There are so many layers to the cover of Ngozi Achebe's Onaedo - The Blacksmith's Daughter—that gorgeous dress, the map of Africa that folds into the skirt, the ship in the distance, and the young girl looking up at the woman who is the focus. I see something new every time I study this cover.
The coming-of-age story is about two women who are separated by 400 years—a modern American woman who is half white and half African finds the diaries of a 16th-century slave as she tries to connect with her Nigerian father.
The layered story is reflected in this strong visual, and here's Ngozi herself with a bit about what she sees in the cover art:
"I had a definite idea for my cover and it looked very much like the finished product. I gave the input on the ancient map design that was ghosted in and the ship on the top which unfortunately did not show up clearly.
"Still, when I first saw my cover, I loved it! Truly! The cover design was in keeping with the timeline of the story, and I believe they are stock images but I’m not 100% sure.
"The smaller image in the bottom corner surprised me because it showed the heroine in an earlier life which receded as she was taken from her environment to a new land. Powerful."
Powerful indeed. What do you see in this cover?
Melissa Walker is the author of four Young Adult novels, including the Violet trilogy and Lovestruck Summer. She is co-creator of the popular teen newsletter I Heart Daily and the new awkward-stage blog Before You Were Hot. Her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com.