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Trends in Children’s Books

Updated: Jan 24

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The landscape of Children’s books trends is forever evolving to accommodate contemporary societal issues. Despite the growth of modern technology Children’s books remainincredibly popular. Most of our fondest childhood memories originate from pouring over story books with loved ones.Young children/ Infants are captivated by Communication and language and consequentially take a keen interest in the spoken word. Similarly, as well invigorating children’s imaginations, reading also helps to strengthen the bond between child and caregiver. This blog addresses some of the top trends which influence children’s book production which may help newbie authors and prospective purchasers! Without further ado, please see the top trending categories of children’s books below.

1. Self-reliance / overcoming challenges

Books based on resilience and how to cope with the challenges life throws at us have become increasingly popular in recent years. Reading books like this can help children emotionally mature. Similarly, these Stories also provide children to different coping strategies to push through these challenges. Some of the topics these books address include..

A. Managing emotions.

B. Reflecting on behaviour.

C. Understanding and vocalizing frustrations

D. Asking for assistance / help when a situation becomes too overwhelming.

Sample Titles

‘The Bear and the Wildcat’ by Kazumi Yumoto

When Bear’s close friend little bird dies, Bear is inconsolablewith grief and locks himself away from the outside world. However, he finds solace in a newly found wild cat friend, who helps him to move through the grieving process and find peace and comfort again.

‘A Dancelike Starlight’ by Kristy Dempsey

This Novel revolves around the tale of a little aspiring ballerina with a big dream. The story is based in 1950’s Harlem where a young African girl is inspired to make her own dreams become a reality!

‘The Day War Came’ by Nicola Davies

This Heart-breaking poetic piece transcribes the journey of a little girl who is forced to become a refugee. War ravages away all remnants of her previous life, erasing her home school and past friendships. This poignant tale is accompanied by beautiful evocative illustrations, helping children better understand the landscape of War.

2. Climate change / conservation

Climate change and conservation is also a popular genre trending in Children’s books currently. This trend emerged more prominently in the wake of Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg’s environmental activism. What started with a 15-year-old girl protesting outside the Stockholm parliament building, then influenced a worldwide movement. Millions protested in the ‘School Strike 4 Climate’.

Sample Novel titles

The Earth Book’- by Todd Par

Todd Parr explores the timely subject of the environment / conservation. The novel provides ideas to kids on how theycan conserve the environment by planting trees, recycling, using both sides of paper etc.

The Lorax Dr Seuss

The Lorax is a humorous Children’s book written by Dr Seuss. Again, it deals with climate change and all associated issues. ‘The Lorax’ the main character in the work advocates for the plight of the trees against the Once-leer who is responsible for the destruction of the environment. The story simplistically outlines the importance of environmental awareness and conservation.

The Magic School Bus – Joanna Cole and Or’s

Lastly the Magic School Bus is the broad ranging title which covers a series of books educating children about a plethora of topics such as climate change, space and the solar system, the human anatomy etc.

3. Friendship

Reading books about friendship encourage children to engage in meaningful conversations regarding what traits make a good friend. Being a good friend / getting along with others is an incredibly important skill for children to learn, facilitating both their individual development and the broader societal landscape at large.

Sample titles

‘Our Friend Hedgehog’ by Lauren Castillo

This novel deals with the tale of Hedgehog and the quest for his lost dog Mutty. Whilst searching for the lost canine he meets Mole, owl, and Beaver and within the confines of the novel the value of friendship is truly explored.

Frank and Bean by Jamie Michalak

This short tale documents the friendship Two lovable food stuffs, which is based on acceptance despite their differences. Bean is portrayed as loud and outgoing and juxtaposed against Frank who is shy and withdrawn. This novel teaches children the importance of acceptance and equality in friendships.

4. Inclusion and kindness / Bullying

Bullying / Intimidation is a very serious problem faced by schools now. It could be said that reading books on the topic can help children develop empathy and have healthierrelationships with peers. Reading about the topic could potentially help both the bully and the victim to heal from their experiences and act as a preventative mechanism to tackle the issue at large.

Sample titles

The Bully Blockers Club’ by Teresa Bateman

This story revolves around main character Lotty Racoon. Lotty has a new teacher and new classmates etc and is enjoying life until Grant Grizzly begins to bully her. Lotty tries to ignore Grant and make a joke of it but neither of the approaches work. She notices the other children are getting bullied, so they join forces to tackle the problem head on!

5. Diversity

Diversity is also a broadly dealt with topic in Children’s literature now. Books on diversity are based around educating children about different abilities, skin colours, backgroundsetc. Books on diversity began to emerge due to recentresearch highlighting that gender/ consent/ body positivity should be discussed with children at an early age.

Our Skin: A first Conversation about Race- Megan Madison

An exemplary novel to discuss in this genre, is Our Skin by Megan Madison. Our skin is the first book in a series of novels which discusses the concept of race and is accompanied by vibrant illustrations appealing to all readers!

Other Genres

There are also some other popular emerging genres in the children’s book market.

Colouring Books –Story colouring books are now popular. Examples for older children include titles like Harry Potter and some of Dr Seuss’ collection.

Adventure Books –Adventure books and activity books allow children to decide the journey their character goes on or the fate that befalls their protagonists. Books in this genre include Dungeons and Dragons / midnight arcade etc

Mythical creatures /Ghosts and Vampires - What appeals to a child’s imagination more than mythical creatures? Whether it’s taming them, communicating with them, or keeping them as pets’ kids can’t resist magical tales. Similarly, tales with a spooky twist may appeal to children’s sense of mischief.

A Dragons guide to the Care and feeding of humans. – Laurence Yep

A Dragon’s guide to the Care and feeding of humans, encapsulates the tale of Winnie and Miss drake who travel to the 1915 San Francisco World Fair. Ms Drake purchases Winnie a sketchbook and the young girl soon begins drawing magical creatures. The creatures Winnie created soon form a life of their own!

The Graveyard Plot by Jason Strange

When Damon helps to pack up his poorly grandfathers’belongings, he stumbles upon a map that takes him to a clandestine graveyard which sets the scene for his captivating spooky adventures.

Overall, we can see from this that the Children’s book landscape is forever changing / expanding and encapsulating an even broader range of diverse topics. The Multiplicity of novels available facilitates the growth of emotional,intellectual, and spiritual development in children who engagein the reading process.

Author: Jessica McCarthy

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Thanks for this article. It is very helpful.

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