Hey, welcome back! Am I saying that to myself? It’s only been a little over a year and here I am with a brand new genre video! Now *that* is some kind of work ethic! I couldn’t wait to have a new video to share with my students to get them excited about the thrilling world of genre study. For hesitant readers, sometimes the battle is as much knowing what you might like as it is fluency and comprehension. When the desire to explore a certain type of literary world is lit, reading skills and independent reading levels won’t hold a student back. They want in!
That’s why I love talking about genre with students. It’s like window shopping. Take students on a journey of what’s out there for them to enjoy, and turn them loose to choose their own diverse, authentic texts.
And when students choose what they want to read, they never stray far from fantasy. It’s the great grandaddy genre of all fiction. When pre-literate societies sat around explaining the world, spreading information, and entertaining others around the proverbial ol’ cave fire, they invented fantasy. Gods, goddesses, goblins, and ghosts. The first few graphic novels popped up on those cave walls, too. Lotsa superhero stuff. Things haven’t changed much.
When you think about what children love (and therefore, what we all love) about books and stories, the most popular and lasting works are usually some kind of fantasy. The Wizard of Oz. Harry Potter. Star Wars. Charlotte’s Web. The Hobbit. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. They provide myth and escape, sure. But at the core of all the imagination and magic is real human (or human-like!) joy, suffering, trial and triumph. The names have been changed, but the problems are real.
The video lightly touches on the difference between fantasy meaning *every* story with something imaginary, and modern/contemporary fantasy, which is usually understood to be other worlds with elements of magic. There’s lots of hairs to be split. I threw in high and low fantasy, too, which can be endlessly argued. While it’s good to be a bit familiar with those distinctions, it’s best left to Internet forum nerd battles. Young readers just need to know that fantasy is magical — for many reasons — and it’s fun and okay to love!