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10 Current Trends in Children's Books: What Kids Want to Read

While growing up, I am sure that you had a few treasured storybooks that you use to pour-over. These books probably inspired your love for weird and wonderful creatures such as dragons or unicorns, which often spilled over into pretending you were these creatures. Books inspire children to be brave, kind, and compassionate; most importantly, they encourage children to fall in love with reading.

It may seem like a daunting task to consider tapping into the children’s book market, but research has shown that there is potential for even more growth and a world of opportunities for would-be authors. Sales of children's books continue to rise, especially in the middle grade and young adult categories.

Keen to pen your first children’s book? Consider the following 10 current trends to help you create a best-seller!

10 Trends in Children’s Books That You Must Know

Here are the most current trends in children's books for 2020 and 2021.

Empowered Females

Now, this is something we can get behind! More and more storybooks are beginning to cover a diverse range of empowered females. Some stories focus on young girls who encourage change or who do something significant, whereas other books write about real-life characters such as Hilde, a female journalist from the book series, Hilde Cracks the Case. All have a strong theme, which is to be proud of who you are as a woman!

Dragons

Dragons have never lost their place amongst storybooks in all these years. They have even leaked into popular adult shows such as The Witcher and Game of Thrones. This shows that the topic of dragons can be for both young and old to enjoy.

Popular books about dragons include A Friend for Dragon and Wings of Fire.

Unicorns

Children love the world of magic, mystery, and sparkle. Unicorns represent this in a fun and exciting manner.

Much like dragons, unicorns remain relevant in books. The majority of books inspired by unicorns teach valuable lessons such as friendship and kindness. Phoebe and Her Unicorn, The Last Unicorn, and Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great are examples of such books.

Pugs

Yep, this beloved dog breed has taken the world by storm and entered into the children’s book market. These books are centered around humor and often silly pugs that entertain children as they read. Pig the Pug is especially popular right now.

Wild Creatures

Children will always be fascinated with the animal kingdom, and what better way to enrich them than through books detailing funny, entertaining, and empowering animal characters like those found in top-sellers such as Giraffes Can’t Dance and The Pout-Pout Fish.

Ghosts, Monsters, and Scary Things

There has been a gradual increase in books that write about spooky (though not too scary) ghosts, monsters, and ghastly ghouls in a manner that sparks interest but is not terrifying for children.

Just like boys and girls love dragons and unicorns, some have an interest in zombies and monsters. Though reserved for older children, stories such as Ghosts and Eerie Elementary are just a few titles that are proving popular with young readers.

Video Games

The world of video games is slowly making its way onto the pages of books and vice-versa. As there is so much to offer in terms of worlds, characters, monsters, and villains, it makes sense why these would begin to make their way into children’s literature. Books such as Press Start! can also help younger kids feel as inspired and involved as their older siblings do who play videogames.

Mysteries

The popularity of mystery and ‘whodunnit’ books is slowly on the increase, gaining a strong following in 2019 and continuing its momentum into 2020 and 2021. Young readers cannot get enough of young characters solving cases and uncovering mysteries. Books such as It Wasn’t Me and Mac Undercover prove that spy-fueled adventures are here to stay.

Gross and Goofy

It does not matter how old you are, gross and goofy will always pique an interest among readers. Books such as these were trendy in the past and will remain so for quite some time! The book series Diary of Wimpy Kid paved the way forward for this genre.

Non-Fictional Titles

Child-friendly, nonfiction titles that teach children about the world around them also have room among all the fantasy-inspired storybooks. The most popular book series in this genre is probably National Geographic for Kids which depicts and explains the natural world in an easy to learn, colorful format.

So you think you know which trend appeals to you, but where do you start? Read our article on how to write a children’s book that sells for more information.

Top Kids Books Niches

Trends come and go, but in terms of the children’s book category, many themes still serve as the mainstays.

For example:

  • Coloring books are covering broader topics instead of focusing on simple images. Some even tell a story that kids can follow as they color. For older children, titles such as Harry Potter: The Coloring Book and Seuss Coloring Book will ensure their love for coloring never fades.
  • Activity books can include coloring in sections, stickers, join-the-dots, find what is missing, and more. Books such as these cater to older children, but basic activity books such as First Words Sticker Activity Book help little ones learn words and numbers through the use of stickers.
  • Choose your own adventure books are back! These are interactive storybooks that allow the reader to decide which path the character will take through the book, finally settling with an alternative ending. Books such as Dungeons and Dragons: Endless Quest and Midnight Arcade are proving that there is a market for these books.
  • Life lessons are an essential part of storytelling. Books that teach young ones about sharing, diversity, body positivity, and manners are crucial in shaping a young reader’s mind and also builds humility and tolerance. Bestseller Rock What Ya Got is one such example.
  • Mythology, fantasy, and time travel will never fall out of fashion either and are a good way to spark interest in young readers as plot twists and turns are synonymous with themed books such as these. Time Sight, The Storm Keeper’s Island, and The Storm Runner are a few examples of these trends.

Watch a YouTube mom, Emily Norris, showcase a few of her children’s favorite books, which may help you determine which theme you would like to explore further in your writing.

Writing a Children's Book That Sells FAQ

Your questions about writing stories for kids answered!

Why is reading important for children?

Young children and babies are captivated by communicating and adore the sound of language before they can even speak a word, let alone notice the words printed within a book.

Reading to children helps educate them about the world and encourages imagination. They also learn how to listen and it supports them in understanding the written word.

How do you write a popular children's book?

First, determine which age group your book will cater too. Select a theme and a broad idea. Focus on building your characters and the plot. Write the correct amount of words based on the age-group. Use repetition in your story, and always write with the illustrations in mind.

How many pages should a children's book have?

  • Infant to three-year-old: Picture book, 0 words, 32 pages, and illustrated on every page.
  • Age two to five: Young reader picture book, 200 to 400 words, 32 pages, and illustrated on every page.
  • Age four to eight: Trade picture book, 400 to 800 words, 32 or more pages, and illustrated on every page.
  • Age six to 10: Picture storybook, 1,000 to 3,000 words, 32 or more pages, and illustrated on every page.
  • Age six to 10: Chapter book, 3,000 to 10,000 words, 32 or more pages, and illustrated on every other page.
  • Age eight to 12: Middle-grade book, 15,000 to 40,000 words, 82 pages, and 12 or more illustrations.

Final Thoughts

Though trends come and go, what remains evident is that, regardless of the book's theme, with every turn of the page, valuable lessons are taught which the reader will hopefully apply to their life.

Consider including cultural tolerance, humor, manners, and morals within your book. You will have one significant part of your book covered, and it will be bound to attract readers and appeal to parents who will inevitably be buying your books for their little ones.