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The Lightning Queen-New on Shelves

by abby on November 3, 2015 | Comment

middle grade book designed by Abby Dening
{Title Page with front cover reference}

I’m very proud to be sharing this interior book design with you all. It’s a work of love! THE LIGHTNING QUEEN by Laura Resau was published last week by Scholastic. It’s a beautiful story and I wanted it to have an equally beautiful interior book design.

middle grade fiction book designed by AbbyDora Design
{Part Section Opener}

The story takes place in an area called the Hill of Dust in the remote Mexican mountains. There’s an emphasis on the dry, rural aspect to Teo’s village. I visually wanted to reference this dust on the title page and on these part openers. I used layers of scanned dry media textures, like chalk and crayon, to create the designs. Part of the story is also flash back to a “long, long time ago”, so the interior design also has an aged quality to it with hand-drawn elements.

AbbyDora Design created this chapter opener
{Chapter Opener}

Life is quiet for Teo until Esma, The Lightening Queen, comes to town with a group of gyspsies. The Mistress of Destiny predicts that Esma and Teo will become life long friends against all the odds and dangers. Their story spans across generations and will take the help of Teo’s grandson, Mateo, in the end to fulfill their destiny.

Ooooooo…sounds good, right? Happy reading!

New Children’s Books You Should See

by abby on October 14, 2015 | Comment

picture book design by Abby Dening
{New book with custom hand-lettered textured title type}

Books take months to produce and years to publish, so I sometimes loose track of publication dates of the book I designed. This happened to me recently with these 2 fun and lively books: GO TO SLEEP MADDIE! and Book One of the series UPSIDE DOWN MAGIC. I worked on them earlier in the year and I’m happy to say that are now available for purchase or check out your local library!

GO TO SLEEP MADDIE is about a little girl, Maddie, who doesn’t want to sleep. She asks her mom and dad for a glass of water, several bedtime stories, and a check for monsters in her room. When she finally has the lights turned off and she’s tucked into bed, she hears a noise: Quackers! Quackers! It’s her toy duck who needs a bedtime snack of crackers. She gets him his food, but then she hears another noise. Suddenly going to bed isn’t so simple.

picture book by Maureen Wright and illustrated by Elizabeth Schlossberg

I paired 2 interior typefaces together that compliment the comic story and artwork. I also wanted young readers to enjoy the vocal noises of the toys, so those were set in a thick font and colored. The cover type was a blast to create as well. I created a couple of custom pastel art brushes in Photoshop that mimic the pastel texture in the artwork.

magic themed middle grade novel, designed by AbbyDora Design
{Title type design and interior novel design created by AbbyDora Design}

UPSIDE DOWN MAGIC
is the creation of 3 dynamic authors: Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins. This is a new series about Nory, Elliot, Andres, and Bax who are a group of misfits who’s magic goes wonky. What happens? Well “For Nory, this means that instead of being able to turn into a dragon or a kitten, she turns into both of them at the same time—a dritten.” You can imagine the funny situations the other kids find themselves in. This book is for ages 8-12 and with the humor and shorter chapters it’s great for those kids who don’t usually find reading so magical.

I was delighted to be part of the team to develop the cover design for UDM. My part was to create the dimensional vector title treatment that could become the brand for the series. I was also the designer for the styling of the book’s interior, too. Keep your eyes out for more books in this series!

Happy Reading!

Recovering the Classics

by abby on September 18, 2015 | Comment

50x50
{Here’s a sample of some of the redesigned covers}

This news story caught my eye since my Book Illustration course I teach at RIT just finished a project of redesigning YA Covers to give them a fresh modern look. Something must be in the air!

Recovering the Classics is an organization that has revamped the look of 50 classic works of literature. This organization was started because many of the classics in public domain lack well-designed and interesting book covers that reflect the enduring stories they wrap. An idea was born and they opened up this book design challenge to the world of designers and illustrators. The results are GREAT! Plus, all book designs are available for sale as prints, and other products which all support the artists who created them. Win for book lovers and win for artists.

The revamped book covers were first displayed as large poster size covers in the New York City Public library and the interest in them was so immense that Recovering the Classics decided to take the covers on the road as a traveling exhibition. This new campaign and exhibition is called 50×50. They want all 50 book covers to visit all 50 states! If you are interested in hosting the covers, you can find out more information here.

Happy Weekend!

B is for Becoming Maria

by abby on September 2, 2015 | Comment

memoir by Sonia Manzano

Sesame Street has been in the news lately. Maybe you have heard that Sesame Street is moving to HBO or that Maria has retired! There’s change in the air on that street!
Sonia Manzano
{Sonia Manzano with Elmo}

Like many from my generation watching Sesame Street was part of my childhood. It was because of this connection that I was very touched last winter to asked to be a part of the design team to create Sonia Manzano’s coming of age memoir titled: Becoming Maria (geared towards an older audience of grades 7-9). I felt like I was giving back a little bit!

YA book design by AbbyDora Design, LLC
{Chapter 1 of BECOMING MARIA}

I contributed to the interior design of this book. And what a book it is! Sonia’s childhood wasn’t the easiest—living with her noisy large Latino family in the Bronx in the 1950’s. Television was a way for her to escape the daily grind and an alcoholic father. Her goal of becoming an actress kept her going during these turbulent times. What kind of turbulent times? Well you’ll have to read the story to find out!

