We’re back! And happy that you are, too. 2012 was a successful year for RedeemedReader: lots of visitors, provocative posts, four youthful interns to help us with our daily tasks. God willing, 2013 will be a fruitful year for us as well—and you! We have plans . . .
And so does the publishing world. Last month, the editors at Scholastic (possibly the most successful children’s book publisher of all time) predicted the ten major trends of the coming year—all of which, conveniently, are represented by upcoming titles from Scholastic. Their trends won’t be our trends, but part of our mission is keeping an eye on the world out there to see what it considers valuable. Some of it might even be instructive for us.
- Bullying is back—though of course, it never went away. “The fact is nearly every child will face or witness the effects of bullying at some point in their lives.” This isn’t news, and children’s authors have never been reluctant to tackle it, at least as far back as Little Lord Fauntleroy. But much of the subject’s contemporary edge comes from the subtle or not-so-subtle promoting of homosexuality, with all opposition classified as “bullying.” That’s not to say that all books of that theme are linked to the gay agenda, but with the appearance of highly-touted novels with LGBT characters (mostly YA, but not all) expect to see more “bullying” stories linked to so-called intolerance of homosexuality.
- Science fiction (as opposed to fantasy) is on the rise. Since the appearance of The Hunger Games in 2006, dystopian novels—a subgenre of sci-fi–have cut a blazing path through YA publishing, clearing the way for more mainline science fiction on the order of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. We hope to do some in-depth posts on children’s sci-fi in the coming months.
- Nonfiction will get some respect. With the acceptance of a Common Core curriculum, which requires more reading of nonfiction in public schools, publishers are scrambling to fill the gap with biographies and histories. Steve Sheinkin is an author to watch in this category. I’ll review his history of the atomic bomb later this month, and he’ll have a Lincoln title appearing before Abe’s birthday. I’ll also bring us up to speed on an excellent Christian history series.
- The Wimpy Kid is just the beginning. The latest Wimpy Kid novel (The Third Wheel) by Jeff Kinney has just sold one million physical copies, and its distinctive format (“novel in cartoon”) has been slavishly followed by The Dork Diaries and Big Nate. More to come. By the way, I’ll review The Third Wheel next week.
- More movies! The highly-anticipated cinema version of Cassandra Claire’s Mortal Instruments YA urban fantasy series arrives this spring. So far I’ve avoided Cassandra Claire, but I guess I’ll have to give her a try. Also, tying in with the sci-fi trend, watch for the movie version of Orson Scott Card’s classic Ender’s Game. And others, of which we will keep you informed.
- War—what is it good for? Selling books! World War II remains the top-selling conflict but watch for more Civil War titles, in keeping with the sesquicentennial still going on. This July marks 150 years since the largest land battle ever fought in the western hemisphere. (Guess) We’ll be on it.
- Girls are getting tougher. We’re all for tough girls here, but would like to see some acknowledgement that girls can be tough in different ways than boys. The publishing world would rather not, so expect to see more butt-kicking heroines on the order of Katniss Everdeen.
- Survival stories don’t just survive—they thrive. In fact, the host of Survivor, Jeff Probst, has a page-turner due in February. I fully expect our friend Andrew Klavan will have something for us this year, too.
- “Diversity” continues to divert. That partly explains the growth in novels with homosexual themes, but publishers are also seeking characters of various ethnicities and cultures. We’ll see how the readership responds . . . .
- Nature revolts. For instance, this month I’ll reviewing not one, but two, new middle-grade series about the world going to the dogs—literally. Other enviro-thillers are on their way—what The Lorax hath wrought.
As for the trends at RedeemedReader, we’ll be following the movies, the study Bibles and story Bibles and devotional guides, reporting on what’s excellent and praiseworthy in both old books and new, soliciting your opinions and giving away books to readers. This year will be interesting . . . in all kinds of ways!