Mar 8, 2013

Friday Five: Rejuvenated Book Covers

Nostalgia is huge.  Just look at Buzzfeed.  Nearly every other item they post is about how the 90s were incredible.  Series that had been assumed complete years ago are now coming back (The Giver Trilogy became a Quartet and The Face on the Milk Carton Janie series reemerged) and this is both a good and bad thing.  The good thing is that they're introducing children/teens to read-worthy series they have yet to encounter.  The bad news is, the older books have little visual appeal. 

I know the adage tells us not to judge a book by its cover, but the students in my library frequently check out books that look like this:

All are great reads and they also have distinct visual appeal.
Janie Face to Face came out earlier this year.  It looks wonderful:
So many students have come to the circulation desk to check it out.  I've asked all of them if they've read the 4 books that precede it.  The answer is no every time.  So I give them the name of the first book in the series, they see that this is the copy the library holds:

and they immediately lose interest (but also ask about why faces are on milk cartons because that is before their time).  Fortunately, there is a redesigned cover available:

It looks amazing and I guarantee the students would pick this up in a heartbeat.

Obviously, no library can afford to continually replace books with dated covers.  But in a magic world where budgets aren't an issue, these are the five series I'd recommend updating in libraries to up circulation numbers*.

1. Anastasia series, by Lois Lowry
Anytime one of the students asks for a fast, funny read, I think of this series.  Yet, they always leave with a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book (which is also awesome). That's because nothing I say can overcome this cover:

Nothing against the girl on the cover, but everytime I show this to a student they just give me an "Are you kidding me?" look. 
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Same story as above.  Someone wants a fast, funny read and they've said no to Anastasia.  They see this:
They say no.  But if we had this 2011 edition, I'm sure they would love it:

3. My Side of the Mountain series, by Jean Craighead George

This looks like a memoir about the struggles of gardening:
This looks like a cool adventure:

4. Song of the Lionness, by Tamora Pierce
To be fair, this one still gets checked out a bit because the word of mouth about the series is so strong. Still, the students are always skeptical when they look at the book until their friends reassure them that it is "SOOO worth is." This is the copy in the library, which makes the story seem cartoonish:

This newer edition might make the process easier:

5. Hatchet, by Gary Pauslen
I know, I know. We all have fond memories of this series that are ignited when we see this cover:

But today's youth see this and wonder who decided to use Microsoft Word to paste images on top of each other and make a book cover.  But when they see this:

they can't look away.
*Despite my love of these rejuvenated book covers, I am still 100% against the publication of classics with "Twilightified" covers.  There are ways to modernize covers that still make the artwork relate to the story.  A random red and white flower against a black background screams werewolves, not Emma.


  1. Interesting post! It does seem that book covers for children's books become outdated far more quickly than ones for adults. Seems like book designers would take that into account and go for something more classic instead of trendy.

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