Cover Reveal: Takedown by Laura Shovan
I’m thrilled to be revealing the cover of my next middle grade novel at Nerdy Book Club today! Writing this book was a big stretch for me. My first book, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, was a verse novel. Not only is Takedown written in prose, it’s a sports story.
My son had been wrestling for several years when I began taking my notebook to his practices and competitions. The sport was such a big part of our family’s life, I knew I would write a wrestling book someday.
Takedown is told by two characters. Eleven-year-old Mikayla “Mickey” Delgado wants to be a competitive wrestler like her older brothers, but their old coach doesn’t want a girl on his team. Sixth grader Lev Sofer is haunted by the match that kept him out of the state wrestling tournament last season. Now that he’s in sixth grade, he plans to train hard, beat his rival, and make it to states. Lev doesn’t mind that there’s a new girl on his team, the Gladiators — until Coach decides that he and Mikayla should be training partners.
Initially, I thought this book would be the story of one wrestler and his adversary, the kid he’s most desperate to beat. But when Mikayla showed up on the page, she made her voice heard right away. Takedown is about more than Lev and Mikayla’s wrestling season. It is a friendship story about a girl who wants to compete and the boy who, reluctantly at first, decides to help her.
I flipped when I saw Kevin Whipple’s illustration for the cover, which was designed by Bob Bianchini. The bold lines and saturated colors remind me of vintage sports posters from the 1920s and 30s. Kevin captured the dynamics of Mickey and Lev’s friendship perfectly. She is literally turning his world upside down. I love these two characters and can’t imagine a better cover for Takedown.
Look for Takedown in June 2018, from Wendy Lamb Books/RHCB.
Laura Shovan’s debut middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, was a NCTE 2017 Notable Verse Novel, a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the year, and won a Cybils Award for poetry, as well a Nerdy Book Club award. Her son’s experiences as a member of the Howard County Vipers travel wrestling team were the inspiration for her second children’s novel, Takedown (Random House, 2018). Laura and her family live in Maryland, where she is a longtime poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council.