Archive for February, 2010

Green Covers

Posted in book covers, color on February 27, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Carol Brendler over at Jacket Knack has a post about green book covers – do they sell? I’d been brewing a similar post, but hadn’t been able to find an article I’d read and wanted to link to, about the use of green in print. So the post sat in my queue collecting examples. Since I don’t have anything much to add to what Carol said, and I still haven’t found that article – I thought I’d just display some of the green covers I’ve collected.

So does green sell? Personally – it’s my favorite color (though perhaps not these particular hues of green). Stink City by Richard W. Jennings (Houghton Mifflin 2006) and Thumbelina, Tiny Runaway Bride by Barbara Ensor (Schwartz & Wade 2008) have not come out in paper (maybe Jennings just has trouble getting released in paper?). Does that mean they didn’t sell? Maybe The Last Mall Rat by Erik E. Esckilsen (Houghton Mifflin 2003) did okay – the paperback has same cover as the hardback.
Frank Peretti‘s Hangman’s Curse (Tommy Nelson 2001) was released again two years later, a movie edition, with a different cover – but retained the overall green. Five years later, however, the green was ditched for blue.

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M. M. Blume (Knopf 2006) ditched the green for this pastel cartoon cover, and Jumper: Griffin’s Story by Steven Gould (Tor 2007) went to deep blue.

So is the myth really busted? Maybe it’s still up for interpretation.

Stink City: As fifteen-year-old Cade gets involved in animal rights activism in his struggle to atone for the suffering of fish used in his family’s smelly catfish bait business, his neighbor Leigh Ann tries to keep him out of trouble. Ages 10-14. Reviews – few and far between (I couldn’t find any online, somebody should read it and write one!).
Thumbelina, Tiny Runaway Bride: In this expanded version of the Andersen fairy tale, a tiny girl no bigger than a thumb becomes separated from her overprotective mother, has adventures with various animals, and records her feelings in a diary as she gains self-reliance and searches for someone to love. Ages 9-12. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4. Modern Interpretations of Thumbelina List. Book Gallery for Thumbelina.
Last Mall Rat: Too young to get a job at the Onion River Mall, fifteen-year-old Mitch earns money from salesclerks to harass rude shoppers. Ages 12+. Reviews 1.
Hangman’s Curse: When several students at Baker High School are stricken by an alleged curse of the school’s ghost, Elijah and Elisha Springfield and their parents, undercover investigators, are sent to uncover the truth behind the events. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The Movie.
Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades: Cornelia, eleven-years-old and lonely, learns about language and life from an elderly new neighbor who has many stories to share about the fabulous adventures she and her sisters had while traveling around the world. Ages 10-12. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Jumper: Griffin’s Story: Griffin O’Connor, a boy who can teleport, seeks revenge against a group of men that is interested in his ability and is responsible for the deaths of his parents. Ages 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Movie Trailer.

London Book Displays

Posted in book covers, covers from across the pond, display on February 25, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Last week in London, one of the fun things I did was look at children’s/YA book displays in Waterstone’s in London. There was lots to like. Here are some photos I took there.

Of note here – Neal Shusterman’s Unwind – way different from the U.S. version.

Just loved these Series of Unfortunate Events covers (here’s an example of the U.S. paperbacks)

A completely different Scat by Carl Hiaasen.

Twilight copycat – Dessen in black? Her covers tend to be white in the U.S.

Great Percy Jackson covers, but the Wimpy Kid remains the same. Compare the new U.S. paperback of Lightning Thief.

Knife of Never Letting Go? Maybe this one is better in the U.S.

Make Your Own Romance Cover

Posted in make-your-own on February 17, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Put your own face on a Romance Novel cover here. Thanks to The Rejectionist for the link.
I’m off travelling for a week – so no posts until I get back!

A Cryin’ Shame…

Posted in book covers, illustration on February 14, 2010 by Jacket Whys

One of the many art blogs I read led me to the Society of Illustrators 2010 Student Scholarship Competition today, where I got lost in taking a virtual trip through the show. Try it yourself, and you will feel sad, as I do, that we’ve gone all photography all the time (okay, not all the time, but most of it) for book covers. Oh to have some of these artists working at cover illustration.

Perkins’ Poll and AIYLA

Posted in book covers, trends on February 6, 2010 by Jacket Whys

I was wondering what Mitali Perkins’ PoC Faces on Book Covers poll was going to find. Here it is. Not surprising.

I’ve been thinking about something related to Perkins’ poll, but only tangentially related to book covers… The  American Indian Youth Literature Awards for 2010 were announced at ALA Midwinter. I know Debbie Reese has been a voice for representation of Native Americans in children’s literature and she may have written something about this (I haven’t seen it). What I notice each time the AIYL Awards are announced is that they can be hard to get because they are published by very specialized presses often not easily available through the regular library sources. My comment is not meant to detract from the work of any small press. But I wonder if it is a phenomenon of this particular award? Or is it just that there are so few books published by mainstream publishers? For example – if you look at the Coretta Scott King Awards, Pura Belpre Awards or the Asian-Pacific American Literature Awards– it’s mostly mainstream publishing. With all the downside of publishing PoC, is it worst for American Indians?

Here’s the 2010 YA winner of the American Indian Youth Literature Awards, published by a Hawaiian press that appears to be run by a school system (the website says “a division of the Kamehameha School System“). The book does not appear in the Library of Congress Catalog, and little information can be found at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Here’s where I’ll get my cover reference in. Blue seems to work very well on book covers. This one is very soothing. The whale shape is attractive and reminds me of the artistic style of the tribes of the Northwest. The title text is not exciting – a larger and swirlier font could work well. It’s very formal-looking. But perhaps this is what best suits the text.
I’m not sure the cover of Between the Deep Blue Sea and Me by Lurline Wailana McGregor (Kamehameha Publishing 2008) will attract teens – but it could. I’ll be purchasing this for our teen collection, and it’ll be one of the books I’ll read this year.
Between the Deep Blue Sea and Me: Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4.

Best Book Covers of 2009 – Final Four, Finally!

Posted in best book jackets on February 2, 2010 by Jacket Whys

I’ve been dragging my feet on this last four “Best Ten” covers. The first six were easy. After that I had another 20 in a document on my desktop. I looked at them nearly every day, and could not settle on four.
Several years ago, I wrote an article for VOYA about summer reading. The article stemmed from watching kids in the library, as they tried to decide on a book from their summer reading list – usually about a week before school started. Kids who might otherwise read, hadn’t read anything yet, because they didn’t want to read what they were supposed to read for school. I could feel their resistance to reading, based on the fact that they were being told they had to.
This last post felt very much like that for me. The “had to” was self-imposed. And I resisted posting anything else here until I put up this last set. I almost ended up throwing in the towel and giving up the blog, because it worked it’s way into a such a sense of dread (and I’m doing this for fun!). Today I’m pulling myself up by the bootstraps and rather than give up blogging… I’m biting the bullet. I’ve made my final four selections for 2009, but without the same conviction I had with the first six. In the end, it’s staying power that brings these to the top.

For Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey (Atheneum), it was just an image that stuck. An unusual mix of photography and illustration (I think). The jumble of tree branches, the very red hair, the designs on the straps that bind – all mix well. The color is wonderful.

I think the best thing about Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor (Scholastic) is the colors chosen. The mostly black and white image, and the beautiful shade of a very light blue for the eyes and title make for a very cool image. That cool image, set against a nice shade of red, makes this cover memorable.

Again – the hot and cold colors. It’s such a pleasing mix. I love the geometrical title treatment on Monster’s Proof by Richard Lewis (Simon & Schuster). And the monster behind the fabric sheet? Scary.

Here’s an idea I haven’t seen much of. Using a photo negative image creates an ominous feeling. The use of hot pink/purplish lettering with lots of flourish works well mixed in with the tangle of tree limbs. That busy-ness, juxtaposed with the black hole underneath – what lies beyond, in that dark space?
Beautiful Creatures is by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Little, Brown).

I’ve seen an overall leaning in my preferences over the years. I lean toward covers without a lot on them. I like complementary colors. I like limited color (tell me you don’t see a lot of monochromatic covers here…). I like limited text on a book cover. And I like the fonts to be thoughtfully chosen and arranged.
What I always wonder, though, is how they land on the eyes of the readers they’re aimed at. Years ago I attended a session of the YALSA BBYA committee – one to which teens were invited. Their assessments and opinions were stunning and clearly articulated  – what they thought about the books AND their covers. They were quite critical of the covers – even some that I thought were good. That session has stayed with me and woven its way through the way I see YA lit.
So in the end, the most important critics are the young people who read these books. Take my opinion with a grain – or a bucket – of salt.

Sacred Scars: In alternate chapters, Sadima works to free captive boys forced to copy documents in the caverns of Limòri, and Hahp makes a pact with the remaining students of a wizards’ academy in hopes that all will survive their training, as both learn valuable lessons about loyalty. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Lips Touch: Three short stories about kissing, featuring elements of the supernatural.Ages 13+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Book trailer.
Monster’s Proof: As the only normal person in a family of math geniuses, sixteen-year-old Livey’s life takes a turn for the extraordinary when her little brother’s imaginary friend, Bob, turns out to be real and, as a creature of pure math, tries to rid the world of chaos and disorder.Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2.
Beautiful Creatures: In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday.Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Book trailer.