I heard Sonia recall when she first saw Sesame Street on TV as a college student on NPR last week. She said she immediately responded to Sesame Street, which showed a new kind of neighborhood that she recognized and related too. It was an urban neighborhood with stoops and tenement buildings and neighborhood stores with a mix of different races interacting together. Sonia wanted to be a part of this show and she was for the last 44 years. What a story and what a legacy.

Do you have a Sesame Street story?

Amy’s Book Jacket Jacket

by abby on July 24, 2015 | Comment

Rosenthal book jacket jacket
{photo by Ruby Western seen here}

Ready for a little Friday fun?

Children’s authors and illustrators are my kind of people—creative, talented, and a little silly. For example, author and filmmaker Amy Krouse Rosenthal has created a “Book Jacket Jacket” with the help of her assistant, Kalya Gingsberg. SO COOL!

Gingsberg is an experienced seamstress and was able to cut out the pattern of the jacket on Rosenthal’s kitchen floor. The colorful jacket is made of muslin and is embossed with the actual dust jackets from a several of Rosenthal’s picture books. One of these book jackets is of Rosenthal’s newest publication, Friendshape, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, which will be available by Scholastic on August 25. Read more about this brilliant project here.

What books would you where on your own book jacket?

Not THIS Bear!

by abby on May 8, 2015 | Comment

picture book by Bernice Myers

Oh happy day friends! It’s Friday, it’s sunny and warm, and there’s a new picture available that I designed! (huge grin)

This is the first book of the renown librarian Nancy Pearl’s new BOOK CRUSH REDISCOVERIES series for children and young adults being published by Two Lions, an Amazon Publishing imprint.

This was a unique book project because it’s a reissue and redesign of a 1960’s picture book by Bernice Myers. It’s really amazing to see that with the addition of fresh modern type the original retro illustrations still seem very current.

retro 1960's picture book

The story is quite humorous and kids will delight in seeing the bear’s mistake at identifying young Herman in his fur coat as cousin Julius! The bear invites Herman home with him to show him off to the entire family. Can Herman convince the Bear family that he is definitely not their cousin and most definitely not a bear? You’ll have to read to find out, but I’m pretty certain there will be lots of giggling!

An introduction, discussion questions and activities, and further suggested reading from noted librarian Nancy Pearl are included as well.

Happy reading!

Circus Train: New Picture Book

by abby on March 27, 2015 | Comment

picture book by Jennifer Cole Judd
{Hot off the presses!}

It’s a rainy, blah day here, so I thought I’d shake things up and share with you one of my latest’s picture books that I designed. It’s called CIRCUS TRAIN by Jennifer Cole Judd and illustrated by Melanie Matthews and it’s published by Two Lions, an imprint of Amazon.

illustration from book interior of circus elephants and acrobats

This book is an engaging story filled with colorful artwork and lyrical text about a circus coming to town and all the entertainment it brings. This makes it a wonderful read aloud!

art of clown flyiing through the air from cannon

I wanted to create playful text that has the energy of a circus tent, so at several moments throughout the book key words are styled in decorative type and have color too. Do you feel the excitement? I do!

I hope you will order CIRCUS TRAIN or promote it at your libraries!

How are you adding color to your life?

Stars and Baseball

by abby on March 6, 2015 | Comment

cover of YA book by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
{It got a starred book review!}

In publishing, receiving a starred book review is a biggish deal and one of my latest projects I worked on, THE WAY HOME LOOKS NOW, just received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, a book review company for both adult and children’s literature.

For this project, I was very excited to be asked by SCHOLASTIC to design the title type for this book jacket. The book has a baseball theme and I wanted the title to reflect this story element. I also wanted to maintain the hand drawn look throughout the jacket in both the illustration and title.

I’m all smiles today.

Happy Friday to you!

I Love My Hat

by abby on January 23, 2015 | Comment

picture book designed by Abby Dening
{Newly published picture book from Amazon}

I’m thrilled to be able to share with you a new picture book that I designed. It’s called I LOVE MY HAT. It’s a happy sing song story about animals sharing their favorite articles of clothing. Paige Keiser’s energetic watercolor and ink illustrations compliment the lyrical text, too. Pick it up and I know you’ll be singing along with them!

This is my favorite spread:
picture book by Douglas Florian

Oh AND Happy National Pie Day! Yep, it’s an official holiday. D and I are celebrating with friends by eating 2 kinds of pie tonight! D has a soft spot for pie. And my new motto is, “There is no stress in the presence of pie”. hehe Feel free to use it too.

What’s your favorite kind of pie?

Holiday Book Challenge: #GiveaBook

by abby on December 5, 2014 | Comment

#GiveaBook social media campaign
{Will you participate in this challenge?}

Penguin Random House is really into the holiday giving back spirit! They have launched a wonderful new social media campaign called #GiveaBook. This campaign promotes reading and books as holiday gifts, and also serves as an avenue to donate books to U.S. children in need with the help of Save the Children.

It’s so easy to join the movement too! Here’s how it works: From now until December 24th, each time the hashtag: #GiveaBook is used on Facebook and Twitter Penguin Random House will Donate a book to Save the Children for up to 25,000 times! WOW! What a great gift!

If you friend Penguin Random House on Facebook you can follow the progress too.

Start your hashtag engines!