Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Quick Guide to Children's Literature

I'm posting my very first Story Hour review this morning, and I thought it might be helpful to have a handy guide to children's literature subcategories.  There are many ways to categorize children’s literature, but for clarity’s sake, on this blog I’ll break down the categories by age/reading level as follows:

Board Books - This describes those hard to destroy books that are published with babies and toddlers in mind.  These typically smaller books contain thick durable pages that can be chewed on without resulting in total destruction.  They are usually short on words, heavy on pictures, and a great introduction to reading.

Picture Books - This refers to books that combine pictures with text to tell the story, and are typically written for children ages 3 to 8.  These books tell a longer story,  requiring a slightly longer attention span.  They are also printed on traditional paper, and as such are best for kids who have exhausted their efforts in eating books.  Some publishers designate a subcategory, the picture storybook, that is longer and more reliant on the text to tell the story, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll refer to both as picture books.

Early Readers - This refers to books for kids who are just starting to read by themselves.  The books have just a few sentences on each page and utilize basic grammar and vocabulary.  They still contain pictures on most pages to keep the young readers engaged. 

Chapter Books - This describes books written for children who are reading on their own.  The books are divided into chapters and contain more detailed plots than early readers.  It is common to find early chapter books written as series. 

Middle Grade Novels - These novels are typically published for kids between the ages of 8 and 12.  They are longer than chapter books, and contained more detailed plots and complex characters. 

Young Adult Novels - This describes novels written with a teen audience in mind.  They typically  explore topics that are relevant to teenagers, and the main characters are teens themselves.  There is a good deal of debate about what makes a novel a young adult novel, and if this distinction should even exist, as many are read and enjoyed by a large adult audience. 

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