The Genius of Book Design

First, a jacket image–ta da! Threads of Peace is finally becoming a reality!

Studying the first pass proofs of a forthcoming book is always a humbling experience. This time, it’s led me to questions about design in nonfiction books.

As a word-shuffler, I know very little about such things, so while I pondered questions of design elements and the use of archival photos, I turned to this beautiful memoir by Ashley Bryan from Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum.

Look at this spread, with the sketches working as shadow and light.

The text on these pages is clear and direct, the artist’s voice speaking his truth and also speaking the truth about an iconic period of history from a much needed perspective.

And for a completely amazing design choice, look what we see on the facing page when the story loops back in the end to an anecdote about the children Ashley drew with in a vacant lot in Boston.

All that white space gives the reader space to breathe, to reflect, to absorb the impact of this moving story about the shaping of a generous life.