• Inspire Teen Reads

Inspire Teen Reads 5th Annual Book Pitch: The Book Jacket Entries

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.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Designed by Aaida Ali

"The book I have decided to recreate the cover of is Renegades by Marissa Meyer. The story takes place in Gatlon City, a fictional world where superheroes known as the Renegades keep peace and order. Nova Artino, a villain who believes the Renegades are unjust, plots to overthrow the organization while also attempting to discover the mystery behind the Sentinel, the vigilante who appears to be an unknown force opposing both heroes and villains.


I made sure to include the key elements of the story in my design: the setting, important characters, and overarching theme of the story. The skyline of Gatlon city makes an appearance in the foreground, including the headquarters of the Renegades, which is the tallest tower in the sky.


Nova stands in the center of the cover, making her importance apparent. I drew her in a pose similar to that of Lady Justice, the mythological figure of morality who carries around a set of scales and a double-edged sword. Nova is portrayed as a character with strong moral values, despite being a so-called ‘villain’. She rallies for what justice truly is, so I thought it would be fitting to portray her as Lady Justice herself, as both are impartial to labels like ‘good’ or ‘evil’. To further convey this sense of neutrality, I painted the sword and scales – the symbols of justice – white, a colour often associated with purity and sincerity. I believed it would be fitting for a character with such a strong moral compass.


I painted the ever-present Sentinel behind Nova to represent the dynamic between the two. Nova sees the Sentinel as a figure looming in the shadows, a complete enigma that she is unable to understand. The Sentinel is, quite literally, always at the back of Nova’s mind. While painting this piece, I chose the same colour scheme as the original book series: red and turquoise. It allows my book jacket to fit in with the rest of the series and works very well with the atmosphere of the novel. I used superhero comic covers as references for certain elements in my design, such as the title, layout, and style. Lady Justice was the final piece, tying all the elements together. My piece was thoroughly and thoughtfully designed, so that I could

create the highest quality book jacket for my favourite story."

East Of The Sun and West Of The Moon by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Møe

Designed by Aileen Luo

"The book jacket I remade is based on the book East of the Sun and West of the Moon, a fantastical Scandanavian fairytale. In my opinion, the gorgeous illustrations made this book one of the most visually appealing children’s books ever created.

In the book, a white bear approaches a poor peasant and asks for his most beautiful and youngest daughter. In exchange, the enchanted bear offers to make the man as rich as he is now poor. The girl is initially against the idea and reluctant but is eventually persuaded by her father. Once the white bear returns and receives her approval takes her to a rich and magical castle where her every wish is granted by the ring of a silver bell, and the adventure begins.

My redesign features the main characters, the bear and the young woman (names were never mentioned in the story) on their way to the enchanted castle during the night. I wanted to convey an atmosphere of suspense by creating a relatively empty background with cool, dark colours. Furthermore, I used gold to represent the luxury and riches the woman and her family would receive from the bear. I would visualize for the book cover to be printed with the gold embellishments and writing in shiny raised letters while the rest of the book would be a rough, textured canvas fabric."

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Designed by Catherine Wong

"The Mysterious Benedict Society, written by Trenton Lee Stewart, is a series about a group of unique and gifted children recruited by Mr. Benedict. Their mission: act as secret agents and collect information about the renowned Institute run by Mr. Curtain, who is later discovered to be Mr. Benedict’s long lost twin. Through daring adventures and mind-bending puzzles, they discover Mr. Curtain’s scheme to control the world using his mind-manipulating machines.


I felt that although the original cover captures the lighthearted, whimsical demeanor of the story, a different cover would be able to lay out the darker aspects and metaphors behind the plot.


Stewart explores the complexity of “evil” and the deceptive nature of appearances. This is seen through the juxtaposition of Mr. Benedict and Mr. Curtain’s actions and opinions about leadership. I illustrated this contrast with the analogy of chess. Mr. Benedict views himself as a team player and part of the bigger game. He trusts others and sees them as equals in terms of achieving their goal; stopping Mr. Curtain. This is depicted on the front cover with Mr. Benedict’s reflection on the king chess piece, his expression filled with trust and kindness. While he might be a great leader, his reflection is faint, symbolising his recognition of others’ importance in achieving a final goal.


In contrast, Mr. Curtain, who is on the back, has an intense need to control others. Thus, he views himself as the superior gamemaster, as we see in the back cover with him controlling the whole chess board. Mr. Curtain views people as mere game pieces to manipulate to his own will. I portrayed his attitude with an expression of scorn, signifying his malicious intent. The opaqueness of his character represents his vanity. At the same time, Mr. Curtain bears a faint resemblance to Mr. Benedict. This shows that first judgements and appearances can be deceiving, an idea that is explored constantly by Stewart.


