Is “I Survived” a Fiction or Nonfiction Book? Exploring the Truth Behind the Popular Series

“Is I Survived a work of fiction or nonfiction?” – This is a question that has been asked by many avid readers of this thrilling book series. If you are also intrigued by this question, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will delve deeper into the origins of I Survived, the events that inspired it, and the literary techniques used by the author to create a gripping narrative.

The I Survived series, authored by Lauren Tarshis, is a collection of books that recount the experiences of child protagonists who survive life-threatening events. From natural disasters to human conflict, each story is based on a real-life historic event. But is this series a work of fiction or nonfiction? The answer is not straightforward, as the author blends elements of both genres. While the central story and characters are fictional, the historical events that serve as the backdrop of the plot are undoubtedly nonfiction. This unique blend of genres has made I Survived a popular choice for young readers seeking a thrilling and informative read.

Since its debut in 2010, the I Survived series has gained a massive following and has been praised for its engaging storytelling and educational value. The books provide a compelling way for young readers to learn about history while also enjoying a good story. Whether you are a parent looking for an exciting read for your child or a history buff searching for a new perspective on the past, the I Survived series might just be what you are looking for. So, buckle up and get ready for a thrilling adventure through history!

Difference between fiction and nonfiction books

Books are generally categorized into two types namely, fiction and nonfiction. The primary difference between these two kinds of books lies in their content. While some books focus on imaginary stories, some books depict real-life events and facts. Let’s dive deeper into the differences between fiction and nonfiction books:

  • Fiction Books
  • Fiction books are crafted with imaginary stories that transport the reader to imaginative worlds or plots. The stories are usually created in the author’s mind and do not necessarily reflect a real-life event or characters. Fiction books are usually categorized into various genres such as romance, sci-fi, mystery, and horror, to name a few.

  • Nonfiction Books
  • Nonfiction books depict real-life events, facts, or biographical information. These books are intended to provide readers with knowledge or information about a particular topic. The content of nonfiction books is well-researched and thoroughly fact-checked before publication. Examples of nonfiction books are biographies, memoirs, history books, self-help books, and educational material, among others.

In conclusion, the main difference between fiction and nonfiction books is the content they hold. Fiction books are imaginative and do not represent real-life events while nonfiction books feature real-life events, facts, or biographical information. It is essential to understand these differences when choosing a book to read and determine what you enjoy reading.

Characteristics of Nonfiction Books

Nonfiction books are important resources for people who want to learn new things. They provide readers with factual information about different aspects of life, from history to science to social issues. In contrast to fiction books, nonfiction books are based on real-life events, people, and places.

  • Accuracy: Nonfiction books are expected to provide accurate information. The authors should conduct thorough research, cite sources, and fact-check their work.
  • Objective: Nonfiction books aim to present information in an objective way, without expressing personal opinions or biases. The authors should strive to avoid sensationalism and present information in a clear, unbiased manner.
  • Structure: Nonfiction books typically follow a logical structure that guides readers through the information presented. They may include headings, subheadings, and other formatting elements that make it easier for readers to navigate and understand the information.

Nonfiction books can take many different forms, including memoirs, biographies, history books, and scientific reports. Regardless of the genre, readers should expect nonfiction books to provide accurate, objective, and structured information.

The Importance of Credibility

Credibility is one of the most important characteristics of nonfiction books. Readers should trust that the information presented is accurate and well-researched. Authors can establish credibility in a number of ways:

  • Sources: Authors should cite credible sources to support their information. These sources may include published works, academic journals, and expert interviews. If an author includes a statistic, for example, they should provide the source of that information.
  • Expertise: Authors who have expertise in a particular subject area are more likely to be trusted by readers. This may include academic credentials, professional experience, or other relevant qualifications.
  • Writing Style: The writing style of a nonfiction book can also affect its credibility. Authors should strive for clarity, using plain language and avoiding jargon. They should also avoid hyperbole or exaggeration, which can make readers doubt their credibility.

Ultimately, readers should be able to trust that nonfiction books provide accurate and unbiased information. Authors can establish this trust by demonstrating their credibility through thorough research, expert sources, and clear writing.

The Role of Storytelling in Nonfiction

While nonfiction books are typically based on factual information, storytelling can play an important role in engaging readers and bringing the information to life. Authors may use personal anecdotes, case studies, or other storytelling techniques to make the information more relatable and memorable for readers.

Examples of Storytelling Techniques Benefits for Readers
Personal Anecdotes Makes the information more relatable and humanizes complex topics
Case Studies Provides real-world examples of the information presented, making it more relevant and understandable
Narrative Structure Makes the information more engaging and easier to follow, with a clear beginning, middle, and end

Storytelling can enhance the reader’s experience by making the information more memorable and engaging. While authors should prioritize accuracy and clarity, they can also use storytelling techniques to make the information more relatable and understandable.

