Junior fiction – what’s hot and what’s not

It’s a public holiday today, so instead of doing what I should be doing (making questions for the Readers’ Cup), I’ve been ordering replacement FollettBound books – for the ones that have fallen apart and are now out of print.  Easier said than done. There’s a reason (some) books go out of print. And junior fiction is a very special and dare I say, very fickle, niche in children’s books.

I started looking through our lists of what’s circulating and what’s not and it was rather fascinating how tastes, and perhaps even reading ability is changing over the years. Our Junior section caters for the Grade 1 to 3 crowds (6-8 year olds). Or to be more accurate, those who have gone past the early readers and are not quite ready for more substantial chapter books yet.

[Have I ever moaned about Follett Destiny before? If not, just a little aside about how difficult it is to get the kind of reports you’d like to have easily. So for this exercise I ran a “Shelf List” by call number, grouping call numbers together, and requested circulations for the last 2 years and publication date (price is the other alternative – economically useless because for my purposes cost is sunk cost, the only relevant piece of information here would be publication date and acquisition date – since newer books have had less time to circulate… are there any real current or former librarians actually working at Follett one has to wonder?). ]

Looking mainly at series – because this is so the age of reading series, what’s happening amongst my elite little bunch of international kids in Singapore?

What’s Hot 

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 15.03.32

  • Geronimo and Thea Stilton (may I admit I’m not rushing to replace these as they die a natural death through over-circulation?)
  • Billie B Brown
  • Star Wars
  • Heidi Hecklebeck
  • Go Girl
  • Captain Underpants
  • Jake Maddox
  • Sports Illustrated Kids / Jake Maddox
  • Dinosaur Cove (and oldie, still hanging in there)
  • Minecraft adventures / Zombies (I don’t think they’re actually reading these as the level is too high for them – need to replace them with something easier)
  • Secret Kingdom
  • Danger Dan (yay for local authors visiting who make a difference)
  • Jill Tomlinson (yay for teachers who champion good authors)
  • Red Dot Books (anything on the current and prior year’s list)

What’s gaining Traction

  • Scholastic Branches series – especially Princess Pink & Owl Diaries
  • Greetings from Somewhere
  • Galaxy Zack
  • Dragonbreath
  • Kingdom of Wrenly
  • Dory Fantasmagory

What’s Surviving

These titles are circulating regularly but not spectacularly – but not badly enough to be culled. And some may have merit imho so I probably need to push some of them more

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 14.50.50

  • Zac Power
  • EJ12
  • My Weird School
  • Judy Moody
  • Magic Treehouse
  • A-Z mysteries
  • Clementine (I personally love this, so need to push it as a read-aloud)
  • Roald Dahl (the older books do better than the early books)
  • Ready Freddy
  • Cam Jansen
  • Horrid Henry – but not Horrible Harry (both I think are awful)
  • Rainbow Magic (although some titles are not going so may be time to cull a box of these)

What’s Not

  • Marvin Redpost
  • Nancy Drew Notebooks
  • Tashi
  • Bailey School Kids
  • Box Car Children
  • Owen Foote

Find out more about what our students like by visiting our “top 10” lists of Fiction, Junior Fiction, Picture Books and Graphic Novels.

2 thoughts on “Junior fiction – what’s hot and what’s not

  1. I love your collection! I’m curious though, there don’t seem to be any Holly Webb type books. They seem to be still circulating well in the school library I did my placement in…


    1. Great point – those cute little faces will definitely appeal to this demographic however based on the interest level of 3-6 they’re in my library under the “fiction” collection rather than the “junior” fiction – I think I may need to revisit where they best belong.


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