It is usually said that young people don’t read, but rather they spend their time on social media, watching TV, playing video games, or simply hanging out with friends. However, this ignores the best-selling book lists, where you will find a wealth of books for teens.

Nowadays, teenagers are able to access a wide catalogue of books for young people, and read them in hard copy as well as in digital format and on a wide variety of gadgets. No doubt this has contributed to the incredible popularity of this kind of literature of the last years, which has become a new golden age of young fiction.

Key Facts

  • As well as literature for children, books for young people have seen a golden age in the last few years. From horror to science fiction, through to topics such as LGBT and romance, almost all themes are addressed in this type of literature. Nevertheless, the limits of the youth literature continue to be not so well defined.
  • Kids books cover a wide range of themes and with its influence reaches other media, such as film and TV. On the other hand, they have adapted very well to modern times, addressing topics like bullying and terminal diseases, which were not until now common on the books for teenagers.
  • The huge quantity of titles available for teenagers which are published makes it complicated to choose the most appropriate. This involves considering various aspects of the book. The topics addressed by the author, the likes and interests of the young person, if it is a boy or a girl, and whether you prefer a bestseller; these are some of the things to think about before going for a book or another.

Ranking: 5 kids books to introduce you to the genre

Below we will offer a selection of the 5 best-selling kids books in 2019. There is a huge number of titles for young people published every year, which cover a variety of genres. From science fiction and fantasy to romantic novels, basically, every genre is represented in youth literature.

No. 1: Shadowspell Academy: The Culling Trials

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This is the first book in the very popular Shadowspell Academy series. From the fantasy genre, bestselling author Jaymin Eve describes it as “Harry Potter meets the Hunger Games in a bold twist on a classic magical young adult adventure.”

Written by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer, young readers will be taken on an action-packed journey through a fantasy world of a secret magical school hidden away under the surface of the real world.

No. 2: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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This youth literature classic has delighted young readers for generations and continues to dominate the bestseller lists. The legendary Chronicles of Narnia series takes readers into a fantasical world hidden beyond a wardrobe in the time of the Second World War.

Although ‘The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe’ is officially the second book in this famous series, it is often regarded as the first in the series and can easily be read without having read the other book as a pre-requisite.

No. 3: Throne of Glass

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‘The Throne of Glass’ is the first book in the incredibly popular and New York Times bestselling series by Sarah J. Maas. It is a thrilling read set in an epic fantasy world and has been compared to the legendary books of authors Tamora Pierce and George R.R. Martin.

This edition comes in a deluxe package which include brand new page designs which will delight the many fans of this series.

No. 4: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is by far the most popular children’s book series in recent years, if not of all time. The series officially consists of seven books, with a number of spin-off and special feature titles. The central seven books have been adapted into films, all of which were a smash hit at the box office.

These books are suitable for reader of all ages, from children in primary school to adults. They are great ones for parents to read with their children. ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is the first book in the series and will be sure to introduce anyone to a life-long passion for these books.

No. 5: Tomorrow, When the War Began

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“Tomorrow When The War Began” is the first book in the Tomorrow series by John Marsden, one of Australia’s best authors for young people. The series in the action/thriller genre and is based around a group of teenagers from a small town who are caught up in disaster when Australia is invaded by a foreign power.

As you can imagine, this novel deals with serious themes and issues, and can be very insightful for teenagers and young readers, while being a gripping and exciting read which is sure to keep them interested.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about kids books

Books are always a great gift, and even more so when the recipient is a teenager. However, due to the number of books for young people on the market, it is not always easy to choose the best or most appropriate one. Now, we will answer some questions which you have probably wondered about this type of literature.

One of the classifying criteria for kids books is the age of its characters.
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What are kids books exactly?

Several experts of literature have tried to define what is youth literature. However, making the distinction between a book written for an adult and another written for young readers is not always easy. One of the criteria which qualifies a book as youth literature is the age of the main characters, which is generally somewhere between 13 and 20 years old.

There are no taboo topics in youth literature. Any topic, no matter how controversial it is, can be adapted by the writer for it to be understood and appreciated by younger people. From bullying in school and homophobia to first love and sex, any issue can be covered in a novel for young people if it is presented in an appropriate way.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals”.

Another factor which defines kids books or youth literature is whether it is easy to read. These types off books try to not only entertain but also to encourage young people to develop reading habits. Because of this, they have simple plots which are not too deep not a high level of reading, with the aim of not discouraging not being boring to someone who is just starting as a reader.

What kids books have been adapted into movies?

Along with superhero comics, kids books have been one of the main sources of inspiration for Hollywood in recent years. Knowing the kind of drawcard these novels represent, movie studios commission various films based on youth literature every year, with some of them becoming smash hits in the box office.

One of the most successful movie franchises of recent years has been “The Hunger Games”. Based on the trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, the film saga consists of not just three but four movies. Released from 2012 to 2015, the four movies together made almost 3 billion dollars globally.

One of the marvels of reading is that you can experience distant locations, do impossible feats, and live through great events.
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Other kids books which have been adapted to the cinema in recent years include “The Maze Runner” by James Dasher, “Nightmares” by R. L. Stine, “The Host” by Stephanie Meyer, “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan and “City of Bones: Shadowhunters” by Cassandra Clare, to name but a few.

What thought-provoking kids books are there?

Although youth fiction is adapted to the thoughts and feelings of young people, doesn’t need to avoid deep issues. A great example of this is “The fault in our stars” by John Green, which addresses serious issues like how we treat the terminally ill.

Another book which veers away from the topics traditionally covered in youth fiction is “On the other side of truth” by Shía Arbulú which covers issues such as corruption and the economic crisis. Another example is Angie Thomas’ “The hatred you give” which is about racism and political violence in modern America.

