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Children’s literature, fantasy, science fiction and the fantastic genre

What is children's literature?

It’s not easy to define children's literature! Coincidentally, it was also the research subject of the master’s degree of the creator of Rêves de jeunesse. Let’s try to sum it up in a few words!

More than a real literary genre, children’s literature is a marketing category. It’s a literature defined by its audience, so as to facilitate the work of the people in charge of selling the books.

Children’s literature is also a very vast category: all the books that can be sold to ‘children’.

Yes, but the difference is huge between a 3 years old child and a 16 years old teenager! Nevertheless, all books marketed toward one or the other are called children’s literature. It can mean books for toddlers, books to learn how to read, picture books, novels for children, novels for teenagers, even Young adult novels!

Here at Rêves de jeunesse, we believe books should not be put into cages (for the record, we also believe the same for human beings). We don’t need those restrictive categories! If you write for an audience that can be loosely described as ‘the youth’, young adult included, and if you broach topics and themes important to that audience, then chances are strong that you are indeed writing children’s literature. Welcome! This place is for you.

What about fantasy, science-fiction and the fantastic genre?

Excellent question! Those categories are more thematic and closer to the true meaning of literary genre.

Science-fiction is, well, fiction about science. More specifically, it takes place in a futuristic or technologically more advanced (or at least very different) world. It often takes us to space, but not always. It shows imaginary sciences and techniques, very different from ours, hence the name.

Fantasy is also about imaginary worlds but here the difference with our world does not necessarily come from scientific or technical progress. It’s the rules of the universe itself that are fundamentally different. We often find magic in those worlds, but as with space in science-fiction it’s absolutely not mandatory. 

Finally, the fantastic genre happens when supernatural elements exist but are not considered normal for the character living them. Contrary to SF or fantasy, the character lives in a world where what happens to him is not the norm, and shares his disorientation with the reader. Usually it takes place in our world, but supernatural elements are added.

Of course, all of those categories are very close and share some traits. They are also perfectly permeable: it is possible to belong to more than just one of those genres.

At Rêves de jeunesse we welcome all of those genres even if the text targets an adult audience!Grown-ups can dream too.

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