Effective Book Covers

Today’s Literacy focus had the Grade 7s thinking critically about the intentions that authors and publishers have when publishing a new book. To begin, we discussed the steps a book undergoes before making its way to book store shelves (author writes the book, then tries to sell it to a publisher, then negotiations to create a contract between the author and publisher, design of the book, a marketing plan and finally book store shelves). From that, we were able to discuss how book publishers manipulate the covers of a book to ensure that it is appealing to readers. Students identified the following criteria for book covers:
– Design (placement of title, author name and pictures; use of photos, art, drawings etc; use of stencilling or graphics)
– Colors (use of color to match title, story, genre, series, theme, mood etc…)
– Font (size of title and author’s name, font selection; font colors)
– Extras (embellishments, such as raised lettering)
– Information (size of award badges, “recommended by”)
– Genre (fiction vs non-fiction and the necessity to align formal look)
After this brainstorm (which incidentally was GREAT!), students selected a novel to read for the upcoming Independent Novel Study unit. Once we returned to the classroom, students answered the following question (which incidentally is HOMEWORK!):
Examine your book cover. Have the author and publisher(s) created an effective book cover? Use the class web and your novel cover to support your position.
With the diverse variety of books that the students selected, I’m certain that they will have ample opportunity to think critically about the book covers.
By the way, if you’re wondering how this relates to the “world outside of the classroom”; you may want to check out the news article at this site. As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with media messages to “buy this”. Developing the discernment to know when and how you’re being influenced is an essential skill for our future buyers! (After all, someday they’ll be spending THEIR OWN MONEY!) 🙂

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