Garvey's Choice Paperback Cover Reveal

Hello, Nikki Grimes! Hello, Daniel Minter! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read. Thank you for stopping by to share Garvey Choice's paperback cover. Nikki, on the jacket for the hardcover, we only see Garvey as a silhouette and a shadow. What was your reaction to seeing Garvey illustrated for the first time? Does Daniel's vision of Garvey match what was in your imagination?

Nikki Grimes: I didn't actually have a specific image in my mind of Garvey. My entire focus was on who Garvey was on the inside. I was, however, married to the color blue for the cover. So, while I was jazzed to learn that Daniel had agreed to do the art, I was very much caught off guard the first time I saw Garvey against that hot orange background! I have to say, it gave me a bit of a jolt. But one thing is certain: that cover will be an attention grabber!

Daniel, what made you want to illustrate this cover? Other than Nikki's words, what inspired you to create your depiction of Garvey?

Daniel Minter: I wanted to illustrate this cover when I learned that the main character in the story was a very complex and witty Black youth who felt overly self-conscious and disconnected. So many of us can relate to that. He would retreat into books and sci-fi that could place him in a universe beyond the middle school social world.

I was intrigued by the way the story showed that Garvey had a full and rich personality but because of his low self-esteem and being over-weight he felt unable to share that side of himself.

I envisioned of a portrait of young Garvey with a lot of turmoil and internal struggles, but having found a way to deal with those he is able to be his whole self. That is a lot to show in a single image.

Nikki, what do you think of the way Daniel wove symbols and elements form Garvey's story into the cover image?

Nikki Grimes: I love that! His approach was subtle, but effective. All in all, I think this paperback cover will appeal to a whole new audience.

Daniel, how did you decide on the color scheme for the cover?

Daniel Minter: Garvey would always try to hide his body in grey, colorless clothing.

The bold red of the cover is the bright red shirt that Garvey decides to wear after he no longer feels the need to hide.

I also thought it was important to add to the cover art a few of the elements from Garvey’s life.

For inspiration, I took the cue from Nikki. The way Garvey looks on the cover is how I imagined a young Luther Vandross to look. I don’t think he was a chubby child but the expression and cool confident smile is inspired by the way Luther presented, heavy or thin, he is in his element when he sings.

Thank you, Nikki and Daniel!

Photo credit: Aaron Lemen

Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her books include the New York Times best seller Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope and the Dyamonde Daniel chapter-book series. She won the Coretta Scott King Award for Bronx Masquerade and earned a Coretta Scott King Author Honor five times—for Words with Wings, Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, Talkin' about Bessie, and The Road to Paris. She is also the author of her critically acclaimed memoir in verse Ordinary Hazards. She lives in Corona, California. 

Daniel Minter is a multidisciplinary artist working across different mediums. He is a painter and sculptor who is an illustrator at heart. His work is often symbolic and explores broad concepts that are linked to social justice issues, often while weaving in spiritual these from the African diaspora. Minter has illustrated many children’s. books, including Eileen’s Broom, which won a Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor.

The paperback edition releases on September 14, 2021.

Wordsong's Description:

This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports.


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