Characteristics of fiction books

Fiction books are literary works that depict imaginative events and characters rather than factual occurrences. An author creates a story with fictional characters, places, and events that may or may not exist in reality. The following are the characteristics that define a fiction book:

  • Imaginative: Fiction books are created by an author’s imagination and are not based on real-life experiences. It is a work of imagination that utilizes creative storytelling, world-building, and characters that do not exist in real life.
  • Plot: Fiction books have a plot that develops and shows the progression of events. It is the series of events that shape the story and the characters involved.
  • Theme: Fiction books usually have one or more themes that the author explores throughout the book. It is the overarching message or lesson that the author wants to convey in the story.
  • Characters: Fiction books have characters that are either fictional or based on real-life individuals. The characters in a fiction book can either be the protagonist (main character) or the antagonist (the character that opposes the protagonist).
  • Dialogue: Fiction books have dialogue, which is a conversation between two or more characters. It helps reveal the personality, goals, backstory, and motivations of the characters.
  • Setting: Fiction books have a setting, which is the place and time in which the story is set. It could be a specific country, city, or even a fictional world created by the author.
  • Language and style: Fiction books have a unique writing style and language that is specific to the author. It helps set the tone, pace, and mood of the story, and it also reflects the author’s personality.


In conclusion, fiction books are characterized by their imaginative storytelling, plot, themes, characters, dialogue, setting, and language. They are an excellent medium for authors to express their creativity and connect with their readers on an emotional and intellectual level.

Importance of Genre Classification

Genre classification is crucial in identifying and understanding the type of literature we are reading or writing. It helps to create a distinction between non-fiction and fiction, and further categorizes them into specific genres based on their themes, plotlines, characters, and writing styles. This makes it easier for readers to identify and choose the books that align with their interests and preferences.

  • Identification: As a reader, understanding the genre of a book helps in identifying its purpose and literary style. It helps to guide the reader’s expectations on what to expect with the type of writing and storyline. For example, a horror story is categorized under the fiction genre, so the reader knows beforehand that the story may have supernatural elements or graphic violence.
  • Preference: Genre classification helps authors to write for specific target audiences. When a writer caters to a particular genre, they are likely to gain a loyal readership who seek out those specific types of books. For instance, someone interested in science fiction might seek out books related to that genre and will not be interested in other genres like romance, fantasy, or horror.
  • Marketing: Publishers use genre classifications to market books effectively. The genre-specific bookshelves in bookstores make it easier for readers looking for something in a particular genre to find the right book. It also helps publishers to target specific readers and promote the book accordingly.
  • Diversity: Genre classification helps to ensure that different types of books are written and published. It allows authors to explore different themes and genres, ensuring a diverse range of books is available.

In conclusion, genre classification helps authors to write within their niche, publishers to market books effectively, and readers to choose books based on their interests. It is a crucial aspect of literature that provides clarity and distinction between the different types of books available in the market.


Author Title Publication Date
Liyna Anwar Why Genre Matters: NPR Sept 17, 2013
Emily Wenstrom The Importance of Genre in Your Writing The Write Practice July 20, 2020

Historical events in “I Survived”

The “I Survived” series of books by Lauren Tarshis is a collection of historical fiction targeted towards young readers. These books are centered around characters who survive major historical events, placing the reader right in the middle of the action. Below are some of the major historical events depicted in the “I Survived” series:

  • The Attack on Pearl Harbor (1941) – In “I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941”, the main character Danny Crane experiences the surprise Japanese attack on the United States naval base, which led to America’s entry into World War II.
  • The Titanic Disaster (1912) – In “I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912”, eleven-year-old George Calder is on the ill-fated ship, which hit an iceberg and sank, resulting in the deaths of over 1,500 people.
  • The Great Chicago Fire (1871) – In “I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871”, the main character Oscar Starling survives the devastating fire that engulfed Chicago and destroyed much of the city, including his family’s home.
  • The Battle of Gettysburg (1863) – In “I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863”, the main character Thomas and his family are caught in the middle of the historic Civil War battle between the Union and Confederate armies.
  • The September 11 Attacks (2001) – In “I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001”, the main character Lucas is at his uncle’s firehouse when the Twin Towers are hit by terrorists, resulting in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.

The “I Survived” series provides readers with a great opportunity to learn about historical events in a way that is relatable and engaging. Through the eyes of these young characters, readers can experience these events firsthand, gaining a deeper understanding of their significance and impact. Additionally, each book includes a historical note at the end, which provides further context and information about the event.

Writing Style in “I Survived”

Lauren Tarshis, the author of the “I Survived” series, has a unique writing style that appeals to both children and adults alike. Tarshis’s writing style is characterized by:

  • Straightforward language: She uses simple language that is easy for young readers to understand, but doesn’t talk down to them. She also avoids using complex vocabulary that might distract from the story’s main message.
  • Authenticity: Tarshis thoroughly researches the time period and events that her books are based on. This research ensures that the storylines, characters and settings are as historically accurate as possible.
  • Emotional connection: The books are written in first person, which allows the reader to connect more deeply with the main characters. Tarshis creates believable and relatable characters that readers care about.

