Pub Rants

How Well Did Kristin Predict?

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STATUS: I’m heading over to the Tattered Cover to do some holiday shopping. Yay!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? CHRISTMAS CANON ROCK Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Oh, I think this might be a fun entry. In a press release from Scholastic, the editors created a list of the top trends from 2010 when it came to Children’s books.

And funny enough, in the Nelson Agency newsletter, I’ve been highlighting a lot of what was “hot” in children’s lit throughout the year. I wonder if my predictions in any way line up.

What do you say? Should we analyze it?

To start, here’s the Scholastic List:

1. The expanding Young Adult audience
2. The year of dystopian fiction
3. Mythology-based fantasy (Percy Jackson followed by series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls)
4. Multimedia series (The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, The Search for WondLa)
5. A focus on popular characters – from all media
6. The shift to 25 to 30 percent fewer new picture books, with characters like Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books
7. The return to humor
8. The rise of the diary and journal format (The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate)
9. Special-needs protagonists
10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires (Linger and Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters)

In looking at all the newsletters from the past 11 months, here’s what I highlighted was “hot” in our newsletter column:

1. February 2010 newsletter—Dystopian YA fiction as hot.
2. March 2010 newsletter—Paranormal YA US titles hot in translation
3. May 2010 newsletter—I mentioned that I’d be attending the BEA YA buzz panel. I didn’t highlight paranormal romance in the newsletter but I did discuss it on the blog, June 2, 2010 entry.
4. October 2010 newsletter—Dystopian YA mentioned again along with YA SF romance.

Not bad! I actually didn’t talk about children’s fantasy at all but I definitely agree that we have seen a lot of myth-based fantasy stories and just recently I blogged about seeing fairy tale inspired stories—which is kind of in that same vein.

A return to humor is news to me so very interesting. As for special-needs protagonists, I can’t say I’ve seen that many but what I have noticed is stories where the main narrator has a sibling with special needs. Tangential but maybe worth mentioning.

In the October newsletter, I also highlighted that editors would like to see the next John Green. That’s humor and the male voice. That’s not mentioned here but I do think that might trend.

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10 Responses

  1. Caroline Starr Rose said:

    Interesting! I’m debuting next year with a protagonist who’s dyslexic and lives during an era (1870s Kansas frontier) when she would have been misunderstood.

    There are more and more titles of late with special needs characters (LIVVIE OWENS LIVED HERE and THE RE-INVENTION OF EDISON THOMAS, just to name two new titles that come to mind, plus the biggies like MOCKINGBIRD, RULES, and MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD. It’s time for kids to see themselves, their siblings, and their classmates depicted as the complex, acceptable human beings they are.

  2. SariBelle said:

    Interesting to see what the trends have been this year, and I’m glad the world is moving on from vampire romances. Variety is the spice of life, right?

  3. Ted Cross said:

    I feel a bit sad that I am so out of touch with the rest of the book-buying world. I don’t like any of those trendy genres. I’m still stuck on the old epic and high fantasy kicks, with a little adult sci-fi and historical fiction thrown in.

  4. Lale said:

    Although I can’t really look at these trends from an industry POV, I’ve enjoyed the recent spate of mythological titles- my ten year old sister got hooked on reading courtesy of the Percy Jackson series, and after we both read ‘The Lost Hero’ she was excited enough to be hypothesizing about the sequel and begging me to write to the publisher for an ARC. (I don’t think she realizes the unlikelihood of that happening!)
    As an aside, though, it’s gotten her really into greek myths, which I loved as a kid, and I hope that these titles will spark other kids’ interests in mythology; I’m all for fiction with a sneaky educational purpose! 🙂

  5. Anonymous said:

    As a mother w/ 2 special needs children, I’m very glad to know there are books available like this. As a writer, there’s no way I could do it – too emotional.

    It isn’t a big surprise that you knew what was going to be popular.


  6. Unrepentant Escapist said:

    Speaking of adult authors trying their hands at YA, I have a hard time distinguishing between what makes an adult fantasy novel and a YA fantasy novel. I’ve got a high fantasy novel with a teenage protagonist that reads like some YA fantasies I’ve read but also reads like some adult fantasies I’ve read, and the length’s about the size of a Percy Jackson, so I’m not sure how to query it. I’m suggesting a post where you look at some of the differences between adult and YA books, besides the age of the protagonist, maybe?

  7. Jean Ann Williams said:

    Ohh, I really like humor and diary, journal. I’m working on my upper middle-grade and people have said it should be in the style of a diary. Hmmm.

    I’ve written my first humor story and I think I’ve found my voice!

    Another good post, Kristin.

  8. Anonymous said:

    I browse the children’s section a lot, and besides that Goddess Girls series, the only other mythology-based fantasies for kids I’ve seen are all by Rick Riordan.
    Just because one author has been successful in that area doesn’t mean there’s really a trend going on.