100 Scope Notes
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Covering the Newbery: Top 10

Last week our pals Colby Sharp and John Schumacher finished reading every single Newbery Medal-winning book. In honor of their completing this impressive feat, I thought I’d write what has to be my most self-indulgent post ever: revisit my Covering the Newbery project (where I attempted to give a new cover to every Newbery winner) and pick the 10 that worked out the best. Here we go…

(Click the links below each cover to see the original (to learn how I made these covers, click here))

10. The Dark Frigate

It turned out fairly creepy, which never hurts shelf appeal.

9. Caddie Woodlawn

With the hand-drawn font and out-of-focus girl, definitely the trendiest of the bunch. But pretty effective.

8. Bridge to Terabithia

Just like the colors.

7. The View from Saturday

This re-do may have taken me the longest – I had to change some hair colors based on the characters in the book. I like how it represents the four perspectives in the novel.

6. Up a Road Slowly

The cover fits the book well (girl goes to live with her aunt outside of town), and the elements of color and text came together nicely.

5. Julie of the Wolves

Look closely – can you see the human face? For a book about a girl who communicates with wolves, this cover is a nice representation.

4. Daniel Boone

The tree cross-section makes it clear this is about a guy who likes some fresh air. It manages to look fairly modern, which helps.

3. The Westing Game

The pursuit of cash in this novel is apparent.

2. Shiloh

It’s simple, but I think kids would dig it.

1. Shadow of a Bull

This one seems closest to looking like an actual book cover.

For the entire Covering the Newbery Gallery, click here.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. I can’t decide which one is my favorite. I think I’ll go with The Dark Frigate and The View From Saturday.

  2. :Donna Marie says

    Great work, Travis! VERY creative!

    I’m going with THE DARK FRIGATE and SHADOW OF A BULL :)

  3. Karen MacPherson says

    Travis — These are wonderful covers! I know that more kids would check out these books with covers like these. Although I love them all, as a beagle lover (and owner) from way back, I have to say that new “Shiloh” cover is my favorite.

  4. This is so awesome. I really love Up a Road Slowly and The Westing Game.

  5. Awwww! Shiloh puppy! They’re all good, but I like Daniel Boone the best.