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!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cover Stories: A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell

Lisa Ann Sandell's latest novel is heartbreaking and lyrical, just as the cover indicates. I asked her to share her Cover Story, and she graciously obliged:

Map of Known World JKT2.jpg
"As I wrote A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD, I had no idea what this book might look like. With the title, I of course had a map in mind, but I wasn't sure what that map would look like. I didn't want to give too much away right up front, so I really struggled with this.

"Fortunately for me, Elizabeth B. Parisi, the art director who designed both A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD and my previous book, SONG OF THE SPARROW, is a genius, and she really got this book. She called my editor, the brilliant Aimee Friedman (also a phenomenal author), and me into her office to tell us that she'd come up with the idea of using the heart/sculpture as a central image. Elizabeth also thought of layering it on top of a map. If you look closely at the cover, you can see that in the black background are gridlines of a map.

"As soon as she told Aimee and me what she was thinking, we were both super excited. Elizabeth showed us photos of the work of a sculptor she knew, Leo Sewell. He calls himself a junk sculptor, and if you visit his web site, you can see that he sculpts these phenomenal pieces out of found objects. So, Elizabeth had seen one of his sculptures, the Big Apple and was inspired to use it as the basis for the heart. She photographed the
MOTKW heart.jpg
apple, then had artist Tim O'Brien paint a new piece, using the apple as a guide, in the shape of a heart.

"This process couldn't have been smoother or more delightful. Basically, as soon as she was finished reading the manuscript, Elizabeth had the idea, and Aimee and I were totally on board with it. And in the end, I can't think of a single image that would better capture the spirit of Cora's story, and I couldn't be more grateful for how beautiful this cover is or how perfect."

I love Lisa's Cover Story, especially because it incorporates real art that mirrors the work done in the book--perfect! What do you guys think?


Little Willow said...

Great book, perfect cover.

Donna Gambale said...

I also am a huge fan of this cover. Really cool story behind it.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

So interesting! Sorry I missed meeting Lisa in NYC this week. Rats!

A Lil Sumpin' Sumpin' said...

I love how collaborative the process was and how beautiful the final image is. Bravo everyone.

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