100 Scope Notes
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4 Thoughts on the Bestselling Books of 2021

Publishers Weekly just released a list of the Top 25 Overall Print Bestsellers for 2021. This is not a children’s only list, but one that includes all 2021 books.

I have some thoughts . . .

Pilkey and Kinney

Dav Pilkey and Jeff Kinney each had three books in this list of the top 25 bestsellers. That’s right, the P.K. connection combined to take up nearly a quarter of the top 25. Astonishing stuff.

A lot of children’s books on there

And overall, there are just a lot of children’s books on this list. I count 10 (not including YA). That’s 40%.

Old standbys going strong

I know that The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! sell a lot of copies annually, but this list really puts into perspective the massive, sustained popularity of these books. I mean, they both beat the pants off the latest John Grisham book! Wouldn’t have thought that.

Where’s the YA?

Not many YA books show up among the top 25. There was just one YA title on this list (They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera).

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. My niece asked for THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END for Christmas, so I can attend to its all-encompassing power. Was it a TikTok recommendation? I think I heard that somewhere.

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