Genre tips

#AtoZChallenge: Genres–Bildungsroman

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 articles on a themed topic. It’s supposed to be every day except Sundays during the month of April but I did this last year, found it way to busy for the likes of me, and decided to post mine ‘about’ once a month. Yes, it’ll take me a couple of years. Sigh.

My topic, like the last two times I did the conventional approach, will be writing genres.

This genre:




a German term meaning ‘novel of formation’ or a coming-of-age story.  

Tipsa to z

  1. Focus on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood.
  2. Character change is extremely important.
  3. A sensitive person goes in search of answers to life’s questions.
  4. An emotional loss makes the protagonist leave on his/her journey.
  5. The goal of the story is maturity.
  6. Often, there is conflict between the main character and society.
  7. Often, the values of society are accepted by the protagonist and s/he is ultimately accepted into society

Popular Books

Some of these will surprise you.

  1. Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang Goethe
  2. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
  3. The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto “Che” Guevara
  4. Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth 
  5. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  7. The World According to Garp by John Irving
  8. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe 
  9. The Discovery of Slowness by Sten Nadolny
  10. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Click for complete list of these 26 genres

Click for a complete list of all genres I’ve written about

More B Genres:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Fall 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning


63 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: Genres–Bildungsroman

  1. Being German I’m of course familiar with the term and this genre. 😊 And from your list I’ve read the ones written by Lee and Irving, whereas I have to add that I loved the first.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list, Jacqui. This is a genre I’ve long enjoyed reading. I’ve read most of the titles you’ve listed here and would include: The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay; White Oleander by Janet Fitch; Tom Sawyer, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain; Little Women by Louisa May Alcott; The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini; The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty White; Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger; The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens; Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank; The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan; The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd; Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson; Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See; The Bee Season by Myla Goldberg; and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I recommend every one of these books as outstanding.

    This genre has made a huge impact on me as a person and as a writer. I’m surprised you didn’t do this one years ago, but then I didn’t think of it either.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think I have read a few books besides To Kill a Mockingbird, which focus on the psychological growth of the protagonist but may not be having all the points you have listed. Such books are intense and absorbing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting that you should say that, Jacqui. I have realised that the US has completely different well know children’s books to Britain. The type of books written by the British and the Americans is generally quite different too. Americans write a lot of romance thrillers, cosy mysteries, murder mysteries and horror (you of course, are outside of this but I am saying generally speaking). The British write about drama, history (often European or English) and people’s lives. Interesting, isn’t it?

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Another useful post, Jacqui. I like your 7 points, and you’ve reminded me that I keep meaning to have a look at The House on Mango Street. Hope you’re having a lovely Easter weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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