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  • Writer's pictureIshta Mercurio

Cover Collection 27: The Stuff of Stars, written by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Welcome to Cover Collection, my mostly-weekly blog series in which I rave about book covers that I love and what makes them so good. I missed last week, because life got in the way, so this week I'm going to try to squeeze in two posts to make up for it. So let's get to it!

I want to call your attention to a book I've loved for a long time: The Stuff of Stars, written by Marion Dane Bauer and gorgeously illustrated by the brilliant Ekua Holmes.* Look at this beauty:

Breathtaking, isn't it?

This is the first time I had ever seen marbled paper being used throughout a book, and I LOVE IT. The swirliness of it is perfect for capturing the nebulousness of space and stars.

I also really love the use of silver in the title, and the fact that the letters are made of silver dots instead of being printed as solid letters. It evokes the particulate nature of the atoms and molecules that make up everything that we are and everything that we see, and it's a beautiful way to illustrate, in the text itself, what this book is about.

Finally, I love the color palette here: blues and purples and reds, bright and hot on the people, but cooler and more muted as they swirl through the outer reaches of space. It makes the people stand out from the background, yes. But it also emphasizes the message of the book, that its readers are made of the same fire and the same miracle that burns brightly in our sun and in the stars.

One last thing I want to call attention to is the fact that Holmes has positioned the people on the cover so that their backs are to the viewer, and they are looking out at the vast reaches of space. It invites us to look outward: to the night sky, to space, to the farthest point that the eye can see. What can we know of what is out there? Open the book to find out.

What do you love about this cover? Drop your thoughts in the comments and let's continue the conversation.

*I normally like to credit the book designer too, since they often work closely with the illustrator or cover artist to design the cover. But I couldn't find any information about the person who designed this book, on the jacket flap or the copyright page. Why, PRH? Why did you hide that info? Credit your book designers! The cover is often the thing that sells the book!

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