Recent Trends and Predictions in Children’s Literature

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

image from School Library Journal

(image from School Library Journal)

In the January 2015 edition, School Library Journal published the article “What’s Trending? Hot themes in kidlit and what we want to see” by Elizabeth Bird. In it, Bird summarizes her observations about trends in books for youth during the previous year, as well as adding her own expectations for the coming year. You can read the entire article on their website, but here’s a quick summary of some literary trends:


Kid’s Fantasy Getting Darker

Examples: The Riverman by Aaron Starmer, The Thickety by J.A. White, The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

Relationship between Lies and Storytelling

Examples: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, West of the Moon by Margi Preus, Greenglass House by Kate Milford, The Riverman by Aaron Starmer



Examples: Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other) by Geoff Rodkey

Post-apocalyptic Dogs

Examples: Apocalypse Bow Wow by James Proimos, Vacancy by Jen Lee

Liars and Unreliable Narrators

Examples: Lies I Told by Michelle Zink, Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes, Twisted Fate by Norah Olson, Made You Up by Francesca Zappia


Bird ends with trends she’d like to see in the future. The biggest of these is a continued increase in diversity. She lists several categories of particular interest and includes recent books within each one.

Disability as Incidental to Story

Examples: El Deafo by Cece Bell, Dragons Beware by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

Realistic Depictions of Poverty

Examples: Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt and Vin Vogel, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

African American Male Characters

Examples: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth, The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson, Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery in Mayan Mexico by Marcia Wells, Public School Superhero by James Patterson

Latino Characters

Examples: Ambassador by William Alexander, Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante, Sophia Martinez: My Family Adventure by Jacqueline Jules, Gum Luck by Rhode Montijo

The True Story of The Three Little Pigs Celebrates its 25th Anniversary,

By Amanda Alexander, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

true story 3 little pigs

Jon Scieszka’s popular children’s book, illustrated by Lane Smith, tells the well-known tale of the Three Little Pigs from the perspective of the Big Bad Wolf.  First published in 1989, the book became a bestseller practically overnight and has gone on to sell over 2 million copies to date.  Before it was picked up for publication by Viking, Scieszka’s book had been turned down countless times.  At that time the book brought something new to the table-sophisticated humor and controversy about a children’s book.  The controversy involved the twisted take on a traditional folk tale and spawned a new genre of what is now called “twisted” or “fractured fairy tales”.  Audiences responded and Scieszka and Lane partnered up again for the creation of a handful of other works, with 1992’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales among them.  They both have strong solo careers as well but continue to remain sentimental about the book that started their careers.

The 25th Anniversary edition of The True Story of The Three Little Pigs is on sale now and showcases a new jacket designed by Smith and includes a surprise letter written by A. Wolf!  Copies of the original 1989 edition are available for checkout in School Library located in the basement of McLure.


Olive Kitteridge

By Amanda Alexander, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

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Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout’s best-selling collection of interlaced stories centered on a retired schoolteacher in Maine, has been made into an HBO miniseries that aired in early November.  Starring Frances McDormand as the titular character, the miniseries is broken into four parts- each representing a different stage of the novel-and remains true to Strout’s original work.  Over a time period of 25 years, the story focuses on Olive’s relationships with her husband, son, and fellow townspeople.  McDormand bought the rights to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and was responsible for bringing it to HBO.  If you are unfamiliar with Olive Kitteridge and are wanting to read it for the first time, or re-reading it, as you watch the miniseries, it is available for checkout at Gorgas Library.  The miniseries is available now for HBO subscribers through HBO Go anytime and OnDemand until December 30.