Coverlust: Middle Grade Special


Vanessa Di Gregorio

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a total coverlust junkie. I spend WAY too much time admiring pretty covers (so much so that I even started just saving them to my computer to periodically look at). Can you say, addicted? Though I suppose, compared to my addiction to junk food, it isn’t nearly as bad.

Anyways, lately I’ve been finding that MG (middle grade) books have FANTASTIC covers galore! I’ve been finding myself gravitating towards MG covers lately more than YA ones – perhaps because MG covers don’t really look alike (except that a lot of them have fantastic illustrations). Many of the covers I’m highlighting below are also very creative with title and author name treatments! So, I thought today we could do a MG coverlust special! 🙂

Okay, so the first MG cover that I absolutely love is the one for THE HUMMING ROOM! Isn’t it pretty? The colours, the illustration, the way some of the flowers are out of focus – even the mysterious guy in the background! GORGEOUS! And the font is fantastic, too!


Next up is the wonderfully dark, monochromatic cover for THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS. I don’t even know where to start! But let’s start with the FANTASTIC title, and the equally fantastic font that make up the gate. The bare branches creeping in from the sides, the stars that outline the sky (and the hill that the house is on). And I’m even adoring what looks like untied shoelaces on the boy! It’s amazing how a cover can be both simple and incredibly detailed at the same time!


This next MG book cover is steampunk-a-licious! THE PECULIAR not only has an awesome cover, but an awesome title! This time, we’ve got the silhouette of feathers at the forefront, and a fantastically illustrated mechanical bird! Plus, this book is being described as THE GRAVEYARD BOOK meets JONATHON STRANGE & MR. NORRELL! So if the cover didn’t make you want to read this book, that description HAS to!


JUNIPER BERRY is another example of making the title of the book (as well as the author’s name!) a part of the cover (and not just floating text). With an absolutely beautiful illustration, this cover instantly screams, read me! I especially love how the book’s subtitle and the author’s name are carved into the tree, and the lighting and colours are awesome. And the lack of a blue sky in the background really adds to the atmospheric look.


I’ve always gravitated towards fantastical covers and equally fantastical titles, and KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES does’t disappoint! An epic sky? Check! Capes? Check! A mysterious light? Another check! I really do love a good illustrated cover, and this cover is lovely. I feel like my face must mirror the face of the girl on the cover every time I look at this cover – I think it’s just so striking!


What are YOUR thoughts on these covers? Any of them really stick out/appeal to you? Why, or why not? And do you have any fave MG covers? 

Vanessa Di Gregorio works in publishing as a sales rep at Ampersand, a book and gift sales agency. She is also a former literary agency intern. When she isn’t out selling books and talking to bookstores, Vanessa can be found over at Something Geeky, GoodreadsTwitter, or writing for Paper Droids.

25 Responses to Coverlust: Middle Grade Special

  1. SunnyReader Apr 12 2012 at 4:30 am #

    I like The Peculiar the best.

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Apr 12 2012 at 9:42 am #

      I was so happy when I stumbled across that cover! (But I also happen to have a thing for anything steampunk ;))

  2. Julie Apr 12 2012 at 7:09 am #

    THE CAVENDISH HOME is my fave, I think because I’ve always had a thing for wrought iron gates! (I discovered this when they kept popping up in my writing. :D) GREAT POST, V!

  3. Jennie Brown Apr 12 2012 at 8:36 am #

    I love all of these covers! Looking forward to reading them all!

  4. Jennifleura Apr 12 2012 at 9:00 am #

    These are so beautiful! I remember reading somewhere that, with the increasing numbers of e-books, real books are becoming more and more like beautiful objects in themselves. Things to treasure and admire as art – which is always good! I think I actually prefer these illustrated covers to the photography which seems to be prevalent in YA covers at the moment. Thank you for a lovely post! xx

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Apr 12 2012 at 9:48 am #

      Yes! That’s definitely been a huge topic in publishing – whether or not the print book will remain in existence with the growing number of ebooks and e-readers. And a lot of people DO see books as something to keep. I was at an industry tech conference, and one of the speakers said, “Ebooks are for reading. Print books are for having.” (But, though I own an ereader, I rarely ever use it – I much prefer filling up my bookshelves!)

      And I’m just like you – I prefer illustrated covers over photography! They just stick out to me more, and tend to draw me into a book. Some of my fave YA books have illustrated covers: SABRIEL and THE GOLDEN COMPASS, for example!

