Common Characteristics Of Best-selling Children’s Books

As outlined by Nodelman and Reimer in The Pleasures of Children’s Literature, here are the common-characteristics of best-selling modern children’s books.

  1. They are written and sold as part of a series.
  2. They have a simple and straightforward writing style.
  3. Central characters are enough like their intended audience for readers to relate to and identify with them. These characters tend to be underdogs (weak/poor/young/otherwise powerless). In the story, these underdogs will need to deal with theoretically more powerful enemies.
  4. There’s a clear distinction between the “goodies” and “baddies”. There’s not much moral ambiguity.
  5. The plots are straightforward and focus on action rather than description/setting/characters’ thoughts and motivations.
  6. Best-selling children’s books operate as wish-fulfilment fantasies for their readers.
  7. Despite their theoretical lack of power, main characters perform well under pressure, win against great odds and win the admiration of others as a result.

I have analysed quite a few best selling children’s books on this blog. Check out:

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