The Ellie Sparkles Show has analyzed Google search data across 700+ popular books, children’s films, and fictional characters to determine America’s favorites. The children’s entertainment show also surveyed 1,000 parents of 5-8 year olds across the U.S. to discover how often we read with our children, how much we spend on reading materials, and parental attitudes towards finding the perfect story.
Parents read to their children an average of six times per week, but 77% wish they read to them more.
The Ellie Sparkles Show’s survey reveals that parents in the US read to their children an average of six times per week, however, 77% wish they could do this more often.
Whilst one in three parents read to their child every day, 48% find it challenging to fit this into their daily schedule. To factor this quality time in, 39% of parents have set reading times, whilst 55% put subtitles on when their child is watching TV to encourage reading as much as possible.
Almost 70% of parents look for books that include racial diversity to read with their children
Children are extremely receptive to their surroundings, and reading stories that include different cultures, lifestyles, and perspectives is a great way to promote ideas of inclusion and acceptance from an early age.
We asked parents what they prioritize when choosing a story to read with their children, with 69% of respondents revealing they look for books that include racial diversity. 56% look at books that include religious diversity, 48% look to include gender diversity, and 42% look to include diverse sexual orientations.
Almost seven in 10 parents (67%) also give their child freedom to choose the books they read, allowing them to explore their interests and encouraging them to read more.
61% of parents in the US would also be happy to read books to their child with a higher age rating than their child’s actual age, while only 57% of parents would allow their children to watch a film with a higher age rating. Dad’s were more likely to allow their kids to watch films more suited to an older audience at 72%, compared to 52% of mums.
7 in 10 parents have noticed that reading with their child helps to stimulate their imagination and creativity
Reading can benefit you and your child from helping you sleep to increasing your vocabulary. In fact, 7 in 10 parents have noticed that reading has helped stimulate their child’s imagination and creativity, while 46% have seen their children’s attention span improve.
The Ellie Sparkles Show spoke to Camilla Mazetto, a Post-Doctoral Psychologist at Williamsburg Therapy Group, who revealed some of the key benefits storytelling can have on your child and the value of setting aside reading time each day:
“The storytelling habit has benefited children in various areas, touching on cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of development.
It has even been shown to positively impact physiological and psychological functions, increasing oxytocin and positive emotions and decreasing cortisol levels and pain in hospitalized children (Brockington et al., 2021).
Most studies have focused on benefits regarding literacy, and there is strong evidence that storytelling can enrich language experiences, help children improve their vocabulary mastery, and enhance interest in reading and writing.
Storytelling is also very low-cost, simple, and practical. It relies on a complex interaction between language and imagination, creating a state of cognitive and emotional immersion that is profoundly engaging for both the storyteller and the audience.
The benefits of storytelling may change throughout a child’s different developmental stages. For younger kids, it promotes expressive and receptive language development allowing for greater emotional connection with grown-ups. As children get older, storytelling may be used to practice logical and critical thinking and explore values and problem-solving skills. This is possible because stories facilitate the creation of mental simulations that represent social realities.
Such narratives offer a model of the social world through abstraction and simplification that allow for the vicarious learning of social realities through the experience of fictional characters. In other words, stories can help reframe personal experiences by broadening perspectives, deepening emotional processing abilities, and increasing empathy and self-regulation.”
Parents across the US invest an average of $319 on books and reading materials each year
From a monthly library card to buying the latest book from your child’s favorite author, parents spend an average of $26.61 on books and reading materials.
The top five states spending the most include:
|U.S. State||Average monthly spending on reading materials|
Washington, D.C., spends the most at $58.88, adding up to around $706.56. California follows in second, spending $43.88 on average each month, and Vermont in third, spending $43.67.
The Ellie Sparkles Show also wanted to find out how much families spend on TV and Film subscriptions, with the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus becoming staple family household features. The average American parent spends $36.11 per month (or $433 a year) on these, with Nebraska topping the list as the state spending the most.
|U.S. State||Average monthly spending on film/TV services|
Dog Man by Dav Pilkey comes out on top as America’s favorite children’s book
From a tale of four sisters to a half-man half-canine cop fighting crime, we’ve analyzed monthly searches across 388 books to determine America’s favorite.
|Rank||Name of Book||Author||Avg. age rating||Book Rating /5||Avg. monthly search volume in the U.S.|
|1||Dog Man||Dav Pilkey||age 7+||4.15||49,500|
|2||Wonder||R.J. Palacio||age 10+||4.39||33,100|
|3||Little Women||Louisa May Alcott||age 10+||4.13||27,100|
|4||The Hobbit||J.R.R. Tolkien||age 9+||4.28||18,100|
|5||Coraline||Neil Gaiman||age 8+||4.09||18,100|
|6||A Wrinkle in Time||Madeleine L’Engle||age 9+||3.99||14,800|
|7||Holes||Louis Sachar||age 10+||3.99||14,800|
|8||Madeline||Ludwig Bemelmans||age 4+||4.25||12,100|
|9||The Cat in the Hat||Dr. Seuss||age 4+||4.18||12,100|
|10||The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh||A.A. Milne||age 5+||4.47||9,900|
Dog Man by Dav Pilkey comes out on top as America’s favorite children’s book. The 4.15/5 star-rated graphic novel series is Googled 49,500 times annually in the US.
After Dog Man, the second most popular book is Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which is searched for an average of 33,100 times each month. Despite being released over 150 years ago, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is still the third most popular children’s book, with an average of 27,100 searches on Google each month.
Ratatouille, The Lego Movie, and Cars rank as America’s most popular children’s films.
There’s nothing better than getting together as a family to watch a movie. With a mixture of household favorites and new releases to choose from, we analyzed monthly search volume across 241 movies to determine the nation’s favorites.
The top 10 most popular children’s movies based on search volume:
|Rank||Name of Film||Average age rating according to parents||Certification||Movie Rating/10||Avg. monthly search volume in the U.S.|
|2||The LEGO Movie||age 6+||U||7.7||135,000|
|8||Ice Age||age 6+||U||7.5||60,500|
|9||E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial||age 7+||U||7.9||49,500|
|10||The Santa Clause||age 9+||U||6.5||49,500|
A tale of a Parisian rat with a passion for cooking, Ratatouille interestingly emerges as America’s most popular kid’s movie. Despite being released over 15 years ago in 2007, the movie has an impressive 165,000 searches each month, over 30,000 more than any other film.
The Lego Movie and Cars rank in second and third, whilst Elf and The Santa Clause both feature in the top 10, averaging an impressive 110,000 and 49,500 searches each month despite being Christmas movies.
Spiderman, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Harry Potter crowned America’s most beloved fictional characters.
With iconic films come iconic and beloved fictional characters that many of us have treasured for decades. From superheroes to wizards, we’ve analyzed monthly search volume for over 100 fictional characters to determine America’s most popular.
|Rank||Character name||Avg. age rating of content the character appears in||Avg. monthly search volume in the U.S.|