Cover Reveal: HALF MOON SUMMER by Elaine Vickers
I have been a runner most of my life. (Not a fast runner, but you know what they say about slow and steady.) Years ago, a good friend suggested I run a half marathon, and somehow, she made it sound appealing enough that I decided to give it a go.
Fast forward to two years later, when I was gearing up to run our local half marathon once again. I was playing catch in the backyard with my son Jack, who was eleven at the time, when he asked, “Can I run it with you?”
After my very enthusiastic yes, we got him a good pair of shoes and began training. He seemed so small beside me on those first runs, and I had to bribe him with a Gatorade and a donut any day we ran more than five miles. But he never skipped a workout, and mile by mile, our runs grew longer. We experienced it all: joy and sorrow, health and heartbreak, the memorable and the mundane. And when the big day came, we ran every step together, talking and joking and taking in the scenery and encouraging each other—until he outsprinted me at the end. As we collapsed on the cool grass past the finish line, I marveled at his strength and grit and the good fortune of having done something so beautiful and hard together.
Jack and I ran the Cedar City Half Marathon together four years in a row, and each of those races was preceded by a summer of early morning training. (The Gatorade and donut tradition continued too.) The time we spent together is priceless to me—and it led to the book Half Moon Summer, whose cover we’re here to celebrate today.
There is so much I love about this cover, illustrated by Chloe Zola and designed by Lily Steele. The palette is exquisite, the setting is beautifully rendered, the composition is incredible. The characters shown are the book’s two main characters, Drew and Mia, just as I had imagined them, training for their own half marathon. I can’t wait for readers to meet them and share their journey.
But the thing I love most about the cover is that its long shadows and setting sun and horizon line and winding path perfectly capture the emotional core of the book itself: the bittersweet certainty of the passage of time and the impossible impermanence of life. I also love that if I look at this cover just right, I can almost imagine it’s Jack and me there, running beside each other.
Fast forward another few years to this: Twelve days before this book comes out, Jack will graduate from high school. He’s six inches taller than me now, a licensed pilot who’s halfway through a college degree. He is strong and kind and I couldn’t be prouder of him. But I still feel like my heart is breaking, because I know we’re nearing a finish line of sorts. I know that even though we’ll still be close and I’ll always be his mom, things won’t ever be the same, and I can’t help but wonder if I truly appreciated every mile of this journey together.
But maybe that’s too much to ask of ourselves anyway. Maybe the catch-22 of it all is that the harder we try to appreciate an experience and remember every detail, the less we’re fully in it. One of my favorite quotes is a bit of a paraphrase of Walt Whitman: “We were together. I forget the rest.”
In the end, that’s what I hope readers will take from the book, and what I hope Jack remembers, wherever his journey takes him next: That life is both joy and sorrow, memorable and mundane, health and heartbreak. And we are so lucky to experience it all, together.
Meet the author
Elaine Vickers is an award-winning author of picture books and middle grade and young adult novels. She grew up reading, running, and exploring in a small town in Utah. Several years and one PhD later, she found her way back to her hometown, where she spends her time writing, teaching college chemistry, and exploring with her family. Visit her at elainevickers.com.
Author website: ElaineVickers.com
Author Twitter: @ElaineBVickers
Author Instagram: @ElaineBVickers
Cover illustrator website: ChloeZola.com
Cover illustrator Instagram: @CZIllustration
Publisher website: PeachtreeBooks.com
Publisher Twitter: @PeachtreePub
Publisher Instagram: @PeachtreePublishing
About Half Moon Summer
Two seventh graders discover it takes more than grit and a good pair of shoes to run 13.1 miles. You’ve got to have a partner who refuses to let you quit.
Drew was never much of a runner. Until his dad’s unexpected diagnosis. Mia has nothing better to do. Until she realizes entering Half Moon Bay’s half-marathon could solve her family’s housing problems.
And just like that they decide to spend their entire summer training to run 13.1 miles. Drew and Mia have very different reasons for running, but these two twelve year olds have one crucial thing in common (besides sharing a birthday): Hope. For the future. For their families. And for each other.
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication date: 06/06/2023
Age Range: 8 – 12 Years
Filed under: Guest Post
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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