What are some upcoming trends?
Reality-based fiction is certainly the trend for YA. Teens want to read about other kids going through things they can relate to—granted these situations are often heightened for dramatic impact. For middle-grade, kids are crazy about graphic novels and heavily illustrated novels. And I don’t blame them—there is so much good stuff in the genres. From Cece Bell’s El Deafo (which was the first graphic novel to receive a Newbery—yeah!) to Smile to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, both girls and boys are reading and rereading these books. What I love about this genre is that it seems to be gender-neutral. Nine-year-old boys are reading Smile and Zita the Spacegirl. If it’s a good, action-packed story, it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s about a boy or a girl.
Superfun nonfiction will continue to grow and grow. Kids love facts and figures and weird tidbits of miscellany. The focus Common Core has on nonfiction will encourage more nonfiction sales both in the classroom as well as in the bookstore. Our Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales is really hitting its stride. Hale takes on juicy parts of history and makes them very readable. I’m looking forward to his spring book on the Alamo.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
To jump on the #weneedmorediverse books bandwagon, I want more diverse books! And adding a token gay character or Asian friend isn’t enough. I want children’s literature to reflect the world in which kids live—a world of kids of all color from all types of families from every socioeconomic background in every corner of our planet. The books shouldn’t be overly didactic or message-heavy. Kids want to see themselves reflected in books, and it’s our responsibility to make that happen. *Stepping off my soapbox*
Another trend from my childhood that I’d love to see return is the horror novels of the late ’80s. I’m thinking Christopher Pike or Lois Duncan. I loved those books when I was younger. They were reality-based but heightened with a crazed killer or random haunting.
As an aside, I asked my kids this question. My 8-year-old said: a graphic novel about cats or a novel about cats. And my 4-year-old said: a book about “boo-boos.”
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Trilogies about dystopian societies or books about dystopia or just plain old trilogies.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
Abrams began over 65 years ago as an art book publisher. Beautiful, well-designed books are in our blood. Our books have brains and beauty—great content and gorgeous packages. We publish books that people want to physically hold in their hands and give as gifts. When advances come in, people will ooh and aah over the finished product. We even have a sales manager who will smell them—she loves the smell of a freshly printed book. Abrams has a passion for books.
Jody Mosley is the associate publisher of Abrams Books, Children’s Division. Prior to this position, she was the director of special markets. Jody has held sales positions at Hachette, MacMillan, and Random House. Having just finished reading every single novel on Abram’s amazing spring 2016 list, she’s now reading Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbor and wondering if he’d ever take a stab at YA.