The problem with celebrity children’s authors and why our kids deserve better!


My heart sinks whenever I spot that another pop star, actor, chef or athlete has written a children’s book. The release of these titles always generates such a lot of buzz in the digital space and takes up physical space in bookshops too.

We all know the names: Madonna, David Walliams, Katie Price, Jamie Oliver and Meghan Markle. They’ve got star power, charisma and a massive fanbase. So when they decide to write a children's book, it's no surprise that publishers are more than eager to cash in. The logic is simple: celebrity sells. They slap a famous name on the cover, and boom! Instant bestseller. 

But the thing that really gets me down about this celebrity craze is that it completely overshadows the real heroes - the professional children's authors who have been crafting stories for years, if not decades. The UK market is particularly saturated with celebrity-authored books, leaving less room for those hidden gems that don't come with a famous face.


“It's when times are hardest that we need the transformative magic of books and reading the most”

~Cressida Cowell


Great children’s books really are magic. The kind of magic that makes kids' eyes light up with wonder and transports them to fantastical worlds. It’s the sort of magic created by skilled authors who know how to speak to a child's imagination.

Most celebrities, on the other hand, don't have that kind of background. Their books tend to rely heavily on their personal brand or formulaic characters and plotting. The result? Books that are more marketing gimmick than literary masterpiece, like fast food for the brain!

Professional children’s authors: the true heroes 

When celebrity authors dominate the market, it squeezes out professional writers who have spent years honing their craft. These authors are the ones who know how to weave intricate plots, create memorable characters and bring stories to life. But with publishers throwing big money at celebrity projects, there's less budget (and shelf space) for traditional authors.

When the market is flooded with celebrity books, it has a ripple effect. Libraries and schools might stock these books because they're popular, leaving fewer spots for less well-known authors. Parents and kids might gravitate toward the big names, not realising there's a whole world of amazing stories just beyond the spotlight.

This lack of diversity in children's books is a problem. Kids need a variety of voices and perspectives to develop a love for reading. If they're only exposed to celebrity books, they're missing out on the wonderful and varied stories that are being written for our children today by extremely talented professional authors.


5 ways to counter the dominance of celebrity authors

1. Seek out new authors & Indie publishers

When you're looking for a new book for your kids, try to find one from a debut author or a small independent press. You might discover a hidden gem that becomes a family favourite.

2. Support independent bookshops

Independent bookshops often carry a wider selection of books, including those by lesser-known authors. Plus, they can offer personalised recommendations that you won't get from a big-box retailer. For what it's worth, we think specialist independent children’s bookshops like Parrot Street Book Club are even better ;-)

3. Promote diversity

Encourage schools and libraries to stock a diverse range of books. This includes works by authors from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.

4. Talk about the issue

If you're passionate about this topic, share your thoughts on social media or with friends and family. The more people talk about it, the more awareness we can raise.

5. Give Feedback

If you're a parent or teacher, don't be afraid to give feedback to publishers. Let them know that you want to see a broader range of children's books on the market.

BONUS! 6: Consider a book subscription

Why not try one of our award-winning children’s book subscriptions? Our mission is to introduce families to hidden gems, beyond the classics and bestsellers, and we’re proud to support a wide range of small and independent publishers too. Find out more and subscribe.


So, there you have it. The celebrity children's book invasion is real and it's making life tough for professional authors. But hopefully we can tip the scales back in favour of creativity and imagination.

Let's celebrate the writers who bring magic into our lives and support them every chance we get. Because at the end of the day, kids deserve the very best stories, and those stories don't always come with a famous name on the cover.


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