Nancy's Books

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trends in Children's Literature/Calls for Submissions

Even though editors ask us to write stories we feel compelled to write, it’s nice to keep up with the trends in children’s literature. Here’s a list released last week from Scholastic.

1. The expanding Young Adult (YA) audience
2. The year of dystopian fiction The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. Dystopian fiction features stories that indicate the future will be worse than the present.
3. Mythology-based fantasy: Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series set the trend – and now series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls are capitalizing.
4. Multimedia series: The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek and The Search for WondLa are hooking readers with stories that go beyond the printed page and meet kids where they are online or via video.
5. A focus on popular characters – from all media: Kids love to read books about characters they know and recognize from books, movies and television shows. Titles centered around those popular characters (like Fancy Nancy, David Shannon's David, or Toy Story characters) are top sellers.
6. The shift in picture books: Publishers are publishing about 25 to 30 percent fewer picture book titles than they used to as some parents want their kids to read more challenging books at younger ages. The new trend is leading to popular picture book characters such as Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books.
7. The return to humor: Given the effects of the recession on families, it is nice to see a rise in the humor category, fueled by the success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dav Pilkey's The Adventures of Ook & Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, and popular media characters like SpongeBob, and Phineas & Ferb.
8. The rise of the diary and journal format: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is the most well-know example of this trend, but the success of Wimpy Kid is leading to popular titles such as Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate.
9. Special-needs protagonists: There is a growing body of literary fiction with main characters who have special needs, particularly Aspergers Syndrome and Autism. Examples: My Brother Charlie, Marcelo in the Real World, Mockingbird, and Rules.
10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires: The success of titles like Shiver, Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters shows this genre is still uber-popular and continues to expand.

Calls for submissions

Hazard Community & Technical College is hosting their annual Young Appalachian Poets Award. Any poet, high school aged or younger, may submit their original poetry. First prize includes $100 and publication in Kudzu; Second Place is $50 and publication in Kudzu. Up to five original poems may be submitted as attached documents to or Please include a brief biographical statement and put YAPA in the subject line. The deadline is January 30th.

KUDZU, HCTC’s literary magazine, is seeking submissions for its spring 2011 issue. Send your original poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. Submissions must be in either Word or as an RTF and emailed as attached documents to No snail mail submissions will be accepted. Please contact Professor Scott Lucero at 1-800-246-7521, ext 73200, or at for more detailed submission guidelines. Deadline is January 15, 2011.

Highlights Magazine is looking for stories.

Rebus Stories (ages 4-6) up to 100 words, Joëlle Dujardin, Senior Editor.
Beginning Readers (ages 6 to 8), up to 500 words, Joëlle Dujardin, Senior Editor. Wants humorous stories, folktales, holiday stories, sports stories.
Fiction for Independent Readers (ages 8 to 12), up to 800 words, Joëlle Dujardin, Senior Editor, Wants mysteries, humorous stories, adventure stories, historical fiction, sports stories.
Details at

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