Don't Judge a Book by its Cover?

That’s what they say, right? Well, this couldn’t be any less true when it comes to actual book covers. The cover of a book is so important and it can be a piece of art in its own right. I knew this as a reader—some book covers grabbed my attention right away and I couldn’t walk past the shelf without picking it up to find out more.

As an author, one of the most exciting parts of the publishing process for me has been seeing all the different countries’ covers being created. Each one is completely different, bringing to life each cultures’ unique take on my book. The U.S. covers focus on the “feelings pages,” and I think the bright, bold colors really pop and stand out on the shelf. Recently, I was blown away by the Japanese cover—a beautiful artist’s rendition of Zach in his hideout.

The paperback cover is an adaptation of the UK paperback and I love it. I think it captures Zach’s thoughts perfectly. Tossed into this impossible situation in which he’s forced to deal with so many conflicting emotions on his own, Zach instinctively gravitates towards art and reading as ways to make sense of what’s going on around and inside him:

“Our art teacher, Mrs. R, said art is always about expressing your feelings and it’s a good way to deal with your feelings. Thinking about what Mrs. R said made me decide to do that, too: make art to deal with my feelings….maybe I could pick one color for all the opposite feelings that were inside me and paint a lot of pieces of paper with only one feeling-color, and then the feelings would be separate and not all mixed up together, and that would make it easier to think about them.”

I want to tell you about one of my favorite book-related experiences: an English major class at a German high school chose Only Child (!) as their focus during their last semester. The teacher was in constant contact with me, sharing the students’ work and reactions to the story. One (very early) morning a coupe of weeks ago, I got to Skype with the class and answer their many interesting questions. It was so interesting to get the thoughts and feedback of such young readers.

As part of their classwork, each student created their own book cover and they blew me away. Below are a few that I particularly loved.

At the very beginning of my road towards publication, I would occasionally allow myself to daydream. I imagined dedicating one whole shelf in our sunroom/library to all of Only Child’s foreign editions. And now my dream is coming true! Check out all the different covers and feel free to judge—which one’s your favorite? Which one reflects your interpretation of the story best?

Rhiannon Navin