Thursday, October 13, 2016

Micro Genres

image from Unsplash

Agrarian Fantasy, Amnesia and Memory Loss Fiction, and Hockey Romance are three of the “Trending Micro Genres” Audible recently identified in an email blast to members. The idea of a Micro Genre got me thinking differently about the books that have been popular in my 5th grade classroom in the first month of school.

As a part of #classroombookaday (the amazing ritual of reading aloud a picture book every day), I have stumbled into these Micro Genres:


Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada


It’s All About Me-Ow by Hudson Talbot
The Disgusting Critters series by Elise Gravel


City Dog Country Frog by Mo Willems
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

When I look at the books students have chosen for independent reading, these Micro Genres have appeared:

MYTHOLOGY GRAPHIC NOVELS (really a format and not a genre, but let's go with it)

George O’Connor Olympians series

REALISTIC FICTION/MEMOIR GRAPHIC NOVELS (another format, but students are starting to learn that every genre can be found in this most favorite of all formats!)

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
El Deafo by CeCe Bell

SURPRISING TRUE STORIES (biography and autobiography, but also historical fiction, because of that kernel of truth)

Growing Up Pedro by Matt Tavares
Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka
Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper
The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson

When I was in middle school, my favorite Micro Genre was BOOKS THAT MAKE ME CRY. I read Love Story, Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grow, and Little Britches over and over and over again. Stretched out on my bed on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I could re-read one of those books between lunch and dinner, and I relish the tears rolling down my cheeks and into my ears as I read the saddest parts.

I’m realizing that when I have conversations with my students about genre, it will be important to help them stretch their definitions from the traditional but limited ways of looking at genre and format, help them to come up with narrower and more specific ways to think about categorizing stories, and help them identify the Micro Genres that will compel them to read and re-read.

What is (or was) YOUR favorite micro genre?


  1. Hmm. I just always loved funny, realistic fiction, but I think video games and HAMSTERS are up and coming micro genres!

    Have you nominated for the Cybils award? Only two days left!

  2. When I was a kid, one of my favorite micro genres was BOOKS ABOUT DOGS. So some of your BOOKS THAT MAKE ME CRY were in my favorites.

  3. I love this idea. It really takes the whole genre conversation to a deeper level and makes it seem more meaningful. Love this.

  4. My student just created a micro-genre that she calls lucid fiction. It's when the author makes you feel like you are in the book. Here's my SOL post about it.

  5. Some microgenres I need right now for my fifth graders:
    - short novels
    - short novels for girls that are pretty mature, but not very good readers-
    - realistic fiction with Hispanic main characters.
    - more realistic fiction graphic novels like DRAMA, GHOSTS, etc.
    - short sports novels for guys that are not great readers (I need Kwame Alexander to write some more quickly! I love Mike Lupica but most of his are too long)

  6. I love the idea of narrowing down the genre, I think students will be able to understand this even more than the broad ideas.


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