Publishing and media company Scholastic has released its predictions for the top trends in children’s books for 2018, and it looks like titles that celebrate strong female characters, as well as books featuring hands-on activities, are set to drive sales next year.
Curated by Scholastic Book Clubs editors, the company’s On Our Minds blog features a full list of books for each trend, plus a Scholastic Parents New Year’s reading challenge activity calendar that provide tips to encourage independent reading.
Research from Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report: 6th Edition found that kids look for “smart, brave or strong” characters when reading a book for fun, leading the editors to name books with strong female characters as one of the biggest trends for 2018. The editors predict that fiction titles featuring female protagonists, and non-fiction books exploring stories about notable women in history, will be especially popular next year.
Kid-friendly non-fiction in general was also a major trend identified by Scholastic’s editors. The list includes titles like Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons by Sara Levine as well as A Girl Named Rosa: The True Story of Rosa Parks (American Girl) by Denise Lewis Patrick. Civics and media literacy education will be major focuses in 2018, according to Scholastic.
Another big trend for the next 12 months is the return of iconic series and characters with new stories. Book Clubs editors predict that new takes on classic properties like The Boxcar Children, The Magic School Bus and Jigsaw Jones will connect with kids in a major way.
Additionally, editors said books featuring STEM-related, hands-on activities that engage kids will be a big draw in 2018, specifically titles that feature coding activities or scientific experiments. Top titles could include Disney Learning: Frozen Snow Science by Scholastic Book Clubs and Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World by Reshma Saujani.
The final children’s book trend named by editors was a focus on magical creatures and fantasy worlds. Research from the Kids & Family Reading Report found that 31% of children look for stories that explore worlds they’ve never experienced, and Scholastic editors anticipate unicorns, mermaids and dragons will be the most popular mythical creatures in 2018.
Data from NPD Book shows that print book sales in the US boast a compound annual growth rate of 2.8% since 2013, with US$674 million in sales for the industry as a whole last year. The print-based sales surge is especially strong in children’s publishing, with US kids print book sales growing faster than the overall print books market at a compound annual growth rate of 5.3% since 2013.