Choosing a book by its cover is typically frowned upon, but lately I have been finding that it can be a great idea for both readers and libraries! Creating a book display centered solely on book cover art is not a new concept, but it is a visually appealing way to successfully recommend some good books. My library first learned about creating book recommendations based on the cover art for teens from another local teen librarian who was asking her teen advisory board to choose the next year’s lineup of book displays, with most of her displays choices being centered on similar visual imagery on book covers. What has been a surprise to me, though, is how popular some of our cover-themed displays have been with readers of all ages. They are eye-catching, they draw a browser in, and, as a result, we are constantly restocking these displays.
There are a lot of resources out there that can help you choose a cover art theme for a display, but all you really have to do is think of an image or a color — hearts, the sky, the moon, eyes, yellow, black — then do a little searching. The great thing about teen book covers is there is a gamut of imagery out there. Teen book covers have become so visually appealing in recent years that you are bound to find what you are looking for. If you come up with at least 10 books, boom! you have an instant display. If you have some trouble getting started, though, check out Goodreads. Goodreads’ Listopia has a whole category of lists devoted to the cover art: Seeing Red, Eye of the Beholder, and even one called I Picked It Up Because of the Cover are just a few of the lists you’ll find. It is a great way to get started, and once you do you won’t be able to stop.
Here are some of the my library’s more popular cover themed displays:
The Grass is Always Greener…
Books listed: The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell, Alpha Dog by Jennifer Ziegler, Kisses and Lies by Lauren Henderson, and Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (2007 Best Books for Young Adults, 2008 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)
Books listed: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Teens Top Ten 2010), Embrace by Jessica Shirvington, Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Above by Leah Bobet, Kindred by Tammar Stein, and Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire
Books Listed: Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Teens Top Ten 2009, 2009 Morris Honor Book, 2009 Best Books for Young Adults), Valiant by Holly Black (2006 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, 2006 Best Books for Young Adults, 2008 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults), Steel by Carrie Vaughn, Lament by Maggie Stiefvater (2010 Best Books for Young Adults, 2010 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults), Enclave by Ann Aguirre, and All Just Glass by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
So, what do you think? Do you want to read any of these books based on just the cover?
— Colleen Seisser, currently reading Infinite Kung Fu by Kagan McLeod
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