This book is LOSER by American author Jerry Spinelli. It’s lovely in every single way.
The cover is plain blue with a matt finish and the figure depicted in the centre in white (it has a spot UV varnish on the line). Both the title and the author’s name are in a recessive shade of blue. The design is all about the crazy little dude in the middle. And that’s exactly what the book is about: a crazy little dude called Donald Zinkoff.
The thing is, I’m not sure I should really be shouting too much about the design of this HarperCollins edition when all credit should really go to Orchard who published STARGIRL with a similarly bold design and, in fact, did it first (did they? I'm not sure what the US cover was... feel free to correct me on this, if you're in the know). The simplicity of both covers reflects the simplicity of the stories contained within. Both are about outsiders, people (children) who couldn’t conform if they tried and who stand out... like, erm, white figures on a plain background.
Loser is my personal favourite because of Donald, someone ignorant of his own innocence in a way Stargirl isn’t. Donald really is a loser, the kind of child even the weak would pick on. But there’s something comforting in true innocence; you can’t be hurt by others’ cynicism; your love for life is straightforward and unashamed; even taunts can pass you by if you really are innocent through and through because you won’t see the intended slight.
I find something very liberating in thinking about innocence. I’m jaded adult these days, but this book had me yelling “I can spell tintinnabulation!” (and then failing miserably) for days. If you read it, I reckon you’ll be doing the same.