Thursday, 7 January 2016

Happy 2016! Our hopes (and fears) for a brand new year of book blogging - A ReadItDaddy Editorial

It's lovely to see you again, and hopefully by now you're all settling into the new year nicely. We've been catching up with all the books and posts we've been queueing up over the Christmas holidays and now we're firmly back into our groove.

Looking ahead even just a few months at some of the new releases due in 2016, we can tell you that you're in for a LOT of cool stuff arriving this year whether you're a new parent looking for brill books for babies, are reading picture books to your child, letting them take their first faltering steps in reading on their own or have a surly tweenager or teenager at home who picks and chooses their own books.

Kicking off our new batch of (hopefully fairly regular) editorials, we thought we'd come up with 5 things we hope to see in 2016 and also 5 things we hope we won't!

In no particular order then, we're really looking forward to: 

1) New books from some of our established faves. A new Jon Klassen "Hat" book is on the way from Walker Books and there's also the prospect of a whole new "Hilda" adventure from Luke Pearson / NoBrow / Flying Eye this year, which has us positively champing at the bit!

2) An even stronger year for non-fiction. 2015 was an amazing and brilliant year for really good quality non-fiction titles from Wide Eyed Editions, Usborne, Big Picture Press and so many others. We really hope that there'll be even more diverse and brilliant topics covered this year and we're hopelessly excited about some of the new history titles we've seen previewed from Thames and Hudson and others.

3) Middle Grade fiction making huge strides in the same way YA did last year. Again, with the focus of our blog becoming more on MG and less on picture books for young readers we're looking for the new standout titles from authors who are making MG chapter books their own, and also seeing how various publishers (such as Macmillan, Walker and Faber) are really putting their own stamp on the formats that are becoming mainstays in MG.

4) Great book events. It's a no-brainer that there'll inevitably be a ton of fantastic book events happening during 2016, I'd personally love to see more that didn't come with a hefty entry fee and are open to all, expanding the level of interest beyond hardcore book folk!

5) More diversity, more books with broad gender appeal, more interesting subjects tackled in books for younger readers (kids aren't dumb so don't dumb things down for them, and a hugely successful year for print AND digital because the two formats really can benefit and compliment each other - it really isn't a format 'war'

And in no particular order, 5 things we'd love to see the back of in 2016

1) Girl / Boy books. Old fashioned, outdated, and generally not needed nor wanted - let's put them to bed in 2016 for once and for all!

2) Tedious "School" books that don't encourage or engage. It's been one of our frustrations during Charlotte's reading journey that in general, the books she brings home from school are gone through as a 'chore' and as a measurement exercise rather than doing what they should be doing - really getting her interested in books and reading, and engaging her. This is always going to be a tricky one but since she became a 'free reader' at school and could go and choose her own books from the library, we've noticed far less reluctance to 'school reading' and tons more interest, in line with the work we put in with her ourselves.

3) Diversity treated as some kind of amazing and fantastic unique 'selling' point. Diversity in children's literature should be celebrated for sure, but it should also be the norm. All kids should be able to see themselves in books, movies, magazines, TV and internet content they're exposed to BY DEFAULT and there's so much more work to be done here not just with race and gender but with so many other aspects of diversity too.

4) Disney / Marvel / DC to stop bloody well treating girls like some weird species that only likes their products or characters if they're dressed up in Taffeta ball gowns. Mighty girls need more than that, mighty girls want superheroes and brilliant character merchandise just as much as the mighty boys do and if I see one more Star Wars Force Awakens product line arriving on shelves WITHOUT REY I'll be shouting about it from the rooftops until something changes.

5) Format wars. There's a place for E-books, and there's a place for print and both can exist in perfect harmony whether you're dedicated to your kindle or love the tangible feel of having a ton of books on shelves around your home. So many times we see the press leaping on any drop in either side's sales with glee which is just completely stupid and makes no sense. Personally I'd love to see both flourishing because more sales = a more healthy publishing market, more encouragement for publishers, authors and artists to do the amazing things they do and in general more people reading than staring dead-eyed at TV screens or hilarious cat or minecraft videos on YouTube.

We hope you'll stay with us on our book journey in 2016 and we look forward to hearing from you in our comments or on our social network feeds.

Love love love

Phil, Ali and Charlotte @ ReadItDaddy