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.
"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.
"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.