A Celebration of Covers by Liesl Shurtliff

What’s in a cover? A story between any other cover would read just the same, wouldn’t it?



One of my favorite childhood/forever books. The original cover is clearly meant to reach a child audience, while the reissue edition gives it a more classic look to reach a wider range of readers. 


Authors tend to be a bit obsessive about their covers. I am no exception. We dream of the images, the color and texture, the font. Our name in print. (We really like that part.) We want something that reaches out and grabs our intended audience’s attention, because we know that even though it’s often said don’t judge a book by its cover, almost everyone does.


wait till helen comes

In 4th grade I chose to read this book based on its cover alone and was not disappointed.The updated version is even better, I think. So creepy!


Many readers, especially young ones, will often base their choice of reading material on the cover alone, which seems unfair, but in their defense, the sheer amount of choice in reading material can be overwhelming. Cover-judging can be a very efficient way to narrow down your options.


I myself am guilty of this shallow method of book choosing. There are covers that grab my attention so completely, the style and tone of the design speaks to me. It whispers, this book is for you.


Harry Potter Covers

Because Harry Potter is for everyone no matter what the cover looks like!  


Cover-judging isn’t a foolproof method, of course. I have seen some books where the covers were flashing neon DO NOT READ signs, but good reviews or strong recommendations encouraged me to overcome my petty bias and read the book anyway. Truth be told, some of my favorite books have some not-so-great covers. And I’ve read some books with dynamite covers that fell flat in between. I always encourage my kids to read at least a chapter before making a final decision.


secret garden


My daughter did not think she would like The Secret Garden because it looked “old fashioned and boring.” She absolutely adores this book.


At the end of the day, I will always vote for great covers that give a hint for what lies within the pages and speaks to those who would enjoy the story. That’s why I’m so pleased with all my book covers, including the cover for my latest book, Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood.


Red_cvr comp



If the cover speaks to you at all, I hope you’ll love the story come Spring 2016.


Liesl Shurtliff is the author of Rump and Jack. She loves sunshine, chocolate, and fuzzy socks. You can follow her on Twitter @lieslshurtliff or facebook.com/lieslshurtliff.