Children’s books reportedly represent 25% of UK book sales, yet “far less than a fortieth of review space in printed papers is dedicated to them” outgoing Waterstones Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson criticized in a piece in the Telegraph. Ending her two year stint as Children’s Laureate — author Marjorie Blackman succeeds her — Donaldson also pointed out a disparity in treatment of debut and emerging children’s authors versus those who write books for adults. “Whereas a new adult book with an unusual theme or concept might get a slot on radio or television, the same is not true of children’s fiction.”
In the US, at least three children’s book titles, including the wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid are among the bestselling books of 2013 so far; and publishers are turning more attention and resources to the market. Christian Publisher Zondervan is launching a young adult imprint aimed at mainstream readers, while publisher Lizzie Skurnick will re-release out-of-print YA titles that were classics in the ’70s and ’80s. The industry has even created a bridge category for young adults transitioning into adult reads called (what else?) “new adult“. Yet, in spite of the flurry of business activity, US press attention does seem to overwhelmingly favor adult titles while fellowships and literary awards juries often exclude children’s books from eligibility.