Celebrating ten years of school librarianship with abstract book covers

This year was my tenth at Castilleja, and my tenth as a school librarian (about 29th overall, depending on how you count). When I started at Casti, I considered myself a big reader of YA — only to discover I was reading all the obvious books and there was so much more out there to discover! I’ve never developed the superpower my colleagues bring to readers’ advisory, but I have a much wider range now.

So, I decided to celebrate my 10th anniversary by acknowledging my imperfections on the pleasure reading side by being vulnerable in another way — attempting to make abstract quilt squares of the covers of books that have been impactful for me over the past ten years. Quilting is another activity in which I engage with more passion than skill. It turns out to be an interesting intellectual challenge, however, to figure out what to convey from a cover, and how to handle layers of text over images. I owe a debt of gratitude to the #quiltyourlifecrew on Instagram for the original inspiration, and for helping me problem-solve.

For fun, because it is summer and fun is much needed, here are a few of the book/covers I love. I am about halfway through making the squares on my list so far. I would also love to know if anyone else has undertaken such a project — I would love to see your book-cover squares!

I figured to share (critique??) the fun, I could put together a can-you-guess-the-cover quiz. Answers below. (And if you cannot guess, it is sincerely not you, but me!)


#1: Nation, by Terry Pratchett
#2: All My Rage, by Sabaa Tahir
#3 The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart
#4: A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness based on the idea by Siobhan Dowd
#5: The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
#6: The Universe Versus Alex Woods, by Gavin Extence
#7: I Will Always Write Back, by Catlin Alifirenka, Martin Ganda, and Liz Welch
#8: Out of Darkness, by Ashley Hope Perez
#9: Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
#10: Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi
#11: The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
#12: The Porcupine of Truth, by Bill Konigsberg
#13: Orbiting Jupiter, by Gary D. Schmidt
#14: When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

6 thoughts on “Celebrating ten years of school librarianship with abstract book covers

  1. I love this project you’ve embarked upon. I am also a school librarian and quilter but I have NEVER had the idea you’ve had. Way to go! Keep creating!

  2. Thanks! Credit goes to my #quiltyourlife quilt data visualization group, who introduced me to #patchworkandprose on Instagram.

  3. These are beautiful and your work is inspiring! I’m wondering how long it took, on average, to complete just one.
    We have an active quilt guild in our city (San Antonio, TX) and they have a program called Storybooks and Quilts to Go. Volunteers from the organization send out their list of available picture books and quilts at the beginning of each semester to local librarians. I typically choose 2 or 3 and they are delivered to me. This program is free. Perhaps there is similar group in your area. The children love to connect the quilt to the story and they enjoy wrapping themselves up in them too, gently of course.

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