We all know that saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” which I’ve always agreed with. I think you should judge book covers solely based on the art being presented. I love love love a pretty book cover. One that makes me do any of the following:
- Widen my eyes to the point where I think they might fall out of my head
- Contemplate getting matching nail art and/or merch
I have spent hours on the internet just looking at book covers. Sometimes I’m not even actually interested in the book itself and I won’t want to buy it (Although, why write a book and have a lame cover? That’s a concept I’ve never understood). I think admiring book covers is another hobby related to reading much like book shopping is very different from actually reading the books you buy.
There are some book covers I’ve seen over the years that have made me stop in my tracks and made me feel things be it happiness, sadness, powerful and jealousy because I was never good at art. Here are some of my recent favourites. (When I was writing out this list I realised that there were so many so I’ve decided to split this post into two parts and kind of categorize my picks).
Legacy of Orisha Series – Tomi Adeyemi
When I first saw the cover for Tomi Adeyemi’s, The Children of Blood & Bone I was stunned, I think it is absolutely gorgeous. This gorgeous, dark-skinned female warrior made me want to know the entire story. I had to buy it.
The cover for The Children of Virtue & Vengeance was revealed on the same day that the trailer for Beyonce’s Coachella documentary dropped. That shows you how excited I was cuz mi all remember di day! I daresay I might actually like the cover for this one more than the first book.
Julián is a Mermaid – Jessica Love
I came across this book on Instagram recently and the cover just made me smile and giddy with happiness. Children’s books have come so far. I saw some other illustrations from the book and they are fantastic, full of imagery of black mermaids (side eyes the #notmyariel idiots). I’m definetly going to try get this one for my niece, or myself. Look, we who had to read about Dick and Jane & their ball deserve nice children’s books.
Barracoon. The Story of the Lat “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston
I remember the first time I saw this cover, my heart hurt. Not only because of the subject matter but the man (Cudjo Lewis) on the cover looked like he could be any elder gentleman I might meet on the daily. The photo of him, I felt like he was staring at me and asking me to see his pain. After reading the book and learning how his picture being taken came about, it made the cover even more poignant and haunting. I legit cried.
Black Girl Magic
These are the covers that just make me think of Black Girl Magic instantly.
Black Girl in Paris – Shay Youngblood
Do any of you remember that art series that the artist, Pierre Jean-Louis did a few years ago on Black women’s natural hair being magic? Here is the link. I loved that series and when I saw the cover of Shay Youngblood’s, Black Girl in Paris, I was reminded of it. The butterflies, the lips, the eyes, they just ooze sophistication to me (except smoking kills). Plus the contour and highlight is on point.
The Dark Fantastic – Ebony Elizabeth Thomas
What is this cover!?!? I find it so hard to look away and I’m dying to see it in person. Give whoever designed this cover ALL of the awards. ALL of them.
How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? – N.K. Jemison
*Dreamy sigh* Not only is a cover like this amazing but it’s so necessary. Maybe if imagery like this had been more prevalent and accessible, there wouldn’t be so many black people across the world believing that their natural hair is unkempt and impossible to deal with. They could have felt that their dark skin is worthy of being on a book cover and not something to be ashamed of. It feels like progress & potential.
The Body is not an Apology. The Power of radical Self-Love – Sonya Renee Taylor
I know Sonya Renee Taylor as a spoken word poet and I had heard her poem of the same name. When I saw that she had written a book and that this was the cover, I squealed! To not only have a cover like this but to be your own cover model? I mean, straight winning. I also feel like this cover would be Lizzo approved and who doesn’t want that?
Patsy – Nicole Dennis-Benn
The book that inspired this post. I guarantee you it’s even prettier in person. Thank goodness I got the one with this cover instead of the American version cuz dat one boring. Also, my Patsy inspired manicure wouldn’t have been as cute with the purple and orange cover, just saying.
The Girl With the Hazel Eyes – Callie Browning
I have been low-key obsessed with this book cover since the first time I saw it. I wish I had a physical copy of the book to really see the full cover as the author said that when you read the book, the cover would tie into the story which to me is a great idea. Also, can we take a moment to really appreciate that eyebrow? Beauty guru’s could never.
Queen of the Conquered – Kacen Callendar
Y’all…y’all!!! This could have also fallen under the Black Girl Magic category as well tbh. To say I’m in love with this cover would be an understatement. Does it give anyone else Tomb of the Unknown Racist/ American Horror Story: Coven vibes? (That’s the only season I watched, because of Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates). The cover is just perfection and I can’t wait to read this book.
The Night Guest – Fiona McFarlane
Photo courtesy of thelitmalaysian.
I saved this one for last because technically this isn’t the actual book cover for this novel. It is, but it isn’t. This is what you see when you take the jacket off of the hardcover edition. Isn’t that just brilliant! How original is that? Can you imagine seeing that for the first time? Genius. I would buy the book just for that, maybe…I confess I have no idea what the book is about but details details…like the details that were paid attention to when the artists came up with this cover concept.
These are only some of the book covers I’ve bookishly lusted after. There are definitely more but then this post would be way too long so I will see you back here for part two 🙂 Please let me know what book covers you love so I can check them out, let’s gasp at pretty book covers together.
‘Til next time 🙂