I’m back with another blog post where I judge books by their covers because I don’t possibly have time to read everything I want to! Today’s edition is middle grade books published in 2020. Was this blog post supposed to go up earlier in the year? Yes. But consider it a holiday shopping guide for all the young readers on your list.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
As anyone who knows me can attest, orange has always and will always be my favorite color. And this cover is so, so, so orange. The color, yes. But also, the spirit of the color is orange if that makes any sense at all. This cover makes me want to live in Zoe’s bedroom. It also makes me want to read this book.
Keep it Together, Keiko Carter by Debbie Michiko Florence
One kidlit cover trend I will never get bored of is the photograph with handwritten font overlay. It’s a very specific aesthetic, but it’s almost always adorable when well-executed. This style screams fun, relatable, and upbeat, and Keiko Carter is all of those things and more.
We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly
I feel like there are so many space books right now. Even still, this one stands out from the rest. For starters, the font choices are perfection, and we all know how much I love a good font. But I also really enjoy the composition of this one–the silhouettes are lovely and all the smaller details contribute something meaningful.
When I Hit the Road by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
In my opinion (as someone who is definitely not nine), this is exactly the kind of cover that would appeal to a nine-year-old. There’s something very nostalgic about it. Like I swear I saw this cover before at a Scholastic book fair in the 90s. It’s fun, it’s upbeat, and it speaks directly to the reader.
Muffled by Jennifer Gennari
I love mixed media covers. I also love the simplicity of this one, the color palette, and the font choice. As much as it’s possible, this cover conveys tone, voice, and character, and all of those things make me want to read. But my main point is that we need more mixed media covers!!! They’re always cool.
Which Way is Home by Maria Kiely
This is not a book I would normally pick up, but thanks to the cover I had to read it (which is really the entire point of covers, right?). It’s so whimsical and colorful and intriguing. Plus the dark green is captivating and 100% jumps off the shelf. More covers like this for realistic fiction, please!!!
A Many Feathered Thing by Lisa Gerlits
Delicate middle grade covers need to make a comeback. I love how light and dainty this one is, and I think this style has a unique appeal to older middle grade readers. I haven’t read this book, but I’m anticipating a quieter read, which is also highly underrated in my not-so-expert opinion.
Dress Coded by Carrie Firestone
Love the book, love the cover. I appreciate seeing a range of body types–especially on a cover!!–and I always enjoy titles that are incorporated into the art. This is one that would jump off the shelf at me (having an A+ title certainly helps with that too).
Summer in the City by Fracaswell Hyman
There are always trends that ebb and flow in the world of book covers. So when I see a cover that doesn’t look like every other illustrated cover, I’m super impressed. I almost feel like this one is ahead of it’s time somehow. Like we’re going to be seeing a billion covers like this sometime soon.
Five Things About Ava Andrews by Margaret Dilloway
Fantastic title and fantastic cover. The greyscale with the pops of color is super inventive, and the font is EVERYTHING. I also appreciate that this cover takes the character illustration trend and flips it in a way that’s quirky, unexpected, and wholly middle grade.
And five honorable mentions. Once again, these would have made the cut if my entire blog wasn’t based on lists of ten: