Realistic Fiction Books for Kids & Teens: A Beginner’s Guide
by Eliza Brooks
While there are many genres of fiction books (fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, et al.) for young children that are popular, realistic fiction books for kids and teens are just as fun to read and may help young readers experience the world in new ways.
For purposes of discussion, I will refer to the many genres & subgenres of fiction—particularly those that do not fall under the helm of “realistic fiction”—simply as “fiction” throughout this article. Fiction books, as the term suggests, are solely built around fictional characters and imagined stories. On the other hand, realistic fiction pertains to imagined characters in real-life settings. That means these characters could be anyone in the world. You, a mother, an employee, a child, a servant, or just about anyone you could meet on a day to day basis.
As mentioned, the settings in realistic fiction could be relatable to anyone. It could be in a school, mall, village, mountains, and whatnot. That means no setting is built around unrealistic ones like the sun or outer space. Of course, there are those among us who do stand the chance of going to outer space (though none would likely visit the surface of the sun). Realistic fiction deals with scenarios and settings a reader might face in everyday life, and trips to space aren’t in the cards for most of us.
Additionally, the stories for realistic fiction will revolve around life events that anyone can relate to. It could be about marriage, work, friendship, family troubles, love, high school, mental health, bullying, and just about any real-life event that any person can possibly experience.
As for the time realistic fiction stories happen, they typically unfold in the most recent time or recent past.
To understand what differentiates realistic fiction from “traditional” fiction books, start reading these five realistic fiction books for kids and teens.
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This romance realistic fiction book could make you cry, laugh, hurt, and everything in between. It’s a story about a young girl who is diagnosed with cancer. After joining a support group, she meets this boy who is also in the same conundrum as her. They both fall in love and they embark on an adventure of their lives, dealing with challenges along the way.
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak was a finalist for Young People’s Literature in 1999. The story is about a girl who was castigated in her high school years because she called the cops on a very important party. Because of her isolation, she didn’t have friends and didn’t talk as well. After being lonely for a long time, she decided to join an art class. And that’s when she faced the fears, hurt and anger suppressed about what happened during that party. And this time, she decided, she’s not keeping quiet anymore.
- Isaac and His Amazing Asperger Superpowers by Melanie Walsh
This book will teach kids to be kind to anybody even if they’re a little special. This is a book which is about a kid who is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a type of autism that inhibits social engagement. Isaac, the primary character of the book, has super brain powers and some kids in school don’t really understand him save for his brother. This is an excellent book that will introduce young ones into the life of a kid who is different than others.
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
This is another realistic fiction picture book about Ada Twist, an overly curious little girl who wants to soak in whatever pops into her mind. She scrutinizes the littlest of things – even why there are thorns on a pretty rose! Because of this perennial pursuit of knowledge, Ada embarks on a mission and soon gets into a tight situation that may spell bad news for her.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Illustrated by Ellen Forney, this book follows the author’s life experience as being the only flower sprouting in a vast land of grass. Junior, an Indian native, comes to America and enrolls in an all-white high school. The school mascot and he were the only Indians in the school. Follow Junior’s funny and heartbreaking journey through high school in a foreign land.
These are just a few of the realistic fiction books to start with. There is no shortage of bestselling fiction books online, so it’s best to read one after another. Depending on your or your kids’ preference, getting children engaged in realistic fiction can help mold them into better people as they learn to relate to others and experience various real-life situations.
Eliza Brooks is a passionate blogger who loves to write about travel, books, personal development, lifestyle, productivity, and more. She is currently working with https://www.creedgriffon.com/, which offers incredible teen fiction books series for boys and girls.