Beth Kephart is a master storyteller. Her words are poetic. I've said this 1000 times, and it's true in each book. Here she is with the Cover Story for her latest work of art, The Heart is Not a SIze:
"Because my fourth young adult novel, The Heart is Not a Size, was inspired by a trip that I took to a squatters' village in Juarez, I had a strong visual sense of the country and the people I hoped the book's cover might portray. Georgia, my narrator, is, like me, a photographer. She has her new digital camera perpetually hanging from her neck. It was my hope, originally, to have one of Georgia's photographs grace the cover of the book--a portrait of the gorgeous children Georgia meets perhaps, or a study of shadows and contrast during a raging dust storm.
"But such absolute realism, Marketing worried, could suggest--to a bookstore browser--that Heart was a work of nonfiction, and so a different route was pursued. "Initial designs for the cover featured a Caucasian girl in a cute, short T-shirt; the photo was cropped tightly, revealing the model's mid-section and nothing more. It was a bright cover--eye-catching and commercially appealing--and I knew that Harper had given the look much care and concerted effort. But I worried that Juarez wasn't there, nor Georgia (who is hardly fashion forward). Harper graciously took another look and produced the cover that was ultimately selected.
"The photograph is not one I took, and it is, from what I understand, a careful montage. It suggests a story that takes place far away, in a country about which we do not know nearly enough--a country that now broadcasts itself to us in extremely painful headlines. Drug wars, murders, assassinations. That is the Juarez we've come to know. But there is so much more to that place.
"When I was in Juarez, in 2005, I met people who were gorgeous inside and out--children and parents whose fates I wonder about every day. If only I could safeguard them with my love for them, I think. All I can do--all I have--is the book that they inspired."
Thank you, Beth. Now, watch a video with many of Beth's Juarez images (like the gorgeous one at right), and an excerpt read by Beth herself:
What does this cover say to you guys?