Books that feature magical realism may be classified as either realistic or fantasy fiction. They are not quite, however, either. Though threads of magic run through these tales, the world is real and the issues addressed are real.
Realismo mágico was popularized by Latin American authors during the eras immediately following the Cuban Revolution. Through the genre, there were able to express socio-political commentary that highlighted the differences in perspectives between those in power and those who were marginalized. Today, authors continue to use this style of writing to introduce readers to important issues of the day.
While fantasy takes readers into places and situations that are imaginative and magical, magical realism is different in that it features:
Can YA novels be classified as magical realism?
While there are a number of titles published previously that can be re-classified as magical realism, a growing number of authors of color are using the genre to raise awareness of issues of social justice.
Older YA Novels
Reclassified as Magical Realism
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
The series focuses on more than good vs. evil. Commentary on social issues such as racism and education thread their way throughout. The world of magic is not other, but simply exists alongside the real world.
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This book uses the "marvelously real" world of circus performance to highlight the impact of hyper competativeness and rivalry in our world.
Heretics Daughter by Kathleen Kent
True historical events surrounding the Salem Witch Trials are draw attention to a daughter's difficult relationship to her mother. A touch of magic allows for resolution, though not a happy ending.
The Book Thief by by Markus Zusak
Amid the tragedy of the Holocaust and the complicit role of everyday Germans in it's execution, Death is personified and is haunted by a young girl.
Magical Realism in New YA
Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin
Answers| Catalog | Guides | Resources | Teachers