04 October 2007

Cover Art

We recently switched to RFID (Radio Frequency ID) at the library. Because of the change, we had to tag our entire collection. We weeded the collection as we went, a process librarians use to discard outdated, unpopular, and unattractive materials. A large selection of the teen books I discarded were from the 1980s and featured the most awkward cover art. I'm a child of the '80s and I remember thinking that the cover art for certain books was just lovely. I was especially fond of the fetching outfits the members of the Babysitters Club wore.

I discarded a lot of books solely because I know I won't be able to convince teens to pick up them up with the 1980s covers, even if they ARE good books. (I also got rid of almost all our Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew books. It made me feel like the anti-Librarian, but they don't circulate in our library anymore.)

Sadly, I didn't save the best covers and most of them aren't available online. I found a couple of good ones, though, and I did save one of my favorites.

Nothing but the Truth by Avi
This is a Newbery Honor book. We still own it, but it hardly ever checks out. To get teens to touch it, I have to do a whole song and dance and crawl on my knees cryinging, "Mea culpa, mea culpa! I'm the one who keeps it in the collection! I KNOW that the boy on the cover has terrible hair and that you would NEVER wear jeans that color, but you WILL like it if you just mentally block out the offending image of the boy who looks like half my sixth grade class did in 1989." I looked for a newer printing of the book to replace our copy this week, but they're still selling it with this cover!

I don't think you can really see how special the kid's hair is.

Steal Away by Jennifer Armstrong
I don't understand this next cover at all.

This is the annotation from our book vendor:
In 1855 two thirteen-year-old girls, one white and one black, run away from a southern farm and make the difficult journey north to freedom, living to recount their story forty-one years later to two similar young girls.

That's right. These girls are living in the year 1855 (or maybe 1896), and they're wearing blazers with huge shoulder pads, pegged pants, and scrunched up socks. They're dressed like the girl from "My Two Dads." The abolitionists are going to send those girls packing, when they see those pants.

Looks Aren't Everything by J.D. Landis
This is my favorite. I saved the cover. I think you all understand why.

The Lady Investigates by Patricia Craig and Mary Cadogan
I really do like this cover. I saved this one, too, because I think it's excellent. It's from a book in my 800s collection (well, it's not there anymore). I'm trying to think of something I can turn it into to preserve the art in a useful way. Suggestions?


Kirsten said...

I am wiping a tear from my eye. One of the first books I read on my own was a Nancy Drew story my mom had. Something about a clock and crime of course. After that one I read every Nancy Drew I could get me hands on and then moved on to Trixie Belden mysteries. Those were a little more mature (according to my mom) so I didn't read those until I was twelve or thirteen. Man, I love those stories.

Megan said...


I can't believe that you made jam with worms in it :).

I have to admit that I was a Babysitter's fan addict back in the day. The question is--did you have clothes like those on the covers.

Rebekah said...

Are you freaking kidding me?! You got rid of Nancy Drew? What the HELL?!!! What are you smoking?!

And Kirsten, it was the Secret in the Old Clock. One of Nancy's best adventures.

Nemesis said...

Yeah, I'm struggling with this, too. I was weeding through the YA collection and realized that we had an entire shelf of those "I'm just a sad teenager with cancer" books that were so popular in the late 80s and early 90s. I don't know what's wrong with the kids these days, not wanting to read about terminal cancer.

MBC said...

Megan--Fortunately, I was always WAY out of style in my formative years. Not to say that I looked GOOD during those years, but I don't have any pictures of myself with huge hair or vests.

Rebekah--Breathe deeply. The Children's Dept. still owns Nancy Drew. I just weeded her from the ya collection.

Nemesis--I know! I almost posted a cover of Six Months to Live, because it was one of my favorite dying cancer girl books. There's nothing better than girls with cancer who go to camp and have dreamy boyfriends who help them fight to live.

emily said...

My group of friends went through a phase in 5th-6th grade where we were really into those dying and cancer books. It didn't have to even be a teen romance--as long as there was terminal illness, it was good.

The one I'm vaguely remembering now is "P.S. I Love You," where at the beginning of the book, the P.S. stood for Palm Springs, but at the end the girl realizes that the P.S. now stands for Paul Strode, or whatever her boyfriend who died of cancer's name was.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Um, was that huge potato? And I too loved the Nancy Drew books. In fact, if I ever have a daughter I hope to get her into the Nancy Drews. I hope I will be able to find a libary that carries them still.

Amy said...

So my daughter who cannot eat her breakfast or use ANY of the facilities in the bathroom without a book WILL NOT read a Nancy Drew book. Presumably because I told her how much I loved them when I was her age. And those are the only books I saved from my childhood because I loved them so much!

And how sad is this . . . I remember scrutinizing the Babysitter's Club covers for fashion tips. Especially from, I believe, Stacey, the trendy New Yorker.

Stephanie said...

I never got into Nancy Drew, but Iloved the Hardy Boys. Especially the "new" Hardy boy Adventure Files. You know, I think they looked a lot like the boy on the Avi book cover, only one was blonde.

We are also going through the RFID process at my library. One of my co-workers figured out at our current rate of tagging, it'll take us a whole year to be finished. And that's just the main library, we'd still have 22 branches to cover after that. We haven't reached the YA section yet, but we have lost a lot of fun sci-fi fantasys, animal, and cookbooks. :(

MBC said...

STM--That's ABSOLUTELY a potato. Fantastic, right?

Emily--We were way into death, too. And disability. And gymnasts.

marmotgma said...

But WHY is it a potato? Am I missing something. Is there a hidden meaning? Mom

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