About this Genre: Fantasy / Science Fiction takes stories beyond the realm of known earthly possibilities and scientific laws. It typically incorporates worlds and universes outside of our own, other species (elves, dragons, wizards, dwarfs, etc.), and humans with abnormal capabilities. Science Fiction differs from fantasy in that its stories are based upon advancement of known scientific principles, research or theory.
Importance: This genre provides children with a door to a broad imaginative possibilities, helps them compare / contrast what they know is true versus what the story discusses (which can help solidify true knowledge), and gives them an easy non-personal way to deal with societal issues such as love, honesty, courage, bravery, and sometimes death (Bridge to Terabithia).
Criteria to use when evaluating books from this genre:
- Story meets criteria for excellence in narrative fiction
- Fantasy world is detailed and believable in the context of the story
- Story events are imaginative, yet logically consistent in the story’s world
- Characters are multi-dimensional, with consistent and logical behavior
- Vivid images and solid, understandable structures
- Themes are meaningful, causing the reader to think about life
Major awards associated with this genre:
Newbery Medal, Arthur C. Clarke, Golden Duck, Hugo, Mythopoeic, and SFWA Nebula Awards
Scenes and Setting: Read sections of favorite classroom books that contain references to the physical world of the book. Have children think up on and create (using some form of art media) the scene as it would appear (draw a map, make a model, paint the picture, etc.)
Why this Genre is Important:
This genre is very important due to the escape it provides for both children and adults. Reading about hobbit battles, ventures into mitochondria cells, talking dolphins, dragon riders, and 11 year old heros lets kids put themselves into dangerous, fanciful situations they otherwise would never encounter and encourages them to think upon the characters behavior, mistakes, choices, and morals in a way that reading about a normal human would not.