Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bootcamp Wisdom SKILL #5

CHILDREN'S FICTION CATEGORIES

I know this information is everywhere on the web, but the more we see it, the more it sinks in and we actually understand it. This info is also available at the CBI clubhouse. But, here is the condensed version from the conference in Charlotte.

Magazine fiction: 100-1200 words. Ages 2-22.
These are short stories with very few pictures. Never go a single word over the guidelines!

Board books: 0-200 words. Ages 0-2.
Most are written by illustrators or written in-house. Often have pop-ups, sounds, and teach concepts. Very difficult to break into. SOME board books are actually picture books disguised in the board book format (which Laura Backes believes to be a horrid abomination).

Early picture books: 0-500 words. Ages 2-5.
"Text and illustration on each page. Very simple stories based on familiar situations. Lots of action, humor, comforting words and routines (bedtime, etc.)"

Classic picture books: 200-2000 words. (Average is 1000). Ages 4-8.
Many genres: fantasy, historical, realistic, talking animals, humorous, even nonfiction. Meant to be read aloud, so vocabulary is not controlled. Big words are okay (the adult can carry the meaning along with the rest of the context of the story and also the pictures). Text often lyrical and rhythmic, with very little description. "The illustrations add another level of meaning to the story; the text and pictures work together to tell the whole story." Also happens to be MY FAVORITE genre of all!!!

Story picture books: 800-3000 words. (Average is about 1500). Ages 5-10.
Relatively new genre. Illustrations still important, but usually does not add another level to story. Meant for older readers to read to self.

Easy readers: 100-2000 words. Ages 5-8, roughly.
For emergent readers. Color pictures throughout but have a more grown-up feel to the books. Most publishers have 3 different levels. More timeless than any other book group. Lots of short, grammatical sentences with action and dialogue. The book we were assigned to read was Amelia Bedelia. And I had actually never read it before!

Chapter books: 6,000-15,000 words. (Average is 10,000). Ages 7-10.
Books are 64-96 pages. Also known as transitional books. Short chapters with 4-5 pages for each. Usually 1-3 black-and-white ill. per chapter.

Middle grade books (aka MG novels): 20,000-35,000 words. Ages 8-12.
Books are 84-150 pages, usu. 125. Usually no illustrations, but sometimes a few b&w throughout book. Characters very much into friends and family.

Upper middle grade: 25,000-40,000 words. Ages 10-14.
Books are 100-150 pages. Fairly new category. Written like a YA, but with younger characters.

Young Adult books (aka YA novels): 40,000-60,000 words. Ages 12+.
Books are 150 pages or more. Characters are usually 13-17 years old. Most popular theme is coming-of-age. The most necessary element is the character's desire to grow up and leave home, for whatever reason. It is often an emotional growth, not necessarily with the character actually leaving home.

There you have it, folks.

Next post: a more detailed look at my own study of picture books and how they fit into the CATEGORY spectrum.

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