Magical Realism/ Historical Fiction: The New IT GENRE
As mentioned in an earlier post and well-worded by loyal reader Leonard magical realism/historical fiction seems to be this years new IT sub genre!
As fun as it would be to debate the meaning of magical realism I will leave you with this BookRiot article and definition: a story that uses magical elements to make points about reality. In the wise words of my better blogging half Steven.
“Sometimes genre placement can lead us to rate a book based on how it fits into what we’ve read before; or how it breaks away from conventional forms. Those are worth considering as we evaluate, but in the end we have to focus on the specific choices the author makes and how they contribute to the book’s individual elements of distinction.”
Genre info being said, let’s take a look at three titles “THE LEGEND OF AUNTIE PO,” “ALMOST THERE AND ALMOST NOT” and “THE YEAR I FLEW AWAY,” that can loosely be called “historical fiction/ magical realism” and see if they are Newbery worthy!
THE LEGEND OF AUNTIE PO by Shing Yin Khor. I binged this one over the weekend and it may be my most recent frontrunner. Folklore, historical fiction, magical realism- this title has it all. Of course it’s a graphic novel so I must do the obligatory line of HOW MUCH ARE WE JUDGING THE PICTURES VS/ THE TEXT? But really, I think the themes in this book of identity and destiny ring so strong that this book must be considered.
This featured title ALMOST THERE AND ALMOST NOT by Linda Urban is dedicated to Leonard (so I’m waiting to hear your thoughts). Characterization stands out most to be here, watching great-great-great-great aunt Eleanor come to terms with who she is and her past, California figure out who she is and what she needs and Aunt Monica find herself after her husband passed away.
THE YEAR I FLEW AWAY was very reminiscent of HURRICANE CHILD to me. I think Marie Arnold did an excellent job tackling racism and fitting in with a magical element. These difficult themes can seem impossible to balance and Arnold succeeded.
What do you think of these three titles or any other historical fiction/ magical realism (PEACEMAKER AND OPHIE’S GHOSTS) could possibly fit the bill.
About Emily Mroczek-Bayci
Emily Mroczek (Bayci) is a freelance children’s librarian in the Chicago suburbs. She served on the 2019 Newbery committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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