· changing perspectives, including more books from female and minority points of view
· changing boundaries, including books about formerly taboo topics, such as teen pregnancy and racism.
The second and third changes closely parallel those changes found in other parts of society. However, perhaps because changing form and format is the most radically visual of the three, this type - the first prediction - currently seems to be getting the widest attention in the book world.
This form and format trend in children's books is a selling point for publishers who are eager to take advantage of the youth book market. "Diary of Wimpy Kid," written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, is a novelization of what began as an online comic strip. This novel-length version is a bestseller in children's chapter books. The pages look like the diary entries of the narrator, a deadpan seventh-grade boy, complete with stick-figure drawings, cartoon bubble punch lines, and handwritten type.
Even the nation's literary awards committees are taking notice and paying respect. This year's Caldecott Medal winner, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick, weaves together elements of novel, film, picture book and flip book to create a unique form of juvenile fiction geared toward middle and advanced readers. Typically, the Caldecott is awarded to a book consisting of more pictures than words that is geared toward pre- or early readers.
So, yes, like the rest of the world, the book has gone digital. But, like all things nondigital, "handheld" reads have had to renew their appeal. We predict that the trend in writing and publishing books in unique forms and format is likely to stick around for awhile.
Inventive formats are the latest thing in children's books. To find out why, come by the Children's Department and check out one of these books.
· "17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore" by Jenny Offill (ages 4 to 11)
Collage by illustrator Nancy Carpenter make the reader fall right into this story of a precocious child and her disastrous ideas.
· "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan (for ages 11 to 17)
A wordless graphic novel about a man who arrives in a new country to make a new life for himself.
· "Chester" by Melanie Watt (ages 4 to 8)
The title character, who is a cat, keeps rewriting the author's story about a mouse.
· "Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat" by Lynne Jonnell (ages 9 to 12)
A page-turning story whose margins are enhanced by also being a flipbook of an "incredible shrinking rat."
· "Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf" by Jennifer Holm (ages 8 to 12)
A novel in "stuff" - to-do lists, IMs, clippings, assignments, bank statements - gives an age-old theme a new twist.
· "Regarding the Bees" by Kate Klise (ages 8 to 12)
The humorous shenanigans of a seventh-grade middle school class are told through letters, memos, test excerpts, illustrations and the like.
· "Scoop!: An Exclusive by Monty Molenski" by John Kelly and Cathy Tinckell (ages 5 to 8)
See the world through the eyes of this unlikely journalist by reading his reporter's notebook and reading the headlines of the Daily Roar.
· "Sticky Burr" by John Lechner (ages 6 to 10)
Part graphic novel, part picture book, part journal, this book tells the adventures of an unlikely hero.
· "Tickets to Ride" by Mark Rogalski (ages 6 to 11)
A fantastical, all-age alphabet book full of computer-generated illustrations depicting mechanical animal carnival rides.
Catherine Hall is children's librarian with the Washington County Free Library.