Alberto Alvarez-Perea via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Alberto Alvarez-Perea via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Kids' Books Have Gotten Longer Thanks to the 'Harry Potter Effect'

Alberto Alvarez-Perea via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Alberto Alvarez-Perea via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

For many readers, Harry Potter was the series that first acquainted them with stories that surpassed the 300-, 500-, and even the 800-page mark. It's been nearly two decades since the first book was released and today, lengthy children's texts have become somewhat of a norm. There's even quantitative proof: A recent survey of books aimed at kids in grades three through eight found that the average page length has increased by 115 percent in the last 10 years, Gizmodo reports.

Using their own archives, The Booklist Reader calculated the average length of middle-grade novels for every decade since 1976. Kids' books have gotten 173 percent longer in the past 40 years, but most of that growth has taken place fairly recently. In 2006, the average middle-grade book was 174.5 pages long and that average has since risen to 290 pages. 

According to Booklist's former Books for Youth editor Ilene Cooper, the page inflation can be attributed to the Harry Potter craze of the last twenty years. The books themselves follow the growth trend as the series goes on, but their impact on the fantasy genre may also point to a cause. “Fantasies tend to be really long,” Cooper told Booklist. “Authors are building another world. Readers of fantasy want to get lost in those worlds.”

Close to a decade after the final book was released, Harry Potter's influence on readers both young and old is still being felt. And with an original Harry Potter play and a new movie on the way, don't expect the boy wizard to be falling out of favor any time soon. 

[h/t Gizmodo]

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TASCHEN
Everything You Need to Know About Food in One Book
TASCHEN
TASCHEN

If you find yourself mixing up nigiri and sashimi at sushi restaurants or don’t know which fruits are in season, then this is the book for you. Food & Drink Infographics, published by TASCHEN, is a colorful and comprehensive guide to all things food and drink.

The book combines tips and tricks with historical context about the ways in which different civilizations illustrated and documented the foods they ate, as well as how humans went from hunter-gatherers to modern-day epicureans. As for the infographics, there’s a helpful graphic explaining the number of servings provided by different cake sizes, a heat index of various chilies, a chart of cheeses, and a guide to Italian cold cuts, among other delectable charts.

The 480-page coffee table book, which can be purchased on Amazon for $56, is written in three languages: English, French, and German. The infographics themselves come from various sources, and the text is provided by Simone Klabin, a New York City-based writer and lecturer on film, art, culture, and children’s media.

Keep scrolling to see a few of the infographics featured in the book.

An infographic about cheese
TASCHEN

An infographic about cakes
Courtesy of TASCHEN

An infographic about fruits in season
Courtesy of TASCHEN
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YouTube/Great Big Story
See the Secret Paintings Hidden in Gilded Books
YouTube/Great Big Story
YouTube/Great Big Story

The art of vanishing fore-edge painting—hiding delicate images on the front edges of gilded books—dates back to about 1660. Today, British artist Martin Frost is the last remaining commercial fore-edge painter in the world. He works primarily on antique books, crafting scenes from nature, domestic life, mythology, and Harry Potter. Great Big Story recently caught up with him in his studio to learn more about his disappearing art. Learn more in the video below.

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