By Tiffany Markman, copywriter, editor and mom to an almost-four-year-old, who tries to balance her workaholism with cuddles, books, caffeine & reining in her intrinsic kugelry. Follow Tiffany on twitter.
From touchy-feely toddler deliciousness to beautiful creatures for tweens and scary-sassy-heartbreak for teens, plus everything you can think of in between, including science, there are some exciting trends coming to children’s publishing* in 2015.
I’ve grouped them by (approximate) age, so you know what to look for:
Pre-schoolers aged 2-4
The big themes here are cloth books with tactile sensations for little hands, sturdy fold-out hard covers, and early learning, including titles like The Birthday Party, Sports Day, Best Friends and We Are Family (the latter two are beautiful).
Stickers – especially bumper books of 10,000 stickers like Priddy Books’ mammoth Stickerpedia – and activities (colouring, doodling, crafts) are huge. As the mom of a kid who sort-of-likes-but-isn’t-really-into-stickers, I don’t get it. But anyway…
Look out for: Best Friends, We Are Family, and What the Ladybird Heard Next.
Early readers aged 5-7
There are some gorgeous new titles from Roger Hargreaves of Mr Men fame, on telling the time, counting and the ABCs. And there are newbies – like Hugless Douglas Goes to Little School (about that all-important first day) and Please Mr Panda (about manners) and oldies, including Maisy, Timmy Failure and Bear Hunt.
I really like the Must-Know Stories (Level 1), spanning age-old favourites like Jack & the Beanstalk and The Boy Who Cried Wolf and extending to the lesser-known tales of Romulus & Remus and Finn MacCool & the Giant’s Causeway.
Stickers are seriously major here too, with epic tomes of fairies and beasts plus activity books, songbooks and gift editions from Julia Donaldson of The Gruffalo.
Look out for: A new Charlie & Lola, Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans, The Giant of Jum, Dinosaurs Have Feelings Too and My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish.
‘Solo’ readers aged 8-10
This often-neglected category is not neglected this year. It’s dominated by dragons, mermaids, secret kingdoms, gods, goddesses and mythical beasties, a la Daisy Meadows and Rosie Banks. It’s also (hooray!) filled with a whole array of newly packaged ‘old’ favourites from the wonderful Enid Blyton, including The Famous Five.
You can expect some seriously cool science-y books from the brilliant zoologist Prof Nicola Davies, called What’s Eating You? (on parasites), Survivors: The Toughest Creatures on Earth and (I’m not joking) a previously published title, Poo.
Look out for: A drawing book by Marta Altes called You Are An Artist! and the wide-ranging retro return – 150 years since it first appeared – of Alice in Wonderland.
Tweens & teens aged 11-15
For tweens and young teens are newly jacketed classics by Judy Blume (including Deenie and Are You There God?) and Meg Cabot (of The Princess Diaries). There is also the genius 13-Storey Treehouse and its 26-storey and 39-storey followers.
And then there are the Eco Works books, covering solar power, carbon footprints, community gardens, electric and hybrid cars, recycling and renewable energy.
Look out for: the Eco Works range, the High-Tech Science range, and a fantastic book called The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, about a tween who has OCD.
Young adults aged 16+
This category, as expected, has many echoes of Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Divergent on the fiction side, many of which are parts of trilogies and series. There is also considerable homage to the genre of John Green’s The Fault In My Stars.
Surprising, however, are the non-fiction titles dedicated to entrepreneurship – specifically: how to start businesses in fashion, food/drink, gadgetry and green tech. And then there are the titles I really didn’t see coming: History Makers: Gay People Who Changed the World and What is Humanism? How Do You Live Without a God?
Look out for: The Thing About Jellyfish, A Thousand Nights and Firewalker.
* These trends were gathered at the PanMacmillan Children’s Book Conference, where Priddy Books, Hachette/Hodder, Watts/Wayland, Walker Books and Macmillan presented their 2015 titles. It is by no means exhaustive.