UK children are not reading classic books in schools such as the works of JRR Tolkien. Instead, they are being drawn to dystopian fiction by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth.
The seventh version of What Kids Are Reading report has just been released and it analyses the reading habits of over 500,000 children in over 2,700 schools in the United Kingdom. It revealed that Tolkien’s books have dropped out of the overall most popular list for the first time since the report began six years ago. In previous years, Tolkien’s titles have featured within the chart’s top 10 places, mostly among secondary-school children.
What are kids reading these days? Well for the most part they are enamored Suzanne Collins’s Catching Fire, from the Hunger Games series, Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series.
The report basically summed up that children’s reading habits fell into two “distinct” categories – either dystopian fantasies by the likes of Collins, Clare and Roth, or what it described as “irreverent, larger than life anti-hero comedies” such as Kinney’s Wimpy Kid stories, Dahl’s The Twits or Walliams’ Gangsta Granny. “While the primary chart top 20 is split down the middle, featuring equal amounts of comedy and fantasy, by secondary school the ‘most popular’ charts almost exclusively feature darker conflicts from an epic fantasy genre,” it said.
Why has Tolkien fell out of the top 10? Well, it can primarily be attributed to the fact that all of his works are now available in film. The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogy are now completed and likely the vast number of people interested in this franchise have seen the films. Whereas the Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments and the Hunter Games are ongoing.