The top tier of PW’s children’s bestseller lists is dominated by bestselling series—such as Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries—and media-driven properties, including movie tie-ins, a hugely popular video game, and a pair of YouTube stars. The adult coloring book craze has made its way to children’s books, with two Johanna Basford titles atop our children’s nonfiction list. And in picture books, the tried and true rule the roost. These lists are based on data from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks print sales at participating outlets. Outlets that report to BookScan account for an estimated 80% of print units sold in the U.S. Look for an extended version of these bestseller charts in a forthcoming edition of Children’s Bookshelf, our semiweekly e-newsletter.


Rank Title 2015 Units Sold
1 Old School (Wimpy Kid #10), Jeff Kinney, Abrams/Amulet 1,483,855
2 Paper Towns, John Green, Penguin/Speak 919,478
3 The Long Haul (Wimpy Kid #9), Jeff Kinney, Abrams/Amulet 554,250
4 The Isle of the Lost (Descendants), Melissa de la Cruz, Disney-Hyperion 492,939
5 Wonder, R.J. Palacio, Knopf 384,871
6 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs, Quirk 368,816
7 Looking for Alaska, John Green, Penguin/Speak 357,120
8 Paper Towns (movie tie-in), John Green, Penguin/Speak 356,180
9 Tales from a Not-So Perfect Pet Sitter (Dork Diaries #10), Rachel Renée Russell, S&S/Aladdin 341,304
10 The Scorch Trials, James Dashner, Random/Ember 326,542

Though the children’s frontlist fiction category remains robust, there was a slight (3%) decline over last year’s sales, reflecting the lack of a breakout new hit, a la John Green. The Wimpy Kid franchise, however, is still going strong: the latest installment, The Long Haul, was the only frontlist fiction title to sell more than a million copies in 2015 (Paper Towns, a 2008 novel, exceeded that mark as well, with its two editions). Movie tie-ins play an important part in this category as well: sales of books for three films (Paper Towns, Descendants, and The Scorch Trials) totaled more than two million copies. And another soon-to-be film, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (#6 on our list), is due out at Christmas.


Rank Title 2015 Units Sold
1 Secret Garden, Johanna Basford, Laurence King 764,808
2 Enchanted Forest, Johanna Basford, Laurence King 674,705
3 Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, Rob Elliott, Revell 482,580
4 Smile, Raina Telgemeier, Scholastic/Graphix 235,420
5 Sisters, Raina Telgemeier, Scholastic/Graphix 215,162
6 Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids, Rob Elliott, Revell 211,025
7 Minecraft: Construction Handbook, Scholastic 203,474
8 The Care and Keeping of You, Valorie Schaefer, American Girl 196,412
9 The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire, Howell/Lester, Random House 183,201
10 Minecraft: Combat Handbook, Scholastic 173,154

Jokes and schoolyards go together like peanut butter and jelly, and Revell’s various joke compendiums made a strong showing last year. Look for more coloring books in the vein of the hugely popular Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. Raina Telgemeier continues her reign as queen of the middle grade graphic novel. The Minecraft category continues to expand, and the success of The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire reflects the trend of YouTube stars making the transition to print.

Picture Books

Rank Title 2015 units sold
1 First 100 Words, Roger Priddy, Priddy Books 685,182
2 Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, Dr. Seuss, Random House 520,817
3 What Pet Should I Get?, Dr. Seuss, Random House 464,409
4 Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss, Random House 441,964
5 The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle, Philomel 406,642
6 One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Dr. Seuss, Random House 401,020
7 Goodnight Moon, Brown/Hurd, HarperFestival 398,319
8 Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Martin/Carle, Holt 391,863
9 Love You Forever, Robert N. Munsch, Firefly 387,202
10 The Day the Crayons Quit, Daywalt/Jeffers Philomel 368,783

One thing you can count on: each year brings with it new babies, and new young readers. On our 2015 Picture Book list, eight of the top 10 titles are perennial backlist favorites. New generations of readers love Dr. Seuss as much as previous ones did: there were four Seuss titles on the list, including the newly published What Pet Should I Get? And the two crayon books from Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers have all of the earmarks of a future classic property.