I love watching the trends in children’s and young adult books. Every year the publishing industry morphs into something it’s never been before. New books, new genres, new authors.
In 2016 we saw a lot of diverse books coming out, across all age groups. This is a trend that I think will continue as authors and publishers try to fill the need for diverse books.
2017 will be a great year for superhero books. There are many superhero-themed novels and graphic novels coming out in several age groups.
Here are some other book trends I’ve noticed and my predictions for 2017.
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Picture Books (ages 3-7)
Picture book trends are leaning toward humor and heartfelt stories. Smart humor always does well with children, like in They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel. Books about friendship like The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas and inspirational books like Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena are also doing well. Unique perspectives, strong design, and beautiful artwork seem to be of utmost importance.
Chapter Books (ages 5-8)
I’ve seen a lot of really good chapter books coming out recently. I’m so happy to see quality books in this age group.
Publishers seem to be paying attention to high-interest stories like the Tales of Sasha series by Alexa Pearl, the Ellie Ultra series by Gina Bellisario and the Dory Fantasmagory series by Abby Hanlon that are simple and fully illustrated.
I’m starting to see a lot of nonfiction chapter books, like Animal Planet Chapter Books: Sharks! as well. Of course, there are the staples like fantasy, adventure, and humor which always do well with this age group.
I think we’ll see more nonfiction for this age group as well as the usual themes. Hopefully, we’ll also see more diversity in this group as well.
Middle Grade (ages 8-12)
Middle grade is inching away from the tired fantasy adventure plots that used to dominate the age group. Now I’m seeing much more adventure, mystery, and contemporary titles. Themes of grief and loss are plentiful, like in Summerlost by Ally Condie, The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli and Free Verse by Sarah Dooley.
Middle grade always has a high demand for humor, adventure, and mystery titles. Fantasy like The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (2017 Newberry winner) seems to be a mainstay for the age group, and horror like Brightwood by Tania Unsworth and Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen is becoming increasingly popular.
Going forward, I think we’ll see many of the same genres and themes, with the addition of more diverse characters.
Young Adult Trends (ages 12-18)
Young adult is a constantly changing landscape. You can’t sit still for long with this age group!
2016 was a popular year for fantasy in YA as well as contemporary stories. We saw much more diversity in the characters and the themes of the stories. That’s a trend I expect to continue.
2017 is all about the here and now — contemporary novels. I think we’ll see a lot of heavy themes, controversial themes, and plenty of heart-wrenching, romantic, and self-discovery stories like The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon and The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord.
I think we’ll continue to see fantasy books similar to The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkoski and The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson and epic works like And I Darken by Kiersten White and The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead.
Going forward, I think this category is just waiting for the next breakaway title. There have been bestsellers, but no major blockbuster titles since The Maze Runner and The Fault in Our Stars. There is definitely an opening for the “next big thing” in this age group.
Personally, I would love to see some new paranormal books on the market. I’ve been reading all the old back-list titles like The Vampire Diaries and Twilight, hoping that someone will publish another series like that.
What trends do you see in the publishing industry? What would you like to see?
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