• Inspire Teen Reads

Inspire Teen Reads 5th Annual Book Pitch: Our Book Jacket Winners

New to this year's Annual Book Pitch Competition is the Book Jacket Design category, in which young people nationwide are invited to redesign a book jacket for their favourite book. We received some outstanding submissions from youth across Canada revisioning the look of their favourite books, and we'd like to share them with you.

Girls On Fire by Robin Wasserman

Designed by Adwoa Baah

"Girls On Fire by Robin Wasserman is a fierce portrait of girlhood set in the small town of Battle Creek, USA, during the 'satanic panic' of the 80’s and early 90’s. The story follows seventeen-year-old Hannah Dexter and her spiral into amorality, fueled by teen angst and isolation, and her new-found friendship with the intense and corruptive Lacey Champlain. It’s a raw, yet strangely accurate portrayal of the teenage experience, minus the more… morally questionable parts of the story (the whole 'obsession with Kurt Cobain' part is dead on, though).

Inspired by event posters for riot grrl and grunge bands, my design is turbulent and a little overwhelming, which I like to think reflects the novel's core 'vibes'.

Dex and Lacey’s ultimately toxic friendship is a catalyst for the novel’s main plot; I tried to represent this by putting their silhouetted faces on the jacket spine and placing them together on the front cover. Aspects of their mutual girlhood and rebellion (Nirvana discs, tampons, lipstick, a pentacle) are also scattered along the cover, slowly being consumed by flames. The watchful eyes of Battle Creek, and the apparent suicide of Craig Ellison are equally pervasive elements of the plot, so I placed them in the title text (the bullet and eyes). The colour scheme is primarily red, white, and blue, to reflect the aggressive patriotism of Battle Creek, and to symbolise danger, innocence, and loyalty, which are prevalent themes in the girls’ coming-of-age. The dizzying patterns and disorienting textures throughout my design are meant to reflect Wasserman’s writing style and the chaotic nature of girlhood as portrayed by the novel. I imagine the jacket to be matte, but glossy on the flames and cover text. I think it’d be pretty rad if the 'tears' on the cover were embossed, or had a cardstock-like texture."

James And The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Designed by Isabella Yang

"The novel James and the Giant Peach, written by Roald Dahl, is a lighthearted children’s story that centers around a little boy named James who recently moved in with his two aunts, Sponge and Spiker. Unfortunately, he does not have any friends white being under the watchful eyes of his two very strict aunts, and longs to go on an adventure and play with other children. One day, an old man appears in the garden in his backyard and everything changes after the old man tells James that something magical will happen to him soon. A peach begins to grow in the garden, and continues to expand until it is larger than his own house. His aunts notice this and put fencing around the peach, and try to capitalize off of the peach by making it a tourist attraction. They forbid James from trying to go near the peach, and only see the fruit as an opportunity to earn money for themselves. James meets many new bug friends one night after sneaking into the peach, and attempts to escape his crooked aunts while trying to save the peach in the process. Eventually, James brings himself, the peach, and his friends to safety after overcoming many obstacles along the way, and they share the peach with the children of New York City. The book has fun, fantasy undertones and also promotes the idea of teamwork and strong friendships, making it a great escape from reality for children of all ages.

Because of the joyful and childlike nature of the novel, I decided to create a modern, picture book twist of the story. One of the most prominent themes within James and the Giant Peach is the preservation of nature, as well as the bridge between wildlife and humans. In the book, James befriends many bugs who live within the peach. Because of these themes that are interconnected with nature, I wanted to create a very whimsical and textured book jacket that incorporates many organic lines and brushstrokes, with the focal point being the giant peach on the front cover. Many of the digital brushes that I used to create the illustrations on the book cover were made to emulate traditional art materials like crayons, pastels and charcoal sticks. I thought that using these fun textures on the book cover would match well with the loose and round lines inspired by nature, as well as give the drawings more character. I wanted to center my colour palette on warm, bright tones as well to catch the attention of the reader, as well as tie the other colours together nicely with the peach. This is why I decided to make the main text colour a bright peach-toned red, as well as use a handwritten font for the front cover. I also envisioned James as a person of colour, so I portrayed him differently from the 1996 film adaption of the novel, and what Roald Dahl envisioned James to look like. As a person of colour, I do not support the way that Roald Dahl did not put positive representations of people of colour in his books. I believe it is important to represent more diverse characters not only in the media, but also in art and book illustrations."

One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock

Designed by Presley Grace

"I started out planning the cover because it’s the first thing I really notice in a book. I drew it on paper a couple times before I got the look I wanted. Then, took a photo on an app and inked my drawing. In my head, Sam has have freckles, and in the book, Allie’s cheeks are red a lot. I knew that Allie was blond and Sam was brunette. I wanted to make it look like they’re lying in the grass, so I colored the background green. Once I was done coloring and shading, I played with different fonts, but I couldn’t find any that I liked. I decided focus on the art. I started working on the back cover. I wanted to have the two characters holding hands but in my opinion, Hands are the hardest things to draw, thankfully, I thought of the front cover of the actual book, which has Sam and Allie holding hands under a table. I used that as a drawing reference, which really helped! I am super proud of the hands I drew. The coloring was easier because I just had to take the colors from the front cover, and put them in the back. After shading, I added small details, like the heart, which is from an inside flap from the real book. I kept the same color scheme throughout the whole jacket, like for example, the lines around the hands are the same colors as the hearts and the skin is the exact same, and the grass too. The words, I chose because I thought they suited the drawing. I drew them, so I didn’t have to worry about fonts. I used the same colors as the title from the original jacket. I know that a lot of people probably wont do the inside flaps, but I was having a lot of fun. I was worried about drawing hands again, but the reference helped me, so I looked up hand model sheets. I found a good one online and used it to help draw the hands. I drew the one where she is handing her a flower. I figured Sam is more the type of person to give flowers and Allie is shy, so I made the hand holding the flower, the darker skin tone, to match Sam’s like the front cover. The other flap was easier to draw cause I didn’t have to do all of the flower details. Then I was pretty much done!"