Roberta Pressel: Kidlit Book-Designer Extraordinaire
After reading the manuscript, the editor and I discussed what would work best for the cover image. We wanted to show Manami’s wistfulness and sadness, but also her hopefulness that the pictures she’s sending will bring her dog back. Julia did not have to do too many sketches before she created the perfect image.
When you first saw Julia’s final illustrations for the cover of PAPER WISHES, what was your emotional response?
I thought that Julia had completely captured the essence of the book.
Though PAPER WISHES details a sad and dark time in U.S. history, in your opinion, how does the cover embody hope?
The image of Manami tossing the picture of her dog into the air indicates that she is hopeful her dog will return and that everything will be okay again. Her expression also shows that no matter what her surroundings are, she is optimistic that things will get better. Her pose and actions are in contrast to the bleak background of the art.
What story do you hope your cover tells?
I'm hoping that the cover exemplifies the heart of the story--a young girl who feels isolated in a strange place, wishing for her dog and her past life.
If you could give a “Paper Wish” to the young people reading this novel, what would it be?
If I could give a "Paper Wish" to the young people reading this novel, it would be that they think about Manami's story and how it relates to the world today--how important it is to not let fear cloud judgment. I also hope that young people will be inspired by Manami's struggle to overcome her situation and not give up hope.
PAPER WISHES is historical-fiction for middle-grade readers ages 8-12. It is written by Lois Sepahban and published by Margaret Ferguson Books, January 2016. Read a starred Kirkus Review HERE.