One of the main tasks of the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books is to collect all children’s and YA books published in Sweden. The Book Tasting, where the Swedish Institute of Children’s Books present statistics and analyses based on the children’s and YA books published the previous year, has been an annual event since 1993. The Book Tasting consists of a written report, presentations and an exhibition of all the children’s and YA books published the previous year. All written reports are available in Swedish on our website:

In 2016, a total of 2,414 books for children and young adults were published in Sweden, an increase of 325 titles (16 percent) compared to 2015. The number of children’s and YA books published increased for the seventh year in a row, making 2016 yet another record-breaking year. While this is noticeable in all categories it is most evident in the category picturebooks, with an increase of 100 titles compared to 2015. The increase includes both Swedish and translated titles, but the former continues to dominate: 55 percent of the books published in 2016 were Swedish titles.

The latest increase is closely linked to larger publishers, as the ten largest Swedish publishers stand for over half of the total number of books published in 2016. This is an interesting turn of events as earlier yearly overviews made by the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books have revealed the surge in self-publishing and the growing number of smaller publishers to be the main causes of the early 21th century increase. The present increase in children’s books published may instead be linked to the increase in children’s books sales noted by the Swedish Publishers’ Association in recent years. Both the increase in number of books published and in sales could, in turn, be seen as the result of an overall greater interest in children’s reading in society. I

n terms of content and themes, the most notable tendency in the children’s and YA books published in 2016 is what could be described as a will to include. The books suggest a wish to challenge prevailing norms by portraying and making visible individuals and groups excluded by these norms. The story is often told from the perspective of a person who is perceived as being outside the norm. For example, several main characters are transgender people telling their own stories, but these books also bring up norms relating to sexual orientation, (dis)abilities or ethnicity, to name a few examples. The present refugee situation has also resulted in a number of stories where non-Western characters relate their experiences of being refugees of war.

Other themes addressed in The Book Tasting 2017 included religion and mythology, illustrations and graphic design, horror, and diary fiction.

Translation: Hanna Liljeqvist

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