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A Cover is Not the Book, But it Helps

Just got back from seeing Mary Poppins Returns with A Cover is Not the Book still running through my head. A cover may not be the book indeed, but a good cover will certainly help your book get noticed. I’ve been meaning for a while to write a post about the book covers for the Seed Savers series, so this little ditty is pushing me to finally do it.

Working with a small press (Flying Books House), I’ve been blessed to have a great deal of input on my book covers. Let’s take a look at the cover of Seed Savers-Treasure.


Starting on the right are tomatoes. The Seed Savers series is set in a future where gardening is illegal and real food mostly unknown. The children in book one, Seed Savers-Treasure learn about seeds and food from an older acquaintance who becomes their mentor. The first seeds are tomato seeds.

Along the top are apples. The first time the children hear about real apples is from the mentor, Ana, as she describes what it is like to bite into a fresh apple. Later, while on a journey to find a place where gardens still exist, the children spy what they believe to be an apple tree and consequently taste their first apple. At the end of the book, the children are surprised to find themselves in an “apple forest.”

The peaches on the left and that wrap around the back of the cover represent Ana’s favorite fresh fruit which she describes as “summer sunshine.”

In Seed Savers there are also secret signs and symbols the children learn about and follow on their journey. One sign is purple lupines and another is a circle within a circle, both also represented on the cover. And of course the center graphic shows Clare and her brother Dante on their long bicycle journey traveling only at night.

I think the illustrator, Alan Baker, and the cover designer, Shannon Bodie, did a terrific job, don’t you? It’s a great cover, but as the song says, “a cover is not the book so open it up and take a look.” 🙂 (Lyrics from Mary Poppins Returns Music by Marc Shaiman; lyrics by Scott Wittman)

Order Seed Savers-Treasure now. (Amazon)

Barnes & Noble


For bookstores, libraries, & schools, all books available through Ingram.

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!

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