      • April Tucholke Apr 12 2012 at 1:29 pm #

        Couldn’t agree more. Illustrations. All. The. Way. The original Sabriel cover is so gorgeous it kills.

        • Krispy Apr 12 2012 at 2:40 pm #

          Absolutely agree on Sabriel! All those years ago, I actually bought the book based on the cover alone, I was so in love with it! The story, of course, didn’t disappoint either!

  5. Erin Bowman Apr 12 2012 at 9:23 am #

    I love MG covers to death. The illustrations are so vast in style, but all equally magical. Like Jennifleura above, I prefer this route to the photography-dominated YA trend.

    • Erin Bowman Apr 12 2012 at 9:23 am #

      OH. And have you seen the cover for WILDWOOD?! *swoons*

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Apr 12 2012 at 9:49 am #

      Same! And I totally agree – magical is the PERFECT word to describe these illustrated covers!

  6. Claire Legrand Apr 12 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Thanks so much for the shoutout, Vanessa! I’m honored to be included with these absolutely stunning covers! 😀

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Apr 12 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      It was my pleasure, Claire! I’m REALLY looking forward to reading THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS! (And how excited are you to have such a lovely cover?)

  7. Shannon Messenger Apr 12 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Awwww, thanks for the KEEPER shoutout–and for putting me with such amazing company! These are definitely some of my favorite middle grade covers too!

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Jul 11 2012 at 11:07 am #

      Of course! I’m SUPER excited for KEEPER (and I do mean SUPER!!!!!!), and it’s got such a fantastic cover! LOVE it!

  8. Krispy Apr 12 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    I totally agree with you. I love how DYNAMIC and creative MG covers are. They take more risks, I think. I’m so curious about The Peculiars now! Adding it to my TBR immediately. I fell in love with the Cavendish Home cover when it was revealed not so long ago. The upcoming YA book, Unspoken, has a similar cover, but the style is more like the cover of adult fantasy book The Book of Lost Things.

    As for MG covers I love, I actually adore most of the Percy Jackson covers (color-themed and matching without being matchy-matchy), and I’m enjoying the covers for the new series, Heroes of Olympus, which are totally epic (giant mechanical dragon on the first book, Percy retrieving a golden eagle standard out of an icy sea on the 2nd *loves*)!

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Jul 11 2012 at 11:09 am #

      I absolutely 110% agree with you on the Percy Jackson & Heroes of Olympus covers! I mean, how can you walk past those covers and NOT want to read them? They just SCREAM magical epic awesomeness!

  9. Yahong Apr 12 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Dude, you’re so right on MG covers being awesome. I think YA covers are being marketed hard and fast towards a narrow age bracket, and it feels to me that publishers haven’t been willing to step outside the box in an artistic sense, whereas the box for MG covers has always been a little bigger. And I agree with Sunny, The Peculiar is an absolutely gorgeous cover.

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Jul 11 2012 at 11:15 am #

      I do wish YA would move away from the cover trend it’s currently on – I’m much more inclined to pick up a book with an illustrated cover – but stuff like that is subjective, you know? There are probably tons of people who love the tacky YA covers that are over-saturating the market! Thankfully, there are always the wonderful MG books to keep me happy 🙂

  10. Daphne Jul 11 2012 at 10:43 am #

    All of these covers are amazing! I love Middle Grade books and I’m definitely checking a few of these out just by the covers alone. Shallow, maybe, but certainly justified!

    Thanks for the recommendations. I’m especially looking forward to Keeper of Lost Cities and the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls!

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Jul 11 2012 at 11:12 am #

      I do sometimes feel a little guilty about how book covers can influence whether I want to read a book or not…. but I DO have some background in visual art/design, so I tell myself that I just admire (or shake my head in disappointment) when books have stunning covers (either for the art/photography, or the typography, or both!).

      And you’re very welcome, Daphne! 🙂

  11. Sandy Aug 1 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    I love all of these! Especially The Humming Room and The Peculiar but really I just love illustrated covers in general, they add such a unique and customized look to a book cover. Always giving a little insight to a story. Have you seen the covers for The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter (same artist as The Humming Room, Jason Chan), it is wonderfully creepy, and Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill just has wonderful text and a dragon!

    Scribing Shadows

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