The Most Popular Children’s Book Genres of 2023

Are you interested in writing a children’s book, but don’t know where to start? Choosing the right genre can be a helpful first step. In this post, we’ll explore the most popular genres for children’s books, sorted by age group. We’ll cover the themes, styles, and authors that have proven successful with young readers. Whether you’re new to writing or a seasoned author, our guide can provide you with inspiration and guidance to help you create a book that young readers will love. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of children’s book genres!

Based on bestselling children’s books, several genres consistently prove popular among young readers. Keep in mind that trends can change over time, and the following list is not exhaustive. These are some of the most popular genres in children’s literature:

Youngest readers (Ages 0-4)

  • Board Books: Board books are designed specifically for young children, with thick pages that are easy for little hands to turn. They often feature simple text and bright, colorful illustrations. Examples include “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.
  • Concept Books: Concept books introduce young children to basic concepts such as colors, numbers, and shapes. They often feature simple illustrations and minimal text. Examples include “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr. and “Moo, Baa, La La La!” by Sandra Boynton.
  • Picture Books: Picture books with engaging illustrations and simple, age-appropriate text can also be suitable for young children. Examples include “Corduroy” by Don Freeman and “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney.

Early Readers (Ages 4-8)

  • Picture Books: Picture books combine engaging illustrations with simple, age-appropriate text. They are perfect for young children and cover various themes, such as friendship, family, and self-discovery. Examples include “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak and “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss.
  • Beginner Chapter Books: These books typically feature larger fonts, shorter chapters, and simpler language, making them accessible to children who are just starting to read on their own. Examples include “Frog and Toad Are Friends” by Arnold Lobel and “Mercy Watson to the Rescue” by Kate DiCamillo.

Middle Grade (Ages 8-12)

  • Fantasy: The fantasy genre, which includes magical worlds, mythical creatures, and extraordinary adventures, captivates the imagination of children. Examples include the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling and “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis.
  • Adventure: Adventure stories often feature exciting journeys, daring quests, and relatable protagonists who face challenges and overcome obstacles. Examples include “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan.
  • Mystery: Mystery stories engage children by presenting intriguing puzzles, enigmatic clues, and suspenseful plotlines. Popular examples include “Nancy Drew” by Carolyn Keene, “The Hardy Boys” by Franklin W. Dixon, and “The Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler Warner.
  • Humor: Humorous books entertain children with witty dialogue, funny situations, and amusing characters. Examples include “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney and “The Bad Beginning” from “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket.

Young Adult (Ages 12-18)

  • Science Fiction: Science fiction books stimulate children’s curiosity by exploring futuristic settings, advanced technology, and imaginative concepts. Examples include “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle and “The Giver” by Lois Lowry.
  • Historical Fiction: Historical fiction allows children to explore different time periods and cultures through engaging stories. Examples include “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry and “Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  • Realistic Fiction: Realistic fiction explores relatable themes, such as friendship, family, and personal growth. These stories resonate with readers by presenting characters and situations that mirror their own experiences. Examples include “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio and “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson.
  • Romance: These books typically explore themes of first love and self-discovery, and often feature complex and relatable characters. Examples include “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han and “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell.

It’s important to note that there is often overlap between these genres, and that individual readers may have unique preferences that do not fit neatly into these categories. However, these genres have consistently proven popular among young readers and can provide a starting point for authors who want to write books that will appeal to a wide audience.

To learn more about publishing children’s books in the traditional, indie, and self-publishing methods, check out our post on Publishing Children’s Books for some valuable insights and tips.

If you’re interested in writing a children’s book, our post on How to Write a Children’s Book Manuscript can provide you with some helpful tips and guidance.

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