Children's Book Council Reviews Dramatic Rise of Graphic Novels Among Children

(From l.): Matthew Baldacci, Erin Berger, Cristin Stickles, and Chantalle Uzan
Photo from Publishers Weekly 

The Children's Book Council (CBC) is a nonprofit trade association of children's book publishers based in North America that is dedicated to supporting the industry and promoting children's books and reading. One of the resources the CBC provides is their CBC Forum Series, a discussion forum that provides pertinent industry information and discussions on current trends and issues. These forums consist of a panel of knowledgeable professionals and consumers from inside and outside the publishing industry such as publishers, librarians, and educators.  

On March 2, the CBC held a forum dedicated to reviewing the 2016 sales trends of children's books. The panel consisted of Erin Berger (VP and Creative Marketing Director of Penguin Random House), Cristin Stickles (Children's and YA buyer), McNally Jackson Books, and Chantalle Uzan (Senior Young Adult Librarian at New York Public Library) with Matthew Baldacci (Director of Business Development at Shelf Awareness) moderating.

The conversations started with an overview of 2016 trends paired with expectations for 2017 and the panelists projections on the types of books that might be missing from library and bookstore shelves. Stickles reported a strong interest in books she described as "emotional tool kits," or titles that address readers' emotional or psychological well-being, as extremely popular among children and young adult readers last year. Further, Uzan observed that many parents sought out books that focused on sight words while other readers were interested in books with authentic voices representing diverse experiences. Working at the Francis Martin Library in the Bronx and serving an international community of library patrons, Uzan reports that from her perspective, readers want "quality stories that better represent their own realities." 

Following these observations, the panelists discussed the dramatic rise of graphic novels among young readers. The panel unanimously agreed that the format is the "fastest growing, best performing category" in children's books, and each of them find themselves dedicating more shelf and floor space to these titles. Uzan calls the graphic novels the "missing link" between on-screen engagment and immersion in a print book. Despite the growth of the category, Uzan discusses some resistance among parents, particularly among immigrant communities, who do not associate graphic novels with serious reading. 

The panel named some of the most popular graphic novels of 2016 included Hope Larson's adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, Raina Telgemeier's Smile and Sisters, the Babysitters Club series, and Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The forum closed by addressing how best to draw readers into bookstores and libraries along with ways publishers, librarians, and booksellers can work together to build community in 2017 and beyond. Berger pointed out that providing "exclusive, in-store experiences" that can't be replicated is pivotal in drawing readers to bookstores, adding that nothing compares to word of mouth when it comes to gaining interest in a book or event. 

The full video of the CBC Forum series is available to CBC members here.


For a list of comparable titles to CBC's shortlist of 2016 favorites, see below:

Title Publisher ISBN, Price
Peter David's Artful Action Lab 9781632292421, $14.99
Paper Girls Vol 3 Image Comics 9781534302235, $12.99
Ocean of Secrets Tokyopop 9781427857149, $10.99
Small Favors Oni Press 9781620103982, $29.99
Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us Oni Press 9781620103838, $39.99
Cloudia and Rex Magnetic Press 9781942367307, $11.99
The Sound of the World By Heart Lion Forge 9781941302385, $24.99
Street Angel: After School Kung Fu Special Image Comics 9781534302877, $19.99
Pirouette Vol 1 Black Mask Comics 9781628751130, $9.99

 

 

|    

Saga Volume 7 Saga Volume 7
Image Comics
From the worldwide bestselling team of FIONA STAPLES and BRIAN K. VAUGHAN, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained SAGA event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. >>
Walking Dead Volume 27: The Whisperer War Walking Dead Volume 27: The Whisperer War
Image Comics
The time has come. The forces are aligning. The war has begun! Has Rick brought about the demise of everything he's built? Or will he triumph once again? Know this... there will be a cost. Collects THE WALKING DEAD #157-162. >>
Providence Act 1 Providence Act 1
Avatar Press
Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Providence Act 1 Hard Cover edition that contains Providence issues #1-4. >>
Paper Girls Volume 1 Paper Girls Volume 1
Image Comics
In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood. >>
Monstress Volume 1: Awakening Monstress Volume 1: Awakening
Image Comics
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900's Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power. >>
Rick and Morty Volume 1 Rick and Morty Volume 1
Oni Press
The hit comic book series based on Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s hilarious [adult swim] animated show RICK & MORTY is now available in its first collection! Join the excitement as depraved genius Rick Sanchez embarks on insane adventures with his awkward grandson Morty across the universe and across time. >>
Disney Manga: Beauty & Beast - Belle's Tale Disney Manga: Beauty & Beast - Belle's Tale
Tokyopop
In Disney's live-action film "Beauty and the Beast," Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. This manga explores Belle's innermost thoughts as she learns that true beauty comes from within. >>
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook
Paizo
This complete standalone fantasy roleplaying game takes your fantasy campaigns to new heights of adventure! Backward-compatible with the 3.5 fantasy rules but offering new solutions and options that place it firmly on the cutting edge, the Pathfinder RPG is the culmination of the largest open public playtest in RPG history. >>
Art of Atari Art of Atari
Dynamite Entertainment Sourced from private collections worldwide, this book spans over 40 years of unique illustrations used in packaging, advertisements, catalogs, and more. >>
Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales Slipcase Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales Slipcase
Penguin Group (UK)
Read legendary stories of monsters and heroes from across the Whoniverse, in this beautifully illustrated collection of dark and dangerous Time Lord fairy tales. Now including a brand new story for 2016, 'The Emporer Dalek's New Clothes', this slipcase is the perfect keepsake for any true Doctor Who fan. >>