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

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