This is the seventh year that Fairfield Public Library (my favorite client!) has held One Book One Town. Each year, the librarians select a book that the residents of Fairfield can read together and then share their thoughts and experiences. Several events are planned, including panel discussions, film screenings, book groups and more, culminating with an author presentation on March 26, 2014.
Previous selections have included Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson; The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea; Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer; The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf; and Wonder by R. J. Palacio. This year’s selection is A House in the Sky, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett. It’s a memoir about Lindhout’s experiences as a journalist who along with her photojournalist companion was kidnapped and held captive in Somalia for 15 months. Her captors were particularly cruel to her because she was a woman, and she suffered unspeakable abuse. Remarkably, this memoir is not simply a chronicle of horror, but rather demonstrates how Lindhout used her remarkable inner strength to survive and even more astonishingly, how her compassion helped her to forgive her tormentors. It’s an extraordinary book, and I applaud our librarians for choosing what may be considered a controversial book.
One of the biggest challenges of designing the poster for this book was how to speak about both the suffering and the triumph of compassion and inner strength. What made it even more challenging was the book’s cover design, which I think is brilliant. How could I possibly improve on this?
I knew I would want to incorporate the sky, and captivity, and freedom. The first design I came up with spoke to all these elements:
The client liked the concept, but felt that it needed to indicate that this takes place in the Middle East. Here’s my initial response:
I liked the feeling of a sandstorm this has, but it wasn’t specific enough. I decided to incorporate an architectural element that would indicate location a bit better. I also was informed that the co-author would be participating in the author presentation, so I needed to include her name as well:
The client loved it! I’m really looking forward to hearing Lindhout’s and Corbett’s presentation on March 26. I highly recommend that you read this book. And if you’ll be near Fairfield, CT on March 26, be sure to register for this event. It promises to be truly inspiring.