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  • Writer's pictureIshta Mercurio

Cover Collection 30: At The Mountain's Base, written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Al

Welcome to Cover Collection, my mostly weekly blog post in which I talk about book covers that I love, and break down what makes them so great. Things are upside down and sideways with all the social distancing and self-isolation recommendations because of the coronavirus pandemic, so I'll be posting more than usual this week.

Today, I want to highlight the cover of At The Mountain's Base, written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre, and designed by Jasmin Rubero. It's OUTSTANDING. Take a look:

a woman's spirit rises up from behind a mountain, smiling down at the trees, cabin, and people at the mountain's base

This cover is pure love.

I love this cover. I LOVE THIS COVER. I love it so much! What do I love about it?

I love the visual elements of this cover: the way the woman* is rising up, watching over the people in the clearing, behind the mountain but also kind of part of the mountain at the same time: strong and powerful and loving. (I LOVE the expression on her face! This is the most loving cover illustration I've ever seen.) I look at her, and I feel at peace. And look at the way she is holding the threads that flow down from her hands, across the landscape, through the trees, behind the cabin, off into the distance. They're clearly the same threads that make up the weaving behind her, and the way they disappear off the edges of the cover imply that they weave throughout the lives of the people she is watching over. And look at her hair! I love the way it billows through the sky and fades into the clouds, mirroring the way the smoke from the chimney of the cabin billows through the air. It gives her an ethereal quality, even as the fact that she is leaning on the mountain grounds her. It's a wonderful portrait of a character who is barely mentioned in the text, but whose presence can be felt throughout the book.

I also love the title font. The boldness and solidness of the letters, and the way they're positioned half in and half out of the clouds, hints at something that we learn partway through the story. I won't spoil it here, but it makes sense once you've read the book!

I also love the way this cover is balanced: the way the cabin and people are really small and way down at the bottom, and the cover is dominated by the mountain and the woman rising behind it. And yet, despite this visual weight, the woman's gaze brings us back to the people and the cabin at the mountain's base.

This cover is such a work of art. I haven't got the time or space to say everything I want to say about it. What are your thoughts? What do you love about it? Drop your thoughts in the comments and let's continue the conversation!

*I'm making an assumption that she is a woman, because she is womanly looking to my eyes. But this is an assumption. It might be that this is a person without gender, or a person who embodies more than one gender. I don't know, so I'm guessing.

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