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International Trends: The German Children’s Book Market

Published on 27/07/2023

Illustrations by Advocate Art illustrators Yulia Gorkina, Catalin Ardeleanu, Kaja Kaifež, Michelle Simpson, and Angie Alape Perez

International Trends: The German Children’s Book Market
Teacher: Marion von Elling, Illustration Agent at Advocate Art

Learn all about the German Children’s book market from Advocate Art’s German illustration agent Marion von Elling. 

In the German children’s book market, topics such as family, everyday experiences, understanding emotions/fears, and animals are popular with younger children. However, strong boys and girls, as well as fantasy stories with mythical creatures are also still in demand. For older children, friendship, social interaction, school, adventure, and detective stories play a major role in commissioned texts. For many, a good children’s book should offer things to discover. For this reason, hidden object books with full, detailed, colorful illustrations on a wide variety of topics also continue to be popular.

The illustrations should show that we live in a colorful, diverse world with different cultural backgrounds and different family situations. Physical handicaps are also an important part of current children’s book illustrations. So make sure to keep the representation of disabilities present in your portfolio.

Illustration by Advocate Art illustrator Esther Hernando

Internationally, children’s books are bought by adults for children, so it is important that they please both! When choosing books, adults like to be inspired by artistically designed titles that teach children early and playful knowledge. This is no different in the German market.

For example, nature and non-fiction books are in vogue. Children should be taught about flora and fauna and sensitivity for nature, as well as the beauty of nature from an early age. At the same time, children can even be confronted with controversial topics, such as environmental pollution, at an early age and in an age-appropriate way. I recommend adding some scenes of nature to your portfolio to prepare yourself for non-fiction oriented commissions.

Now that we have covered the subject matter, it is also important to consider the style of illustration. Illustrations in bright colors, predominantly in a hand-drawn aesthetic (think watercolor or crayon textures style). Even though the typical digital style is also represented in the booksellers’ assortments, the “softer” styles tend to dominate children’s books in Germany.

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