Judge a book by its cover*

December 2, 2008 at 11:01 pm 4 comments

A blog called Book Design Review has just posted their top 10 book covers of 2008. The choices are really varied, ranging from Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible (A very fun book by a very interesting author) to Lee Smolin’s The Trouble with Physics. But, as usual, children’s books were entirely forgotten. While this is nothing new, when it comes to book design the omission is a real shame, since artwork and design feature so prominently in books for children, often in very innovative and ingenious ways. So I decided to share a few of my favorite designs for this year. Feel free to add your own contributions!

Pop-Up ABC3D by Marion Bataille. There’s a video, too.


Knuckleheads by Joan Holub, Illustrated by Michael Slack


Charley Harper’s ABCs


The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin


(This book is designed to be fully accessible to the blind, featuring Braille letters and raised line illustrations)

Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart, illustrated by Carson Ellis


This book I included mostly because I love Ellis’s artwork. She’s also married to Colin Meloy and does all the Decemberist album artwork.

Thats all I have for now… but I’m sure there’s more beautiful books that were published this year. I’ll update when I discover some new ones, and I’m of course taking suggestions.

*I was never good at headlines. Sorry.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

A conversation with my father. “I’ll Eat You Up!”

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. zin  |  December 3, 2008 at 12:50 am

    no, you were never good at headlines, but this one was perfect! great post, too. i’ve been AWOL, but once I get through the end of the semester, i promise updates and Skype contact. i miss you… new york is getting cold.

  • 2. Amanda  |  December 3, 2008 at 4:20 am

    I thought that the cover of “Mysterious Benedict Society” (very popular amongst the kiddies) looked like something I’d seen before! Oh man. This is totally one of those moments where things suddenly make sense.

    Semi-relatedly, though I agree with Book Design Review that the cover of “All the Sad Young Literary Men” is lovely, I think it is worth pointing out that that book is so overwhelmingly mediocre. Bleh. I, too, was taken in by the cover, but boy did I pay for it. Really, really self-indulgent and obnoxious. It was like the author’s love letter to himself. And not even a good one, at that. There was like one chapter in which the characters were interesting, and you know, that book had a lot of chapters.

  • 3. Care  |  December 3, 2008 at 5:19 am

    Hey um speaking of Soon I will be Invincible… Christmas is coming up. I like super heroes. You like me. Anyone? Anyone?

  • 4. Kari  |  December 3, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Lovely post, Liz. I’m a sucker for good design, Charley Harper in particular. And while I agree with Amanda about the cover and content of Gessen’s book, without it we wouldn’t have the gem that is “All the Sad Young Gossip Girls.”

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