What LGBT-themed kids books are there?

Adolescence is a time of life which defines our sexuality. The theme of sexual identity. It is not surprising, therefore, that the issue of sexual identity, is found in many novels for young people. “Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe” by Benjamin Alire, for example, addresses issues such as the challenges coming out.

I’ll give you the sun” by Jandy Nelson is another youth title that explores the search for sexual identity, along with “Call me by your name” by André Aciman. This last book, also recently adapted as a movie, tells the story of two teenagers discovering their sexuality in the Italy of the late 1980s.

When you are submerged into the pages of a book, you cannot tear yourself away.
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What classic kids books are the best-sellers?

In the context of the wide range and popularity of youth literature linked to cinema and television, we should not forget that this is a genre of literature that has been around for centuries. We surely all read literary classics in our youth, such as the adventure novels of Jules Verne, “The Famous Five” series by Enid Blyton, or the action/thriller books by John Marsden.

Another great youth classic is “The Three Musketeers” by Alejandro Dumas, a novel initially published as a serial, which still retains all its charm and originality. Another classic which is essential reading for young people is “Little Women”, by Louisa May Alcott, a faithful portrait of the passage from adolescence to maturity in the background of the American Civil War.

Eragon, by Christopher Paolini

“Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh, cry and find meaning in life”.

On the bestseller lists of kids books, along with the more recent titles, you will often find literary classics. Apart from the literary editions of these books, publishers are more and more releasing annotated versions of these classics, illustrated ones, and even those which have been adapted for young people. As we have seen, these classics and more popular than ever.

Which kids books have been adapted for TV?

With the rise of streaming platforms which are now widely used in Australian homes, TV series are now more popular than ever. Many of these series find that their most loyal fans are young people, leading to publishers choosing to launch a number of series of books for young people based on TV shows.

This is nothing new. Shows aimed at adolescents and teenagers from years past, such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Beverly Hills 90210″ have been made into series of books. More recently, youth fiction like “The Vampire Diaries” and “The 100″, the latter relating to science fiction, have been made into TV series.

Today you have the option to read a book in its physical form, or in a digital form using an electronic device.
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Which youth literature has less than 200 pages?

Getting into reading isn’t the same for everyone. Some young people are easily able to tackle books which are 500 pages long, while others need to start with something shorter. There are classic kids books which don’t go over 200 pages, like “The Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad or “Juan Salvador Gaviota” by Richard Bach.

Many of the more recent kids novels fall under 200 pages, such as “Xenia, you have a Whatsapp”, by Gemma Pasqual, “The lunatic loves”, by Lorenzo Silva, or “The spirit of last summer”, by Susana Vallejo, to name just a few. Books like these are the ideal way to sow the seeds of a love of reading which will last a lifetime.

There are many books these days which have been adapted for TV.
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What are the most popular thriller and mystery books for young people?

The thriller and mystery genre also has many fans who are young people. Although the most shocking and confronting elements of these genres are taken out, mystery novels for young people can be just as entertaining as those in the adult sphere. An example of this is “The missing detective” by David Blanco, a detective novel which is also very funny.

Thriller is another of the most popular genres within youth literature, and has been treated with mastery by writers like Manuel Alfonseca. In his novel “The Night Dwellers” he tells the story of a young journalist who travels to the distant lands of the Congo and confronts the horrors which dwell in the shadows.

Shopping criteria

While adult readers are quite definite about their favourites, young people still have a number of themes, genres and narrative styles to explore. Such being the case, it is important for us to consider various factors when buying books for adolescents and teenagers, who are inexperienced yet still very demanding.

  • Readers’ favourites and interests
  • Is the reader a boy or a girl?
  • Themes
  • Bestsellers or unknown titles?
  • Realistic or imaginative?

Readers’ favourites and interests

Frequent readers who are 12 years old or above, often develop a particular preference for certain themes and genres. It would be reasonable, therefore, if we intend to present a book for their sake, to find out what kinds of books they are passionate about. Also, their personality becomes a crucial factor when it comes to choosing reading material.

André GideFrench writer

“Before writing a book, you should ask: who will read them? And for people you should ask: what do they read? And finally, the books and people meet”.

Is the reader a boy or a girl?

In most cases, kids books are intended for young readers of both sexes. Among them, there are some dealing with romance which are generally more popular with girls. The distinction between literary works for girls and those for boys is increasingly blurred, with most themes transcending genre barriers.

Themes

Many publishers specify age limits in their series of books that geared towards young people. Other books, on the other hand, can be more difficult to define a certain age group. Accordingly, you should be careful to check the themes covered in the book and how they are dealt with.

Bestsellers or unknown titles?

Any bestseller is generally a safe bet for any young person. However, this means we sometimes fail to notice lesser-known literary masterpieces that may not be on the bestseller lists. Here it is a good idea to check the comments and reviews left by other readers.

There are a range of themes in young literature, so you are sure to find something suitable.
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Realistic or imaginative?

All youth fiction, though aiming to enhance the imagination and creativity of adolescents, must contain have some level of realism. Some youth novels have a plot which provides a mere excuse to teach adolescents, whereas others are purely escapist. In either case, the ideal choice will be to find some level of equilibrium between entertainment and teaching a lesson.

Summary

It is not easy to select just 5 suitable titles from the large number of kids books put out by publishers year after year. However, we believe that these choices will be to the liking of many young readers. We have also offered you answers to a series of questions that you may have asked yourself in regard to this type of literature.

Finally, and to help you address the ever-challenging task of choosing a juvenile book, we have provided you with a simple guide covering five key questions you should ask before settling on a book for a young person.

We hope that, if you have found it useful, you will share our article on social media and let us know what you think in the comments section.

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