Kids’ stories finding new adult audiences

Harry Potter to War Horse: Why have the boundaries separating children’s entertainment from more adult art forms have become so porous?

War Horse owes a lot to Harry Potter. The spectacular stage show now touring Australia is a fine example of a trend that started with Potter: finding adult audiences for stories that began as children’s books.


In the 15 years since parents began reading their children’s copies of The Philosopher’s Stone and enjoying it, adults have become a booming marketplace for children’s writers. Forty per cent of Young Adult books sold in the US are now bought by adults who plan to read them themselves, according to a recent study by Publisher’s Weekly.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts