Monday, June 28, 2010

More! More!

Floating around out there about book covers:
  • From designer Chad Beckerman's blog. The evolution of the cover of Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beatty, illus. Dan Santat (Abrams 2010). This is the kind of article that makes you wish you had such a fun job.
  • See the AIGA "50 Books/50 Covers" selections of best covers of 2009. A bit of background.  I don't see any kids' books there, but these covers are nonetheless sticky-sweet candy for the eyes. There's actually a book with silhouettes on the cover that is a book about silhouettes. Meta?
  • Autobiography of a Cover, an article from Publishers Weekly online, takes you step-by-step through the process of coming up with a cover for a series collaboration between publisher and book packager, photo shoot and all.
  • From Jacket Whys (and other sources), a link to a Hunger Mountain (Vermont College) piece by Tanita Davis called "Reflected Faces" that's extremely readable and concise. It's about people of color on YA book covers and it is really getting a buzz. A taste: "We must discard the assumption that the presence of a minority on a book will confront YA’s with “issues” which they find boring, unpleasant and inconvenient."
  • And this super article, "Teens Do Judge a Book by the Cover," by Mitali Perkins in the same journal. She says, "Get most faces OFF the covers of young adult novels." To which I say, "Here, here!" and also, to publishers, "Duh." (See also, silhouettes) I love the idea of teens designing their own cover art for their eBooks.
  • This piece, "The Elephant in the Room" from author/bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle on Publisher's Weekly's "Shelf Talker." Covers yet more angles on the multicultural aspect of kids' book publishing/selling.
All this about race and images comes as I begin to read Tyrell by Coe Booth (Scholastic, 2006):

This is a book I might not have picked up if it hadn't been suggested reading for a class. I confess (shamefully) to having preconceived ideas about the subject matter based on the cover image and to discovering later that I was mostly wrong.

Other topics of interest to Jacket Knackers:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Out of the Way! Uma Krishnaswami/y's Latest Picture Book

Irresistible. This is the cover of the just-released picture book Out of the Way! Out of the Way! by Vermont College of Fine Arts faculty member Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy and that is not a typo. We've been invited to join the Out of the Way! Out of the Way! blog tour that's been going on this week, and I couldn't be more delighted.

The story is about a boy who protects a sapling along a path from passers-by, even as the road gets busier and busier. The tree grows, providing shelter and food for many, and the boy grows also. There's a very nice description and review at Chicken Spaghetti.  While this picture book is not yet available in North America, it is available online through its publisher, Tulika Books of India. I don't think there is a publisher on the planet more dedicated to creating beautiful, meaningful books for kids.

The illustrator is Uma Krishnaswamy, whose name, you may notice if you look very carefully, is kind of like Uma Krishnaswami's. Pure coincidence.  Uma K-i the author lives in New Mexico. Uma K-y the illustrator lives in Chennai, India. There's a really thorough and entertaining interview with the artist at Saffron Tree: Interview with Uma Krishnaswamy with some interior art as well.

One thing that intrigued me in that interview was a brief mention of "Kamladevi" in relation to Indian folk art. Uma says it influenced the style of her illustrations, here and in other work.

Never heard of Kamladevi. Have you? Is it a kind of painting technique? An art movement? I was curious, though. So I asked Uma K-i . . .
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was an activist in the Indian freedom movement of the 1940's and by all accounts quite a woman.

She was a huge force in the revitalization of Indian handicrafts and folk arts following independence, when years of British rule had resulted in many traditions dying from neglect or being pressured out of existence.

 . . . which led me into spending an afternoon with Indian folk art images on the Web. Note the similarities to Krishnaswamy's work, the (to Western eyes) flat perspective. (It's really just a different way of seeing, but I won't lecture you right now. ) Attention is paid to pattern, line, symmetry, and vibrant colors. (The black and white drawings here are patterns for embroidery, tattoos, etc.).

What a delight for the eyes. I hope this book comes to the U. S. soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Eyes Have It

I'm excited to be the Fantasy Correspondent for JacketKnack. I often read fantasy books simply because I'm intrigued by the jackets. The eyes below all drew my attention. Eyes are supposed to be the mirrors to the soul, but do these eye-catching jackets mirror their stories within? You might be surprised:

The Keys to the Repository (Hyperion Books, 2010)
  • The lovely lacy frost around the keyhole gives a shadowy suggestion of a monster lurking, but a vampire... ?

Numbers (The Chicken House, 2010)
  • Science fiction or fantasy? The numbers suggest science, but this story is about precognition and clairvoyance--

(Orbit, 2010)
  • The title is a giveaway, but it's still an interesting cover. Is the man in the reflection the title character? Did you notice him at first glance?
  • These two books are the German versions of Kim Harrison's "The Hollows" series (Dead Witch Walking and A Fistful of Charms--publisher: Eos). You might see vampires in these eyes, but if you look under the cover, you'll find witches and pixies, too. The English/American cover versions aren't quite so intriguing, but the rest of German covers for this series have different eyes which are equally fascinating. You can check them out here, but, disclaimer: the site is written in German! I have no idea what it actually says.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Introducing Patti Litka Brown

Please welcome writer Patti L. Brown, another new Jacket Knack field correspondent! Patti's interest lies mostly in fantasy, and she'll be bringing us thoughts and news about fantasy covers in the world of children's publishing.

On Monday, we'll be treated to Patti's initial post. Stop in and say hey to her in the comments, won't you?

Patti lives with her family in New Jersey. She holds a Master's Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Introducing Deirdre

Allow me to introduce Deirdre, a new Jacket Knack "field correspondent." Deirdre is in Ottawa, Canada, where she loves working with children, raising her own children, and writing for them too. Please welcome her in the comments!

Covering Canadian Covers

Hello, I am Deirdre Mander, jumping in as Carol’s Canadian Correspondent. I have no doubt that the phrase “Canadian book covers” will conjure up images of hockey, canoes, and lots of snow. Well, I won’t take offence because there are many fine Canadian covers that use these iconic symbols. Have a peek at Per-Henrik Gurth’s bold coloured cover for Oh Canada (Kids Can Press, 2009) and see how many you can find.

Ok, so he didn’t throw in a hockey stick. The best hockey cover I know is Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater, illus. by Sheldon Cohen (Tundra Books, 1985).

When I think of canoe covers, these two gorgeous examples are top on my list. Shin-chi’s Canoe, by Nicola Campbell (Groundwood, 2008),

Canada Counts, by Charles Pachter
illus. by Kim LaFave (Cormorant Books, Inc., 2009)

And yes, it does snow a lot here (although it’s 20 Celsius/68 Farhenheit today). But kids love snow, as illustrated by Barbara Reid’s Perfect Snow (Scholastic Canada, 2007).

You don’t have to search long to find a few more Canadian symbols. Just look at how Canadian children learn the alphabet:

Lovenia Gorman, illus. by Melanie Rose (Sleeping Bear, 2005):

Mike Ulmer, illus. by Melanie Rose (Sleeping Bear, 2001):

Matt Napier, illus. Melanie Rose (Sleeping Bear, 2006):

I will leave you with one more stunning example, Under Prairie Sky by Anne Laurel
Carter, Alan & Lea Daniel (Orca, 2004):

 In my next post, I’ll reveal some wonderful Canadian covers that don’t have a single hockey stick, paddle, or snowflake on them. So have a good day – eh?!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jacket Knack Math

Been noticing all of these half-faces on covers lately, so, knowing me, maybe this was inevitable:

Judy Moody Was in a Mood (Candlewick, 2010)


Fire (Dial, 2009)