Considering the Content: A Cover Reveal of Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Tucholke, ill. Khoa Le
Often a cover reveal is just that. You reveal a book jacket for a title that will appear on shelves some time in the far flung future and that is that. Me? I like a little content with a reveal. And what could be better content than the author and the illustrator of a single picture book both weighing in on why a particular book engendered a particular book jacket?
Today is my great pleasure to announce that on September 13th of this year Ms. April Genevieve Tucholke will be penning Algonquin Young Readers’ FIRST EVER children’s picture book, Beatrice Likes the Dark. The author in question is being paired with none other than the magnificent Khoa Le. If that name sounds familiar, it may be because she’s lent her skills to some of the loveliest picture books out there. Books like Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar and The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang come immediately to mind.
This book though? Here’s a quick synopsis:
Beatrice likes the dark. She likes black clothes, graveyard picnics, and a sky full of stars. Her sister, Roo, likes the light. She likes bright clothes, picking strawberries, and hot, sunny days. Beatrice and Roo are nothing alike and don’t understand each other. Can Beatrice help Roo love the dark as much as she does? Can Roo help Beatrice love the light? Or are they simply too different to get along?
With lushly detailed artwork, award-winning illustrator Khoa Le brings to vivid life acclaimed author April Tucholke’s heartwarming, slightly spooky tale about two very different sisters who learn to celebrate their individuality, understanding that love runs deeper than their differences.
It’s not enough. I wanted to know why this particular cover (which you’ll get to see at the bottom of the post, scout’s honor) was the one selected. Fortunately, both author and illustrator came ready with answers.
First, the author:
From April Tucholke:
The inspiration behind Beatrice Likes the Dark lies in my love of introverts. As a child, I was a shy, daydreamy Pisces farm girl, and I preferred doing quiet things in the shadows to doing loud things in the sun. The world often doesn’t know what to do with kids like this—children who are more afraid of the light than the dark. But eventually, like Beatrice, I came out of my shell and learned to love the sunshine as much as the shadows.
Khoa’s illustrations for this book left me speechless—she so perfectly captured the spirit and feel of Beatrice (and Roo) that I was genuinely moved when I saw the full-color art for the first time. Beatrice is the spitting image of me (complete with black, round specs). I’ve been an author for a decade, but I’ve never had an experience like this—seeing a young April illustrated by someone with Khoa’s talent. And the cover, with Beatrice in the tree, and the crescent moon, and the spiderweb, and the black cat, and the raven on her knee . . . incredible.
Then, the illustrator:
From Khoa Le:
When I received the brief of Beatrice Likes the Dark, I felt such an instant connection. Beatrice was based on the author as a young adult but I felt so related to her as well, since I was also a quiet, introverted and full of imagination child. I even have a black cat now, just like Beatrice. Therefore, designing the cover is such a joy, as I tried to be in Beatrice’s shoes, I just simply thought, what would Beatrice like the most and what place would make her feel most comfortable as herself.
After some time brainstorming, I gave the editor and designer team a few sketch options. One with Beatrice running through the moonlit mystical woods, once with Beatrice sitting in the dark and surrounded by nature, playing with her torch light, and finally one with Beatrice sitting on a tree under the moonlight. The last sketch was the most favoured out of the three and we all agreed on it. I felt so happy seeing the cover done in full color, the image of delighted Beatrice in company of her “friends”. It felt like I successfully created a piece of Beatrice’s world. Even though it seems to be a dark story, in fact it is heart-warming and beautiful, and embracing a child’s uniqueness and difference. I love that message from a children’s book.
I can’t thank both April and Khoa for taking the time out of their days to give this glimpse into a bit of their process.
And now… the cover:
Thanks to Amanda Dissinger, the folks at Algonquin Young Readers, April Tucholke and Khoa Le for helping to set up this reveal. Beatrice Likes the Dark is available everywhere September 13th. Be ready for it. It’s destined to have its fans.
Filed under: Cover Reveal
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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