Overall, my cover gives this story a more ominous overtone that would encourage readers to consider the themes of this novel in more depth."

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Designed by Ella Purdy-Assié

"For my book jacket design I selected the novel ‘ The Starless Sea’ as inspiration. This book is about stories and sharing stories and a magical sanctuary for stories and the people who love them.


For the design I chose to take inspiration from tarot cards, because those tell a story of their own and are referred to throughout the book.


Although it is called the StarLESS Sea, stars play a big part in the story so I decided that I must incorporate them into the book jacket.


Bees, keys, and swords appear all throughout the book; on Zachary Ezra Rawlins door, on the magical elevator, on the dice, and so on, so I chose to incorporate them into the design. I focused more on bees because they were one of my favourite symbols.


At the centre of the tarot card there is a rectangle and I took inspiration from the multitude of doors found in the book, and they play a very important role as well. Because it is a story about stories and stories are most commonly found in the form of a book I added a few, and after reading the book you will recognize the colours of the books as ‘Sweet Sorrows’and ‘Fortunes and Fables’.


I decided to keep the book jacket simple because the story and place itself seem simple from the outside - just a library without librarians. Only once you are immersed in the story can you can see that everything is connected and has importance of some sort or another.


And as I said before; the Starless Sea is about the magic of storytelling so I tried to make the book jacket the most magical that I could."

The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh by A. A. Milne

Designed by Sarah Ahmed

"The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is one of the most famous children’s books of all time. Originally written by A. A. Milne, the book focuses on the adventures of a teddy bear called Winnie the Pooh, and his friends Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, Eeyore, and Christopher Robin. Together, Pooh and his friends experience many adventures, such as searching for Eeyore’s missing tail, rescuing Christopher Robin from an unknown monster called The Backson, and setting out for some good honey. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is indisputably an iconic piece of literature, soon approaching its one hundred year anniversary. Its lovable and memorable characters have influenced the childhood of millions of children worldwide, including myself.


The most prominent theme in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is the importance of forming solid, lasting friendships. With good friends, you will always have someone there to lean on, to go on adventures with, and to experience life with. This book shows that life is so much better with a friend by your side, that even the smallest things can bring immense happiness with the right person. A strong example of this would be Poohsticks, a simple game invented by Pooh, in which he and his friends used to play on the edge of the forest. It is played on any bridge over running water. Each player drops a stick on the upstream side of the bridge, and the one whose stick appears on the downstream side first is the winner. Therefore, I decided to design my cover based on Pooh and his friends playing Poohsticks. I felt as though this game was a perfect way to capture the theme as well as the extraordinary friendship between Pooh and his friends. It shows that even something as ordinary as watching sticks race can be something that brings so much joy, if you choose to share that moment with a friend.


Furthermore, regarding the design of the cover, I decided to use watercolour as my medium. I chose watercolour because watercolour tends to have a softer look, which is more appropriate for this book, as it has a laid back, easygoing concept. I decided to go for a less detailed approach regarding the background in order to put more emphasis on Winnie and his friends, and to add to the “soft look”. The linework and paintwork are also very fluid, rather than firmly structured and outlined. This is to illustrate a sense of unity in the piece, seeing how the different components in the illustration blend together nicely."

Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Designed by Sarah Stone

"I redesigned the first book of my favourite series, Throne of Glass, by Sarah J Maas (who's also my favourite author) for this competition. The main character, Celena Saradothein, is the character I’ve drawn on the front of the book jacket. In the book she finds a sword, Damaris, in a secret chamber under the glass castle (one of the main settings of the book). I drew Damaris between Celena’s hands as she used it to defend herself against the riddark, a creature of dark magic. This is also significant because Damaris belonged to the first king of Adarlan (the setting of the book) who’s daughter, Elena helps Celena discover the evil in the land. Around Celena’s neck I drew the Eye of Elena, a necklace given to Celena for protection by Elena in the secret chamber under the Glass Castle (where the king of Adarlan lived). I chose the background to be what I pictured in my mind the halls of the glass castle would look like. I drew Celena with her hair braided as she wore it like this when she would fight. I gave a blended eye colour of turquoise and pale yellow to mimic how Celena’s eyes are described in the book. I drew her thin, with obvious cheekbones and jawline as in a majority of the book she is severely underweight and out of shape due to her time in the slave camps of Endovier. I drew her in clothes that are similar to what she wears when she is fighting."

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