Cover Reveal: GOOD DIFFERENT
It’s cover reveal day at Mixed-Up Files, and we’re so excited! Today we get to reveal the cover for Meg Eden Kuyatt’s middle-grade debut: GOOD DIFFERENT.
Here it is!
Okay, okay, I’m just playing. That’s not exactly it …. and I PROMISE I really will show you in just a moment. t’s AMAZING and I’m chomping at the bit to share …. in just a minute or two.
When we do a cover reveal here at Mixed-Up Files, before we show you the art, we love the chance to hear from the wonderful creators who turn an author’s themes and characters into covers that will lure readers to pick up the book. For GOOD DIFFERENT, that artist was Luna Valentine.
Meet Illustrator Luna Valentine
MUF: How did you decide which story elements to focus on for this cover?
LV: I’ve had a lot of input and help from an incredible design team. We’ve explored a lot of different ideas and in the end had a wide variety of ideas to choose from. I think early on the phrase “be a dragon” stood out to me personally and I tried to incorporate it as a design element in every idea we worked on. It’s really empowering to be a dragon.
MUF: Which elements did you enjoy working with the most?
LV: My absolute favourite part was the character design. I feel like you can connect to a story on a whole new level if you connect with the protagonist, and from the moment I got the character description of Selah I could just picture her so clearly in my head. Now getting her to look exactly like she did in my head was a challenge but it was so much fun.
MUF: What is your artistic process for cover art?
LV: Usually I start with super rough, teeny tiny sketches straight away after reading the brief, just to get my initial ideas down on paper. Then I’ll do an in depth character design, usually with a bunch of different hair styles, clothing choices, maybe even a couple of different expressions. I draw the character in a lot of different poses. The first sketches are always so stiff and lifeless, but when you get into it, and allow yourself the time to experiment with different ideas, different designs and even make some mistakes, your sketches will finally start looking the way you want them to. I think the key is not to spend too much time on artwork at first and then go back and refine it over days, even weeks until it starts looking the way you want it to.
MUF: What do you enjoy about illustrating cover artwork in general?
LV: Honestly my favourite part is seeing it in print, on a shelf in a book shop or on my doorstep. I love the feeling of a new book. And knowing I helped to create it is so satisfying.
Luna is a Polish children’s book illustrator, living in Nottingham, UK.
She works digitally, finding inspiration in folk tales, video games, cute Japanese food, under her bed and other places nobody thinks to look. Her art has been described as humorous, quirky and colorful. At Nottingham Trent University she studied Graphic Design and went on to receive her Masters in Illustration. Luna has worked with a variety of clients including Paper Rose, Paperchase and Arteza. When Luna is not drawing, you can find her traveling the world to find the perfect cup of coffee.
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The Cover Reveal
And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for … drum roll …. the real thing! Here’s the cover for GOOD DIFFERENT, by Meg Eden Kuyatt.
About GOOD DIFFERENT
A extraordinary novel-in-verse for fans of Starfish and A Kind of Spark about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference.
Selah knows her rules for being normal.
She always, always sticks to them. This means keeping her feelings locked tightly inside, despite the way they build up inside her as each school day goes on, so that she has to run to the bathroom and hide in the stall until she can calm down. So that she has to tear off her normal-person mask the second she gets home from school, and listen to her favorite pop song on repeat, trying to recharge. Selah feels like a dragon stuck in a world of humans, but she knows how to hide it.
Until the day she explodes and hits a fellow student.
Selah’s friends pull away from her, her school threatens expulsion, and her comfortable, familiar world starts to crumble.
But as Selah starts to figure out more about who she is, she comes to understand that different doesn’t mean damaged. Can she get her school to understand that, too, before it’s too late?
Meet Author Meg Eden Kuyatt
MUF: Did you get to weigh in on any of these details in this cover art?
MEK: I gave a description of Selah (the protagonist) and some ideas of what I was envisioning, as well as styles I liked. My main comment was that I really wanted a dragon integrated into the cover—and I LOVE how Luna did this!
MUF: Is there one element of this illustration that stands out in particular for you as the author or that resonates with favorite parts of your story?
MEK: My favorite parts are Selah’s dragon wings. I love how they’re built out of all these things Selah learns in the novel, like the sensory tools she discovers (like earplugs and sunglasses), or how she rethinks words she’s grown up hearing, like “weird.” I really love how it shows that the tools Selah learns about empower her, like dragon wings! I can’t imagine a better image that captures the heart of this story!
MUF: Anything else you would like to tell us about your cover and why it is special to you?
MEK: I really didn’t have ideas for the cover, or a specific way I envisioned it, but it was really important to me that it would pull in kids who, like Selah, may also have a special interest in dragons. So I was incredibly happy to see this cover, which captured what I wanted, even though I didn’t know how to express it! It gives a magical touch (because writing is magic!) but still tells us this is a contemporary story, that you can find those little glimmers of magic in the real world. I’m in love with my cover!
MUF: Congratulations, and we’re so excited to read GOOD DIFFERENT!
Meg Eden Kuyatt is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She is the author of the 2021 Towson Prize for Literature winning poetry collection “Drowning in the Floating World” (Press 53, 2020) and children’s novels, most recently “Good Different” (Scholastic, 2023).
Stay In Touch and Preorder
Facebook: Meg Eden Writes Poems