Monday, March 25, 2013

In Your Dreams: New Middle-Grade Covers!

If a cover designer wants to draw us into a book, what better way than to tap into our dreams?

Or our nightmares.

And so on this season’s middle-grade fantasy covers, we float or we fly, sometimes on magnificent beasts. We swashbuckle with swords. We hobnob with mermaids and ghosts and our fellow humans. Boys face danger alone and unafraid . . . and just LOOK at the number of girls taking charge of their destiny!

Sometimes there be monsters. Very cool monsters.

This post covers middle-grade covers for books published between January and June 2013. (“Middle grade” these days seems to be anywhere between ages eight and fourteen.) As usual, there are so many we’ve split the post in two—look for more cover awesomeness right here tomorrow. We’ll show you the young-adult covers April 8 and 9.

If we missed one you think the world should see, please link to it in the comments.

The covers are after the break (click on "read more"). Which one's your favorite?

  I may be short, but I’m a hero.


Girls, up front and feisty.

You and me against . . . whatever that thing is.

Sometimes it’s safer with three of us.

We’re floating! And flying!

Or we’re pretty sure we will float or fly. 
(Because, you know . . . wings.)



We fight with swords. 
(Or we’re pretty sure we will.)
(Because, you know . . . swords.)

You’re big and mean, but you don’t scare me

Okay, maybe you scare me a little

See you tomorrow!


Ellen Booraem is the author of THE UNNAMEABLES, SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS, and the upcoming TEXTING THE UNDERWORLD (August 2013). She lives in Downeast Maine with an artist, a dog, and a cat, one of whom is a practicing curmudgeon. She's online at


  1. I had a hard time picking a favorite this time. I think I've narrowed it down to the bad unicorn (how hysterical is the impaled stuffed squirrel?) and the Scary School kid, just because he's so sturdy and earnest and ready to do right. But then there's the Ghoulish Song cover. And Unlucky Charms. And... and...

  2. So many awesome covers! The presence of all those swords is pretty darn great. :-)

  3. Wow! So many great covers. I especially like how "Scary School" doesn't look very scary. :)

  4. Gorgeous! Garden Princess is definitely my favorite cover right now, but when I was 12, I would have leaped through hoops of fire for a copy of Pegasus.

  5. My TBR pile just tumbled over with all these books I've added, I have a major cover love problem, such beautiful examples. Loki's Wolves and Scary School look especially good.

  6. These cover posts are my favorites!!! Love seeing all these great books together.

  7. Wow what an amazing abundance of incredible covers!! Is it just me or does it seem like we've finally broken out of the cover stereotypes we've had for the last couple of years? No girl walking with hair flying behind her???
    Anna I agree, yay for swords and unicorns and mermaids and robo bots - simply brilliant!
    Thanks for an awesome post Ellen!

  8. So many too love!! I love these cover posts too. It's like book-cover candy for the eyes. :)

  9. I haven't started looking at YA covers, Keely, but I bet there'll be some flying hair on those!

    You're right, though, girls are definitely more heroic than they were even a two or three years ago. What I notice is when the cover has a boy and a girl on them, they're more often equal in size and activity. Although the boy's still more likely to be the one holding the magical gizmo or weapon. (In fairness, probably the boy's the protagonist in those cases.)

    But look who's brandishing swords in Of Giants and Ice! You go, girls!

    We've come a long way from the days when the boy was doing something interesting while the girl looked on admiringly. In the old, old days, moms and girls often had no hands--they were in apron pockets or behind backs.

    1. Boy, I wrote this comment in a hurry. Should be "more heroic than they were even two or three years ago." And "when the cover has a boy and a girl, they're more often equal in size and activity."

  10. Love so many of them, especially the fantasy-themed ones. It's great seeing so many middle grade covers out there.

  11. I remember how excited I was last fall when I saw my cover in Ellen's post among all the others (and how I looked askance at the others thinking "hmm, so mine is not the only great cover"). Love these -- love all those feisty girls.

  12. What was the first thing that would make you pick up a specific book from a great heap of selection? That's right, it's the cover. Even adults tend to pick books with good graphics on the covers before being interested to read its plot on the back cover. I'm pretty sure this is the same with kids. Though it's true that we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, it's also true that a good cover design will catch your attention. Still, a good story will make you keep on reading it.
    Shelley @ Y\'all Twins?


Have your say...