm or repetition. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel   Silverstein
Realistic Fiction A story that seems real or could happen in real life, and  includes modern problems and events. Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Romance Stories that are emotionally driven and focus on the relationship between the main characters. Flipped by Wendelin van Draanen 
Science Fiction A story that blends futuristic technology with scientific fact and fiction. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine   L'Engle
Traditional Literature Folktales, fairy tales, fables, legends and tall tales. The People Could Fly (folk tales) Cinderella (fairy tale) The Boy Who Cried Wolf (fable) Johnny Appleseed (legend) Paul Bunyan and Babe (tall tale)