Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall MG Covers: The Light Fantastic

Every season seems to have its dominant graphic themes, as designers do their best to drag us across the bookstore and make us pick up That Book.

This fall, middle grade fantasy covers are calling us to the light. Usually, it’s a blazing sky with one or more heroes either hurling themselves into it or running for their lives. But who can say no to flashes of lightning, glowing gizmos, or good old-fashioned magical energy?

I have to say, I like the fact that so many covers show boys and girls battling demons (or whatever) together and as equals. No more boys with swords, girls standing there looking scared. We're making progress!

Designers this fall also are fond of the “magical peephole” technique, in which the solid plane of the cover is broken by a circular portal to a fantastic world we want to see more of.  

As always, some designers use a sprightly cartoonish style to reassure us that all will be well. How bad can a zombie apocalypse be if it’s comic?

And then there are those who invent cool graphics to tell their tale: The forthright Flora matched with the flowing fonts of FLORA & ULYSSES, or the marvelously shifty Alexander Baddenfield and his cat. Being a typeface fanatic from way back, I’m drawn to THE CREATURE DEPARTMENT’s amazing alphabet.

As always, we’ve spread our parade of covers over two days. Come back tomorrow for a content-oriented post: Dragons! Princesses! And, of course, cats.

We’re featuring books published July-December, 2013. If we overlooked an amazing cover, please link to it in the comments. And tell us which cover is your favorite!

Click the link to see more covers . . .

I will face this scary flaming thing alone!

We two, drawn to the light . . .

Or running away from it . . .

Or letting it light a gorgeous steed . . . 

Or  just passing through.

Who did you say you were again? The light's in my eyes . . .

Me, my friends, and . . . there’s that light again

Or maybe we're just lighthearted

Porthole to fantasy


Gorgeous graphics


  1. Love these cover posts so much! Thanks, Ellen. Too much to love--I can't pick just one. :)

  2. Look at all of those gorgeous covers! So many to add to the reading list! Thanks Ellen!

  3. What a fantastic selection of covers again. I really think MG covers are getting better and better. How can anyone not want to read books that look like this?

  4. I agree. I really do think the "glorious light" technique is effective, although I suppose it could get old after a while, as everything inevitably does.

  5. Beautiful! I always enjoy seeing these, Ellen - not to mention your ingenuity in showcasing them!

  6. Found some titles to find out more about then. Cool post

  7. Love Jenny Nimmo's. Great for adults with a sense of adventure as well as young adults. Highly recommended.

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