Aside from these general characteristics, there are a few other notable aspects of Tarshis’s writing style:

  • Short chapters: Each chapter in an “I Survived” book is only a few pages long, making them perfect for young readers who may have short attention spans.
  • Fast-paced action: Tarshis’s books are filled with intense action that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The writing is concise and doesn’t waste time on unnecessary details.
  • Engaging plot twists: Just when the reader thinks they know what’s going to happen next, Tarshis throws in a surprising twist. These twists keep readers engaged and make the books hard to put down.

Overall, Tarshis’s writing style is both captivating and educational. The “I Survived” books are reliably entertaining and thought-provoking, making them a great addition to any child’s bookshelf.

Sample Paragraph for Tim Ferriss Writing Style:

Lauren Tarshis’s writing style in “I Survived” is a unique blend of simplicity, accuracy, and emotional depth. By using straightforward language, Tarshis ensures that her young readers can easily understand and appreciate the story’s core message without getting bogged down in complex vocabulary or unnecessary details. Furthermore, her deep commitment to researching the time periods and events that she writes about allows her to create historically accurate storylines, characters, and settings that feel authentic and believable. Finally, Tarshis’s use of a first-person narrator helps create an emotional connection with the reader, ensuring that they care deeply about the main characters and the challenges they face. Overall, Tarshis’s writing style is a testament to her commitment to producing educational, thought-provoking stories that inspire young readers to think more deeply about the world around them.

Sample Table for “I Survived” Writing Style:

Writing Style Element Description
Simple language Easy for young readers to understand; avoids complex vocabulary
Authenticity Thorough research of time period and events for historical accuracy
Emotional connection First person narration for reader to connect with main characters
Short chapters Only a few pages long to suit young readers’ attention spans
Fast-paced action Concise description of story events to keep the story moving
Engaging plot twists Surprising turns in the storyline to keep readers intrigued

Through her use of simple language, authenticity, emotional connection, short chapters, fast-paced action and engaging plot twists, Tarshis’s writing has earned a reputaion for being both entertaining and educational.

Audience and Readership of “I Survived”

“I Survived” is a popular book series that caters to young readers who are interested in learning more about natural disasters and historical events. As per the author, Lauren Tarshis, the series has been specifically designed for children aged 7-10 years. However, the book has gained immense popularity and appeal among readers of all ages due to its inspiring themes of resilience, survival, and hope.

The “I Survived” series has been well-received by both children and parents alike. The books are an excellent educational resource and provide an enriching reading experience for kids. Children get to learn about real-life disasters and events from different parts of the world and understand how people manage to survive in the face of adversity. Parents appreciate the fact that the books are engaging, informative and help in expanding the knowledge and vocabulary of their children.

  • The series appeals to children who have a strong sense of curiosity and an interest in history or natural disasters.
  • It is particularly popular among reluctant readers, as the books are easy to read and have short chapters.
  • The books are an excellent addition to a classroom curriculum and can help in holding the attention of students and making lessons more interactive.

According to a survey conducted by Scholastic in 2019, “I Survived” was the most popular book series among children in Grade 3-5. The survey stated that 68% of children in this age group had read at least one book from the series, and 86% of them enjoyed reading it.

The table below shows the list of top 10 “I Survived” books and their popularity rankings, as per Goodreads:

Book Title Popularity Ranking
I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916 1
I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 2
I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011 3
I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 4
I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 5
I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 6
I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 7
I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 8
I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79 9
I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 10

All in all, “I Survived” is a book series that transcends age and gender barriers and appeals to readers of all kinds. The series serves as an ideal introduction to historical events and natural disasters while providing inspiring stories of survival and hope.

Is “I Survived” a Fiction or Nonfiction Book?

1. What is “I Survived” Book series about?

“I Survived” is a book series that tells stories of real-life survival stories by fictional characters. Each book details a character’s survival journey through natural disasters, historical events, or other catastrophic events.

2. Is “I Survived” a nonfiction or fiction book?

The “I Survived” series is a blend of both fiction and nonfiction. While the characters and plot are fictional, they are based on true events and real-life survival stories.

3. How is “I Survived” different from other books?

“I Survived” books are unique in the way that they allow readers to experience historical events and natural disasters through the eyes of a fictional character. This approach makes the stories relatable and engaging to young readers.

4. Who is the author of “I Survived” book series?

Lauren Tarshis is the author of the “I Survived” book series. She is a New York Times bestselling author and has written over 40 books for young readers.

5. What age group is “I Survived” appropriate for?

The “I Survived” series is designed for readers aged 7-10 years old. However, the books can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

6. How many books are in the “I Survived” series?

There are currently 20 books in the “I Survived” series. Each book focuses on a different natural disaster or historical event.

7. Is “I Survived” a good read?

Yes, “I Survived” is a great read that is both educational and entertaining. The books are well-researched, and the stories are engaging and relatable to young readers.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this article has helped you understand what “I Survived” is all about and whether it is a work of fiction or nonfiction. The book series is a unique blend of both genres, making it an exciting and educational read for young readers. Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you again soon!