Recently the Bookseller announced that just 4.9% of all reviews were children’s books, which seems strange when you consider that the Independent stated that in 2018 the children’s book market had grown yet again and was now worth a whopping £383 million.
As adults and children alike enjoy a wide range of increasingly complicated and enticing books, it begs the question: why aren’t they getting reviewed?
It could be a case of poor management on their publisher’s parts: after all, a big part of any book promotion is marketing, of which reviews are a part, and if they’re not coordinated properly then they simply won’t work/ happen.
A big part, however, is most probably the lack of respect that marketing firms and publications alike have for kid’s books. Everyone seems to think they’re poorly done and not as important or good as fiction aimed at adults, when in fact when they’re well done children’s books are skilfully crafted masterpieces rich in characterisation and description. Considering the greater limitations that children’s authors have placed on them, I’d even go so far as to suggest that it’s harder to write a book for kids than for adults.
So, what is there to be done? Well, for starters the book reviewing industry needs to change. I myself will be working to add more young adult books to my blog (given that it’s a crime fiction blog it’s hard to find much kid’s fiction that gritty enough, but I’ll try). For the wider market, work needs to be done to educate more reviewers about the importance and value that’s to be found in children’s literature.
However, the biggest change that really needs to be made is a greater focus on getting young people to review books. After all, they’re written with them in mind, so they should be reviewing them too. In today’s modern society where every 4 year old has an iPad, computers are incredibly accessible and more young people should be using them to write reviews of the books they enjoy.
At the end of the day, I’m always encouraging people, especially young people, to read more, as are many others, but when it comes to writing there’s less encouragement, and that’s simply wrong. We should be pushing more young people to get out there and start reviewing the books they like to read. They don’t even have to get their work published; as this very blog illustrates, anyone can set up their own space to share their reviews, so there’s literally no excuse not to!