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Big Kids

28th Mar 2020

The O’Brien Press just launched a competition where YOUR child could get to design the cover of an actual book

Trine Jensen-Burke

The O'Brien Press Design A Cover Competition

Might as well put all that time doing arts and crafts indoors to good use.

If your child is into art and drawing, they are going to love this.

Once again, Children’s Book Ireland has joined with The O’Brien Press to give children of one lucky Irish child the opportunity to have their artwork featured on the cover of a professionally published book.

Sounds cool? I know!

Here is what The O’Brien Press had to say about their 2020 Design A Cover Competition:

“We are looking for YOUR help in re-jacketing Gordon Snell’s The Supermarket Ghost, first published in 2007. With a new edition set to be launched in Autumn 2020, this exciting ghostly adventure needs a great new look that will help it appeal to young readers today, as well as giving a strong sense of the what the book is about.”

So if you think you have a little one in your house who’s up to the challenge of creating a new cover, and would love to see their art on library and bookshop shelves, here’s what they must do:

  1. Track down the original version of The Supermarket Ghost and read it carefully. (If you can’t find a copy of the book itself, you can find some more information about it here
  2. Download the entry form from
  3. Use the space provided on the form to layout your design (see below for some top design tips!) and fill in your details.
  4. Post your completed entry form in to the following address: Design-a-Cover, The O’Brien Press, 12 Terenure Road East, Rathgar, Dublin 6
  5.  Make sure that your entry arrives before the closing date 1st May 2020

Top Design Tips

So, you think you have what it takes to design a book cover? Here’s some useful advice from the design team in The O’Brien Press to get you started …

A book cover’s job is to make the reader want to read the story inside: that might sound obvious, but keep this in mind as you design the cover!

Before you begin, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the book about? What is the central idea of the story?
  • Who do you think the book’s main audience is?
  • What is the book’s main appeal: is it character, place, friendship, scariness, humour or something else? Think about: character descriptions, key events and objects, when is it set? Does your cover make this clear?

Some additional points to remember!

  • The title of the book- The Supermarket Ghost – and the author’s name –  Gordon Snell – are very important and they need to be clear and readable. Think about how big they should be and where they should go.
  • Book covers often appear very small, particularly digitally: ensure that your design is clear and will work well on screen.
  • Make sure to do your cover art in portrait (upright) format – use the competition entry form (available at to make sure your design is the right size and shape.
  • Most important of all – be creative and have fun!

Prizes and Entry Details

The winning entry will be chosen by the Children’s Books Ireland and The O’Brien Press judging panel, including great Irish illustrators Sarah Bowie and Tarsila Krüse. The winning design will be used as the basis for the cover design of a new edition of The Supermarket Ghost to be published in Autumn 2020. The overall winner will also receive a special selection of O’Brien Press books. The winner’s class will also receive a class set of the book.

Five runners-up will also have the chance to see their artwork featured in the book and will also receive a selection of fantastic titles from The O’Brien Press.

This competition is open to residents of ROI and Northern Ireland only. All entrants must be aged 15-years or under. Only one entry per person.

The closing date for entries is Friday 1st May 2020.