Library Book Cover Project

by Karen L. Totten, RSSAA Librarian and Program Director

Students Give an Old Book a New Life-Jacket

Miss Bianca: A Fantasy, by Margery Sharp, with new book cover.
Students from Mrs. Amrine’s third grade class smiled happily this last December when each was presented with a copy of a book cover they had drawn in Second Grade for the Ellie Klopp Memorial Library Book Cover Project. The response of some students, our teacher noted, was to take the finished cover, fold it in half with blank paper in between, staple it together, and proceed to write their own books!

The Library Book Cover Project, an ongoing event that any parent, student, teacher, or staff person at RSSAA can participate in, involves taking a novel from our hardcover collection at Ellie Klopp and painting, drawing, or collaging a dust jacket for the book. Some of the library’s older volumes have lost their jackets over time, and the project is run in the hopes of providing interesting, relevant replacements to books that need them. The cover helps protect the book and provides some colorful elements to enjoy while reading it.
>Please contact a librarian if you are interested!

You can read more about our first Library Book Cover Project, Some History on Book Jacket Art, and Classic Book Jacket Illustrators here...

The Book Cover Project was born in Library Month of October 2014 when Mrs. Margot Amrine’s class took on the book Miss Bianca, A Fantasy. The students listened to the story, then drew and colored a picture that helped illustrate the main character of the piece - a little white mouse named Miss Bianca - who, along with her faithful friend Bernard, fights injustice. 

The book by Marjorie Sharp was first published January 30, 1962, and is part of a series beginning with The Rescuers (1959), wherein the Chairwoman of the Prisoners’ Aid Society adopts a new mission — “the rescue of a little girl who is being held by the wicked Grand Duchess in the icy-cold Diamond Palace. Miss Bianca appeals to the Ladies Guild of the Society to assist her in the daring rescue, and of course things do not go as planned.” 

In December of 2014 the book cover was ready for the next phase of production — adding design elements and writing and adding text to the inside flaps including facts about the story, the author and illustrators (the class), and a little about the book cover project. Library volunteer and 6th grade parent, Renee Mueller, scanned the piece, sized it, finished the design, and took it to the printer. The class was very happy to see their work in print. The dust jacket has been covered with a plastic sleeve, to protect the work, and placed on the shelf in the Fiction section of the Ellie Klopp library. It is available for check out!

Some History on Book Jacket Art:

Book Jackets (also known as dust jackets or wrappers, or book covers) first appeared in 1832, serving as a device by which to protect books during travel between printer and bookstore or library. At that time, books were bound in leather or silk, and were very expensive. 

The first jackets were plain paper, and were discarded as soon as the books were unwrapped for display or use. 

Decorations and artwork began to appear on the paper covers in the late 1800’s.

In some cases, book jackets became places where books could be “advertised” and jackets began to feature artist and illustrator biographies, lists of their other works, as well as publishing house book lists.

The British Museum Dust Jackets Collection contains book covers that date back to 1919.

By the 1920’s the modern dust jacket was born. 

Many book collectors prefer books with original dust jackets still in good condition. The presence of an intact book cover increases the collecting value. 

Classic Book Jackets & Illustrators:

illustrated by Arthur Rackham **

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams **

The Little Prince, written and illustrated
by Antoine de Saint-Exupery **

The House on Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne, 
illustrated by Ernest H. Shephard 

The Wheel on the School by Neindert deJong, 
illustrated by Maurice Sendak **

 written and illustrated by Jan Brett **

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 
illustrated by Tasha Tudor

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, 
illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

**denotes book in Ellie Klopp Memorial Library Collection
at the RSSAA Lower School

And while you are browsing at the Ellie Klopp Library, you can check out this newer selection, The Jacket, written from the perspective of the book which tells the story of how it eventually gets a new book cover from the little girl who brings it home...
The Jacket by Kirsten Hall, illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova


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