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readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cover Stories: Positively by Courtney Sheinmel

Positively cover for website.jpg
The awesome Courtney Sheinmiel is here to share the Cover Story behind the recently released Positively. The book is about Emerson Price, who was four-years-old when she and her mom were diagnosed as HIV-positive. Now she is thirteen and her mother is dead. Emmy moves in with her father and stepmother, but she feels completely alone. When they send her to a camp for HIV-positive girls, Emmy is certain she's going to hate it. But soon she realizes that she's not so alone after all -- and that sometimes letting other people in can make all the difference in the world.

Here's Courtney:

"While I was writing my second book, POSITIVELY, I kept thinking of the cover of Jenny Downham's wonderful book, BEFORE I DIE (below). The image is so haunting and powerful - a black and white photo of a teenage girl. The expression on her face just seemed to me to be a lot like Emerson, the thirteen-year-old narrator of POSITIVELY. A writer friend suggested that
I send my editor the BEFORE I DIE cover, which I did. He emailed back not to worry; they would come up with something perfect for POSITIVELY.
beforeidie.jpg

"A couple months later, my editor emailed me the POSITIVELY cover. It looks nothing like BEFORE I DIE. For one thing, it is full of color. It is so hopeful and it captures the book better than anything I ever imagined. There is a pivotal scene in the book when Emerson and her family release balloons, which is depicted on the cover. I love the way the balloon in Emerson's hand has a red ribbon. As far as I know, the picture was
a stock photo and not a model shoot - hard to believe because it's just so perfect. The one thing I was surprised about was the girl's blond hair; I always pictured Emerson with darker hair. But I am absolutely thrilled with the cover, and now I think of her as a blonde."

I'm so glad the cover got that bright treatment (though I love Jenny Downham's cover too). I just think the feel of it, like a photograph taken in the sun, is so warm and hopeful. What do you guys think?

PS-Courtney will share the Cover Story for her first book, My So-Called Family, tomorrow!

PPS-Courtney is donating a portion of her proceeds from this book to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Very cool.


2 comments:

Little Willow said...

An eye-catching cover for a wonderful book about hope and acceptance.

Melissa Walker said...

I love how your book bag connected with these Cover Stories this weekend, LW!