Racism and 'Dog Man' Dominate Top New Downloads in K–12
- By Dian Schaffhauser
of a Wimpy Kid books may
dominate in downloads when students are looking for digital books to
Potter books top the list when they want
to listen to
stories. That's the latest report from OverDrive
Education, which provides a
platform used by schools for delivering ebooks and audiobooks to
to the usage data from 38,000 schools around the world, the number of
digital books accessed by students in 2020 through the company's Sora
reading app was almost triple what it was the year before.
use the program, students locate their school in an online list and
log in using school credentials. They can scan through the
collection, filtering by various categories, and choose what they'd
like to read or what has been assigned to them. Functions include a
dyslexic font setting, large text and read-along features for the
ebooks; and students can add bookmarks, highlights and notes as they
read or listen.
According to OverDrive Ed, the most popular
five ebooks for 2020 across all K-12 schools in ranked order were:
1. Diary of a
Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney;
series by Raina Telgemeir;
3. Big Nate
series by Lincoln Peirce;
Bones by Lois Miner Huey; and
Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.
The biggest audiobook downloads were:
1. Harry Potter
series by J.K. Rowling;
Events in the Life of a Cactus by
3. Diary of a
Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney;
Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan; and
5. The Hate U
Give by Angie Thomas.
The five titles for young adults across both
1. A Long Walk
To Water by Linda Sue Park;
2. The Hate U
Give by Angie Thomas;
3. The Hunger
Games by Suzanne Collins;
4. The Maze
Runner by James Dashner; and
5. One of Us Is
Lying by Karen M. McManus.
The company noted that during the year, social
justice and civil rights issues showed up front and center for
students. They checked out ebooks about slavery, civil rights, gay
rights and inequality, including titles from collections donated by
OverDrive and their publishing partners. The company noted that books
by black authors saw a doubling of circulation across all of the
Overdrive platforms in 2020. The most-read titles from the education
programs included The Hate U Give
by Thomas and Forgotten Bones
by Lois Miner Huey.
Among the newest books published, the top five
nonfiction ebooks and audiobooks in K-12 that appeared in 2020 were:
1. Stamped — Racism, Antiracism, and You
by Jason Reynolds;
by Axel Scheffler;
3. A Promised Land
by Barack Obama;
4. Almost American Girl
by Robin Ha; and
5. Guide to Survival
by Mojang Ab.
The top five fiction
ebooks and audiobooks published in 2020 were:
1. Dog Man: Grime and Punishment
by Dav Pilkey;
2. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by
3. The One and Only Bob by
4. Blow the Roof Off! by
Lincoln Peirce; and
5. One of Us Is Next
by Karen McManus.
More complete lists
of popular titles in K-12 downloads are openly available on
the Overdrive website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.