Tuck Everlasting: Genre & Awards

Instructor: Lindsey Coley
Natalie Babbitt's novel 'Tuck Everlasting' has maintained its beloved and well awarded status over the years since it was published in 1975. It's done this by fitting into several different genres and reaching a wide demographic of readers.

And the Award Goes To…

In its first year of publication, Natalie Babbitt's novel Tuck Everlasting made its own everlasting impression in the literary community and found itself on the receiving end of several awards and accommodations. It was noted on several 1975 'best of the year' book lists, including those from the American Library Association, the Congress of the International Board on Books for Young People, the International Reading Association, and the Fanfare Editor's list for Horn Book Magazine.

Throughout the years since that first publication run, Tuck Everlasting continues to receive heralded attention. In 1976 it received the Christopher Award as the best book for young people. In 1995 it was given the Phoenix Honor Book Award from the Children's Literature Association. In 2000 it was ranked on the School Library Journal's list of 100 books that shaped the century, and in 2007 it was ranked in the top 100 books for children by the National Education Association. Over the years it has also received the IBBY, Polish National Section Award, and the Janusz Korczack Medal, among others.

A Book of Many Genres

So what makes 'Tuck Everlasting' such a well lauded story? The novel focuses on one small-town girl who meets an immortal family. With this story, Babbitt reaches out to several different demographics by delving into different genres. A genre refers to a specific theme or categorization in a piece of art, such as books, music, or film. In the case of Tuck Everlasting, the book falls into the genres of romance, fantasy, classic, and children's literature. Let's take a look at how it falls into each one.

She Lost Her Heart at Once

Romance as a genre can break or build a heart in so many different and puzzling complexities. In Tuck Everlasting, we see a young girl falling in love with a family and with a young man who she cannot truly be with (unless, of course, she drinks the water of immortality). The young girl, Winnie Foster, must make a vital choice between a mortal life with her biological family and an immortal life with her new loves. Babbitt writes a story that keeps the reader enthralled and emotionally tied to the romance of it all.

These are Strange and Breathless Days

Unfortunately, as far as the modern scientific world is aware, there is no actual water of immortality. This element of Tuck Everlasting is definitely fantastical, and puts the book solidly in the fantasy genre. Fantasy, as a genre, pulls in supernatural elements that call to the imagination. By putting this element of fantasy in Tuck Everlasting, Babbitt reaches out into the imagination of every reader and keeps them invested in the story.

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