Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Trends in Children's Books

As the year draws to a close, everyone is naming their "Top Ten" for 2010.  I'm sick of them.  After the first few, the following lists were repetitive and predictable.  Of more interest is Scholastic's "Top Ten" trends in Children's Books for 2010, which helps give the rational for books that have made others' "Top Ten" lists, as well as help those in the industry see where we've come from...and where we're going for 2011 (so exciting!).

From Scholastic:

Drawing on their experience distributing books from all children's publishers through their school book clubs and book fairs, Scholastic's editors created a list of  ten trends from the year in children's books. President of Scholastic Book Clubs Judy Newman remarks in the release, "We've seen some exciting innovation in children's publishing in 2010, including new formats and platforms for storytelling that are helping more and more kids become book lovers. At the same time, we're seeing a rejuvenation of some classic genres, which I think is evidence of the timeless power that stories and characters have on the lives of children."

1. The expanding Young Adult audience

2. The year of dystopian fiction

3. Mythology-based fantasy (Percy Jackson followed by series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls)

4. Multimedia series (The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, The Search for WondLa)

5. A focus on popular characters - from all media

6. The shift to 25 to 30 percent fewer new picture books, with characters like Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books

7. The return to humor

8. The rise of the diary and journal format (The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate)

9. Special-needs protagonists

10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires (Linger and Shiver, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters)

Most of the books I've read this year can fall into one of these categories or another; all of my favorites definitely can.  I can't wait to see where the trends take us next year...I'm looking forward to more dystopian (Divergent, hello!), curious to see how long paranormal romance lasts (and what creatures we fall in love with next) and praying that somehow historical fiction comes back!  We shall see!


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  2. Hi! I stumbled across your blog somehow, and I'm having a great time riffling through your archives. (Congrats on your job!) Great post, and I can't wait for Divergent either.

    Even though Top 10 lists wear me out (, I wrote my own ( Peer pressure? I'd still be interested in seeing yours though!

  3. Next year I might feel more up to writing a Top 10 list...2010 has been a lot of catch up for me, children's-book-wise, at least. When I was still in school I was reading a ton, of course, and some were great classics like Mansfield Park, Dangerous Liaisons and Moll Flanders, 'forgotten' French gems like The Princess of Cleves and Letters of Mistress Henley Published By Her Friend and short story collections by Paul Yoon and Daniyal Mueenuddin. Some of these books were great; I've already recommended Jane Austen in a previous post and highly recommend Letters of Mistress Henley if you like social history like I do. Yet I was reading for class, and class did not include children's books. Even the one children's book class I took did not include contemporary children's books- we read The Wizard of Oz and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. All this babbling about class assigned reading means that I did not have time for 'fun' reading, and post-college has been very much about catching up on all the wonderful books that had been published in the previous four years. On top of trying to stay up with the current market. It's a daunting, but incredibly fun, task, and once I feel like I've hit the big books at least for the past few years as well as read the big books for that year, I'll get around to making my own Top 10 list. Perhaps this is a good resolution for 2011, too! :-)

  4. I totally hear you! Thank goodness we live in the "adult world" now and have more time to read children's books. :)