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Children's Literature Genres: Children's Literature

An overview of children's literature genres and resources for locating them in the library's juvenile collection.

Welcome to the IRC: Juvenile Collection

Children's Literature Genre LibGuide

What is children's literature? Children's Literature is often defined as material written or produced for the information or entertainment of children or young adults.It includes all literary, artistic genres and physical formats. - Children's Literature, Library of Congress.

What is children's and young adult literature? A basic definition might state that it is books written for this particular audience; we might also add that it includes books that children and young adults enjoy and have made their own." -- Cullinan & Galda's Children's Literature and the Child (p.8).


Looking @ Genres in Children's Literature

Children's literature, also known as the library's juvenile collection, is located on the second floor of Ashland University Library. You will find fiction and non-fiction, picture books and novels, big books and book kits, award winning books, and even a few oversized books. This guide is a starting place for a variety of genres in children's literature, feel free to explore featured books and remember, everything in the juvenile collection is available for circulation.

This chart, adapted from Cullinan and Galda's Literature and the Child, provides brief descriptions of several children and young adult literature genre's (Cullinan & Galda, p. 8).  When searching for children's books in the AU Library Catalog, records may include a number of these categories as subject "genre/form." 


Category Genres in children's and young adult literature
Picture Books Interdependence of art and text. Story of Concept presented through combination of text and illustration. Classification based on format, not genre. All genres appear in picture books.
Poetry & Verse Condensed language, imagery.  Distilled, rhythmic expression of imaginative thoughts and perceptions.
Folklore Literary heritage of humankind. Traditional stories, myths, legends, nursery rhymes, and songs from the past. Oral tradition; no known author.
Fantasy Imaginative worlds, make-believe. Stories set in places that do not exist, about people and creatures that could not exist, or events that could not happen.
Science Fiction Based on extending physical laws and scientific principles to their logical outcomes. Stories about what might occur in the future.
Realistic Fiction "What if" stories, illusion of reality. Events could happen in real world, characters seem real; contemporary setting.
Historical Fiction Set in the past, could have happened. Story reconstructs events of past age, things that could have or did occur.
Biography Plot and theme based on person's life. An account of a person's life, or part of a life history; letters, memoirs, diaries, journals, autobiographies.


Facts about the real world. Informational books that explain a subject or concept.

Cullinan, B.E. and Galda, L. (2002). Cullinan and Galda’s literature and the child (p. 8). Belmont, CA:   Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.


DS profileDiane L. Schrecker, MLIS
Curriculum Librarian
Head of the IRC

Instructional Resource Center
Ashland University Library
509 College Avenue
Ashland, OH 44805
IRC: 419.289.5406


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