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  • Writer's pictureIshta Mercurio

Cover Collection 10: Honeysmoke, by Monique Fields, illustrated by Yesenia Moises

Hey, everybody! Welcome back to the blog! Happy New Year! I took a much-needed break over the holidays, but now we are back with a whole bunch of fun posts lined up.

Today, its Cover Collection time! Cover Collection is my (mostly) weekly blog series in which I pick out book covers that I really like, and talk about what works. And today, I have a very special cover for you! As regular readers of this blog know, this is a debut year for me: my first work of fiction, SMALL WORLD, is coming out in July (and is available for preorder now, holy smokes, hooray!), and it is also my first book as a solo author. And I am so fortunate to be a part of a debut group of picture book authors called New In Nineteen. It has been awesome to be part of a group of people who are all feeling our way through the publishing experience! So throughout the year, I will be spotlighting some covers from this group, and today, TODAY, I am spotlighting the first one! Take a look at HONEYSMOKE, which is OUT NOW, written by Monique Fields, illustrated by Yesenia Moises, and designed by Ellen Duda:

Cover of HONEYSMOKE: a girl with big golden-brown hair and tan skin is pictured in the center, surrounded by smoke in shades of purple, blue and pink

Look at that adorable dreamer!

HONEYSMOKE is the story of Simone, a biracial girl who is neither black nor white, and who needs a name for her unique color. And I love this! As a person of mixed heritage (Irish-Italian dad and Filipino-Polish mom), I can relate to Simone. None of the crayons in the box look like my skin. But also, let us think about this for a second: we use the words black and white to describe our skin tones, but is anybody LITERALLY black or white? Of course not. And this book invites us all to reconsider how we describe our own skin, how we describe ourselves and each other, and to broaden not only our vocabulary, but our way of thinking when it comes to race and ethnicity. It offers a gift to children: to see themselves as unique, as wonderful, and as part of the melting pot of this Earth.

SO, how does the cover support that? First, with the image of Simone: her hair is multi-toned, with shades of gold and tan and brown, and it is the definition of honey-colored hair. And her skin is a smoky shade of beige. I feel like Yesenia took the title of the book and really nailed it here.

And second, with the color palette in the title and in the background: shades of purple, pink, blue, and red swirl together like smoke rising from incense, and this spectrum reinforces the point that the book is making: that all of our skin tones fall on a spectrum, and that we each have a color that is our very own.

There are other touches that work here. The subtitle--a story of finding your color--gives readers more of a hint as to what the story is about. And I love the way Simone is glowing, with a golden halo behind her glorious hair. It places an emphasis on her uniqueness, which is a focal point of the story. And all of this means that this is a book whose cover functions as an extension of the story itself, which is what covers are supposed to do.

As always, I am out of room and time. But there is so much more to say! What are your thoughts? What do you like about this adorable cover? Drop your thoughts in the comments and continue the conversation!

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