Judging a book by its cover…

When choosing a book at the library, does the cover art influence your selection?

BOBFrontCoverPalmerston North artist Vonnie Sterritt’s artwork features on the cover of my fantasy adventure Battle of the Birds. Already well-known for her stunning atmospheric landscape paintings, Vonnie jumped at the chance to create the cover art for Battle of the Birds. “I like fantasy and the fantastic, and that’s what appealed to me about Lee’s book. When I read the story, I wanted to find a particular part that entertained all the bird characters. I symbolised those characters, looking at each bird’s feathers and stylising them. And I thought the feathers should be bright, especially for children.” When using a story for inspiration Vonnie says she takes a particular approach: “I put everything else away so I can focus on it and just live it. With a story, it’s important to reflect the right feel, personality, and atmosphere.”

For the new book I am co-editing with Piper Mejia, Beyond This Age (to be released on March 22), the cover art is by 19-year-old Samara Kirkham. Beyond this age 300 resI feel Samara’s design beautifully captures the content of the book, a collection of fantasy and science fiction writing by intermediate school students. She has chosen an undeveloped style, using images of a mermaid, spaceship and apple to hint at the stories inside. And the dark colours, the blues and greys, indicate that the stories are not all handsome princes and happily ever after.

These days publishers choose covers, which they believe will entice you to read the book. The following image shows 8 different covers for JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel. Inside the text is the same, only the covers are different. Which one do you prefer and why?

Harry potter covers

PS: It’s the end of the week I’m nearly finished reading my first book by a New Zealand writer, which means I’m on target for my goal of reading four books by New Zealand writers this month. How are you doing? Can’t think of any New Zealand titles? Ask your friendly librarian.

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