Monday, January 03, 2011

Scholastic Names Trends in Children's Books for 2010

Scholastic recently came out with a list of trends in Children's Books for 2010, based on sales of books by all children's publishers, through Scholastic's school book clubs and book fairs. Here are the results, as pertaining to the Middle Grade and Young Adult market:

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 return to humor
7. 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)
8. Special-needs protagonists
9. Paranormal romance beyond vampires (Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters)

I recently incorporated a couple items on the list--use of a journal, and a paranormal element--to the manuscript I'm revising. The results have surprised and delighted me.

The manuscript isn't written journal format. Rather, I'm incorporating a specialized journal, more like an object, that moves through the story and enables the main character's internal conflict to be visible. It was a Eureka! Moment when I thought of it.

The ghost element is newer, and one that I think will work, but am not entirely sure yet. The ghost also mirrors the protagonist's internal conflict, but more specifically as Crystal's egoic addiction. Whenever she makes an attempt to change or transform, the ego shows up--the ghost--which Crystal is finally powerful enough to overcome in the end.

If you're writing for the Middle Grade or Young Adult market, do you see your manuscript fitting somewhere in these trends? Do you write with an eye for popularity and sales? Are you more interested in literary quality and possibly awards? Or are you interested in a little of both?

I lean toward literary. Over the past couple of years, critique partners have compared my voice and style to Laurie Halse Anderson and Karen Cushman. Should I one day find myself in their company, I would be deeply, deeply honored.

What is your writing style? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. My writing style isn't exactly literary. I guess I'm more mainstream. I do keep an eye on the trends, but I use that knowledge more the keep away from certain things rather than to copy a trend because by the time my book is ready, the trend would have passed.

  2. Oh, dear--I don't fit into any of the trends! My love is MG historical fiction. I've written one book and have two more ideas begging to be plotted. I'm in the process of getting to know those featured characters now...

    Even though hf is not the hottest trend nor the most popular genre, I will continue on--because the thing you love is the thing you'll put your heart in! Thanks for commenting over at my place. Glad to meet you :-)

  3. I have a YA urban fantasy, based on a myth, in the works. It wasn't, though, included in my goals for the year. Maybe I'll have a chance to outline before 2012.

  4. I'm writing a YA Horror novel featuring a ghost or three, so I fit in a couple of the points I think (woohoo!). I always like looking at these types of lists, very informative :)


  5. I write humor--YA and MG, but YA is my focus right now. I try to stay aware of the trends, but I don't write to them.

    Thanks for the visit! :)

  6. I'm a literary quality writer. I write women's fiction with an eye on the market, but a love for the story (and even more, the characters).
    ~ Wendy

  7. Cathy, your story sounds amazing. A ghost! I can't wait to read the changes.

    I lean toward literary and the whimsical in my own writing, but I also try to be aware of the trends in YA fiction. The story I'm working on right now has hints of the paranormal. It gives me shivers to write it! Maybe I'm too chicken to finish...we'll see.

  8. These are interesting trends. I have a friend who is working on a manuscript that is aimed at the YA audience. I'll be sure to pass these on to him, if he hasn't already seen them.


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