Summer on Earth – Book Cover Art – For Now

My upcoming middle grade novel, Summer on Earth, now has book cover art. For now, at least. This is a preliminary cover and the concept may still be changed going forward, but this is what will be used as a placeholder for the marketing. I like the silhouette, the bold colors and the whimsy of the cow on the water tower. The space ship will be enlarged and made more prominent, and the font will be changed to make it stand out more. For now its a start.

As a writer, I deal well with words on the paper, and I am visual, but only up to a point. It is very cool to see what other people, people with a much more artistic bent, come up with for a single image depiction of my story.  A great cover is a huge asset when marketing a book, and getting something that intrigues people and makes them pick up the book to see what it is about is the goal. I think this cover does that, but it isn’t a typical middle grade cover, either.

My publisher is still exploring some other options for cover art, so this may not be the final choice. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Is this a good cover for a middle school novel?

Why Do Adults Read Middle School Novels?

My book, Summer on Earth, which will be released later this year, is a middle school novel. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize that when I wrote it. I had never even heard of the category at the time, and was just writing what I considered a great, moving story, and one that I thought readers of all ages would enjoy. The market categorizes everything though, and because my hero was an 11 year old boy, this was squarely in middle school territory.

I quickly found out I was in good company. Some of my favorite books of all time are middle school novels. Holes by Louis Sachar, and The Giver (both were recommended to me by my kids when they were younger) – middle school novels. To Kill a Mockingbird – a classic, but absolutely a middle school novel. And of course Harry Potter, the first four books at least – all middle school novels. I could go on, but you get the idea.

What do all these books have in common? First they are all great stories, and second they all have a young protagonist. It has been a trend for a while for adults to read young adult books (the Twilight series and The Hunger Games, for example), and there has been some cross over to middle school books too (Wonder). The target for a middle school novel is readers ages 8 to 12. That is a wonderful age. Kids this age have that sense of curiosity at life and believe anything is possible for them and their future. They are still children, but they are looking around the corner to that next stage in their lives. To borrow from the title of an old TV show, these are the true wonder years. Magic is real, and anything is possible. The best books middle school books don’t talk down to their audience, but meet them where they are and give them a ticket to a new reality. For adults, reading these books helps them to recapture what it was like at this age.

Why do you read middle school books? What middle school novels resonate with you? Let me know in the comments.