It’s the job of Scholastic’s editors to track trends in the ever-changing children’s publishing scene. See what made their top-10 list over the past 12 months.
1. The expanding Young Adult (YA) audience
More and more adults are reading YA books. The runaway success of YA series by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) are just two of the biggest examples.
2. The year of dystopian fiction
With bestselling series like The Hunger Games (Scholastic) and The Maze Runner (Delacorte Books), teenage readers can’t seem to get enough of fiction that suggests the future may be worse than the present.
3. Mythology-based fantasy
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series (Hyperion) set the trend, and now series like The Kane Chronicles (Hyperion) and Goddess Girls (Aladdin) are benefiting.
4. Multimedia series
Series like The 39 Clues (Scholastic) and The Search for WondLa (Simon & Schuster) are hooking readers with stories that go beyond the printed page to meet kids through digital media.
5. A focus on popular media characters
Kids love to read books about characters they know and recognize from books, movies and television shows. Titles built around popular characters, like Fancy Nancy, David Shannon’s ‘David’ and Buzz and Woody are selling more than ever.
6. The shift in picture books
US publishers are producing between 25% and 30% fewer picture book titles than they used to, as some parents now want their kids to read more challenging books at younger ages.
7. The return to humor
The doom and gloom of the recent recession may be partly responsible for an up-tick in sales in the humor category, led by the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (Jeff Kinney) and Dav Pilkey’s The Adventures of Ook & Gluk.
8. The rise of the diary and journal format
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series also typifies this trend, but its success is helping out popular series such as Dear Dumb Diary (Jim Benton), Dork Diaries (Rachel Renee Russell) and The Popularity Papers (Amy Ignatow).
9. Special-needs protagonists
There is a growing body of literary fiction in which the main characters have special needs – particularly Aspergers Syndrome and Autism – like those found in My Brother Charlie (Scholastic) and Marcelo in the Real World (Arthur A. Levine Books).
10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires
YA readers continue to fall in love with things that go bump in the night – and not just Edward Cullen. Think zombies, werewolves and witches found in the pages of such titles as Shiver and Linger (Scholastic), Beautiful Creatures (Little, Brown) and Immortal (Katherine Tegen Books).