Ok, this may seem like a dumb question. Is Magic Schoolbus fiction or non-fiction? It has elements of both genres in it, and I don't know what to write on my book bin labels (I'm working on my classroom library.) Should it be classified as something else? I'm so confused...
This is a great question, not dumb at all. It always confused me until I read a good explanation in Checking out nonfiction k-8 by Rosemary Bamford and Janice Kristo. Magic School Bus books are "Informational Picture Storybooks" and should be labeled as such. Some of the characteristics of Informational Picture Storybooks are; they blend facts with fiction, the information is carried within the narrative by invented characters/situations, or they may include graphics, sidebars, and other nonfiction features. I think when we first started to think about nonfiction we thought of it as books that were about true things or facts only. With the waterfall of so many nonfiction books the library of congress and others had to start to develop catagories for them. Because a book like the MSB primary motivation is to share true facts and information about a topic, it is nonfiction.
I'm so glad you asked this question! It first popped up for me when one of my first graders asked me about Magic Tree House books (she said, "they teach us about things that happened, but you can't really got to those places from a tree house!"). Then I got to thinking about some of the other books I had that talked about recycling or energy within a story (the Let's Read and Find Out Science series). So I guess these would also go into the "Informational Picture Storybooks" genre.