Crawl Under the Covers with Maggie and Megan

We’re kicking off the blog tour for the acclaimed middle grade debut The Meaning of Maggie by inviting author Megan Jean Sovern to share the story of how her book’s cover was created.

Thinking about your very first book cover causes the same kind of nail biting anxiety that comes along with Class Picture Day.

You tear your closet apart. You consult your mother endlessly. You wonder how you’ll be perceived by your peers today and twenty years from today. What if nautical-themed attire isn’t a timeless classic like you hoped? What if the neck kerchief was too much? What if, dear God, knee socks eventually go out? You panic. You pace. You stress eat Goldfish crackers.

Thankfully all of this anxiety faded away when I met Amelia Mack, the super talented and impossibly humble designer who brought The Meaning of Maggie book cover to life.

I fell instantly in love when I heard Amelia’s plan for creating a still life of Maggie’s things for the cover–from her favorite candy to her button collection to her penchant for historical heroes. It all sounded so perfectly Maggie. And so, Amelia commissioned an artist named Anja Mulder to make it all happen.

anja mulder gutsen illustratie_printmaking  flowers

 (c) Anja Mulder

anja mulder gutsen illustratie_printmaking tools

 (c) Anja Mulder

Anja is a Dutch artist, illustrator, photographer, crafter, and all around visionary. We sent her the novel, an arsenal of snacks, and a handful of thingamabobs to get her started. I also sent my very own Student of the Month button from the fifth grade.


Amelia and Anja worked closely together and what they created is just the most beautiful book cover this girl could have ever asked for.


The details, the colors, the composition. They capture the spirit of this story from beginning to end. And they opened the door for a book trailer unlike any other.

It’s an honor to be in such big deal company with a designer and artist who put their everything into The Meaning of Maggie. It’s so much more than a book cover to me. It’s a work of art that hangs over my desk and pushes me to always dig deeper.

Megan's Desk

About Megan Jean Sovern

Megan Jean Sovern is a purveyor of fine teas, old time-y music, and hugs. Recently she was in a bad break-up with muffins and her life hasn’t been the same since.

She’s often mistaken for a seventh grader but don’t be fooled, she is very grown-up. A grown-up who watches television past ten o’clock and everything.

Before her first leap into fiction, she was an advertising copywriter for many moons where she worked with top-notch talent mostly named Matt or Karen.

She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Ted and his near complete collection of Transformers. He doesn’t like it when she says, “Zoinks.”

About The Meaning of Maggie

The Meaning of Maggie does for middle-grade fiction what John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars did for teen literature: Both portray coping with serious illness as one aspect of a complex character, not as the single issue that defines them.”–BookPage

“Smart, sensitive, sad and funny.”–Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Readers will appreciate Maggie’s humor and rejoice in her growth. This is a remarkable story of a working-class family pulling together in the face of a serious illness.”–School Library Journal, starred review

“Maggie is a firecracker character, one who sparkles with wit, cynicism, love, and potential. Her voice will charm and captivate readers.”–Shelf Awarness for Readers, starred review

As befits a future President of the United States of America, Maggie Mayfield has decided to write a memoir of the past year of her life. And what a banner year it’s been! During this period she’s Student of the Month on a regular basis, an official shareholder of Coca-Cola stock, and defending Science Fair champion. Most importantly, though, this is the year Maggie has to pull up her bootstraps (the family motto) and finally learn why her cool-dude dad is in a wheelchair, no matter how scary that is. Author Megan Jean Sovern, herself the daughter of a dad with multiple sclerosis, writes with the funny grace and assured prose of a new literary star.

A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this book will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Click here to read the first chapters of The Meaning of Maggie free online!

Click here to download the Discussion Guide

MoM Discussion Guide

Follow the Blog Tour!

Meaning of Maggie_Blog Tour Banner

5/13/2014            Chronicle Books Blog

5/14/2014            vvb32 reads

5/15/2014            Mother Daughter Book Club

5/16/2014            Actin’ Up with Books

5/18/2014            Kid Lit Frenzy

5/19/2014           The Children’s Book Review

5/20/2014           Let’s Get Busy podcast

Latest posts by Megan Jean Sovern (see all)

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  • Amanda Bolton Chenevert May 13, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Lovely. So compartmentalized in such a controlled and compulsive way! I haven't received my copy yet, so I can't attest to the writing (thought if I know anything about Megan it is going to be unexpected and inspired), but visually it makes me feel like I did in junior high. I was so organized and prepared for battle with my pencil organizer and cupcake erasers, yet I had no idea the sort of war I would be fighting. It's a terrifying world for a little gal, and this image really captures the heart of that innocence. Can't wait to read it and explore Maggie's world!


  • Tania Conwell May 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Wow!!! I just watched the video with my second grader. She is constantly reading chapter books so big she can hardly carry them. She can't wait to read this!!! Maggie looks like such a fun character!


  • joannehuspek May 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    A beautiful cover! Intriguing.


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