My favourite book jacket of all time is for Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. It’s one of many jackets (publishing-speak for covers, by the way) that Stargirl has had. That book seems to attract them like supermodels to a Taylor Swift show. Anyway, this one is pure shocking pink, with just a tiny stick-figure image of a girl in the middle, with a star above her head.
It doesn’t mention the title. Or the author. There’s no tagline. It’s genius, as is the book. And brave. I adore it. Though there’s a blue version, which is great too, and I don’t normally like ‘pink’ covers, this one is so in-your-face it’s beyond pink. And besides, Stargirl is as much for boys as girls. The confidence of this one makes me smile every time I see it.
They say you mustn’t judge a book by its cover but we all do, all the time. One Day by David Nicholls – the two heads split by a title: brilliant.
I also couldn’t resist the big glasses and Grace Kelly scarf of Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. Luckily, the story easily lived up to the fabulous jacket design.
I wrote my first book for teens, Threads, yesterday. No, wait – it was seven years, and seven books, ago. How time flies. Since then, I’ve been very lucky to see Threads jacketed in all sorts of different ways around the world. Scissors in Holland. Cotton reels in Germany. Delightful cartoon designs in France and Italy (which, by the way, depict the lead character with her distinctive Afro – something I rarely see on the covers of books for children and wish we could see more). A whimsical, big-eyed Nonie in Japan.
In the UK, the series came out in paperback with a series of dresses on the cover. Of these, my favourite was the dress chosen for Sequins, Stars and Spotlights, which was designed by 11 year-old Jewel Simpfendorfer for a Threads-related competition for Bliss magazine, and which she very kindly let us use. However, my favourite UK cover of all was the hardback edition, with a glamorous fifties-style illustration by Giles Deacon. I only wish I could have afforded to buy the original drawing when it was auctioned and have it up in my shed.
This month, though, Nonie gets a new jacket and some new names. Chicken House are re-releasing the series in a new design that will be reflected across all my books, including the latest one, Love Song, due out next year. Like any fashion-conscious girl who gets new clothes, I’m thrilled. And appropriately enough, it all starts in September – the month for announcing new collections.
For the new covers, Helen Crawford-White quickly got to the heart of the friendship between the main characters that defines the Threads series, their sense of fun, but also Crow’s serious talent for design. I love the details Helen highlights with each book, from the Taj Mahal on book 2 (now retitled Beads, to keep it simple), to the Statue of Liberty and the subtly increasing complexity of the dress design on book 3 (now Stars – ditto).
The huge variety in my own book covers has taught me that you can’t judge a book by them, but hey – as I say, we do. I feel very lucky that with Threads, a new generation of readers will get the chance to try.
©Sophia Bennett @
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