Discussion: Trends in Children’s and YA Books 2017

Discussion, Middle Grade, Picture Books, Young Adult Books
Trends in Children's and YA Books 2017

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.


Trends in Children's and YA Books 2017

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Picture Books (ages 3-7)

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel. Trends in children's books 2017. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas. Trends in children's books 2017. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena. Trends in children's books 2017.

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)

Ellie Ultra: An Extra-Ordinary Girl by Gina Bellisario. Superhero early chapter books for girls.  Dory Fantasmagory Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon. Chapter book for kids that like humor. | batchofbooks.com  Animal Planet Chapter Books: Sharks! Trends in children's books 2017.

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)

The Warden's Daughter by Jerry Spinelli. Middle grade fiction novel about a girl growing up in a prison in 1959. Books for kids ages 8-12.  The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill, middle grade fantasy novel  Summerlost by Ally Condie | batchofbooks.com  Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen #MGlit | batchofbooks.com

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)

The Glittering Court  The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord. Trends in young adult books 2017.  The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Trends in young adult books 2017.

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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  • Reply
    Aj @ Read All The Things!
    January 27, 2017 at 10:26 am

    I agree with all of this. I’d like to see more contemporary middle grade books. Even as a kid, I wasn’t a huge fantasy fan. More diverse characters are great, too.

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 27, 2017 at 10:37 am

      I think contemporary is making a come-back in middle-grade fiction. I always liked fantasy, but realistic fiction fills a huge gap that fantasy doesn’t.

  • Reply
    Cait @ Paper Fury
    January 30, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Oh I love looking for trends and things! I definitely think there’s a lot more diversity coming out which is brilliant (not that I think diversity is trendy…more just that it’s on the rise!! YAY!) But you don’t think Sarah J Maas’ books have been the Next Big Thing in YA?! I kind of feel like they have. 😜 I also think Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom were really big last year and on so many bestseller lists! Which is amazing and exciting!

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 30, 2017 at 10:12 am

      I’m so happy to see more diversity coming out. Hopefully it’s not a “trend” but a complete shift in the publishing industry.

      Yes! I do think that Sarah J. Maas’s books have been huge. And the Six of Crows series has also been really big. I think that the Throne of Glass series is probably the closest thing to what I was thinking of. But I’m surprised at how many people still haven’t even heard of it. Even people that read a lot haven’t heard of it, or if they have, they haven’t read it. This is why I need my blogging friends, because they’ve all read them. 🙂

      If someone would just make them into a movie series or TV series, we would be set. Then I could fangirl and obsess and other people would at least know what I’m talking about.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    When it comes to YA I have to agree with you – the trend is always shifting and changing. And yes, a lot more contemporary novels coming out this year. But I always feel like such a mix of genres is being released! I don’t follow the younger age books much, but it’s nice to see fun mysteries and moving stories even for young children being released!

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      February 8, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      I’m liking the direction that publishing is going, but I still love fantasy and paranormal books. Hopefully, YA doesn’t get rid of those completely. I doubt they will since a lot of people like those genres.

  • Reply
    La La in the Library
    February 9, 2017 at 2:45 am

    The Warden’s Daughter looks very interesting! I have been liking the retellings of obscure ethnic fairytales and folktales in YA. I am hoping this leaks over into MG stories as well. 🙂

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      February 10, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Yes! I like those too. I haven’t seen much leakage into MG yet, but I’m hopeful. 🙂

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