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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Cover Reveal: One Shadow On the Wall by Leah Henderson

So often a cover reveal is just that.  A reveal.  Here’s your cover, batta bing, badda boom.

Today is different.

Today, we’re shaking things up a tad.  But a little backstory first.

About half a year ago I had the pleasure of speaking at the MD/DE/WV SCBWI Conference in Frederick, Maryland.  I like doing SCBWI Conferences.  The people there are open and fun and often have these great ideas I don’t see elsewhere.  I do about one a year, and this one was particularly lovely.  In the course of things I met a woman with a debut middle grade coming out in 2017.  She asked if I would do a cover reveal for her, and I said sure thing.  Why not?  Then she sent me the book jacket.

Friends, I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but some people are born with book jacket luck.  If you’re an author, you have no control over the jackets your well-meaning publishers plaster on your books.  Sometimes you luck out but all too often you just have to grin and bear whatever cover they slap on your baby (and God help you if it’s sepia-toned).  But this young woman, Leah Henderson, need not worry.  Surely, she was tapped upon the noggin at her christening by some good book jacket fairy because the artist of her cover is none other than John Jay Cabuay, the artist behind this year’s jacket for As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson.  Baby, remember her name.


But it doesn’t stop there.  Leah was nice enough to also share the full wrap jacket both without the text:


And with the text:


Beautiful.  Now here’s the description:

An orphaned boy in contemporary Senegal must decide between doing what is right and what is easy as he struggles to keep a promise he made to his dying father in this captivating debut novel laced with magical realism.

Eleven-year-old Mor was used to hearing his father’s voice, even if no one else could since his father’s death. It was comforting. It was also a reminder that Mor had made a promise to his father before he passed: keep your sisters safe. Keep the family together. But almost as soon as they are orphaned, that promise seems impossible to keep. With an aunt from the big city ready to separate him and his sisters as soon as she arrives, and a gang of boys from a nearby village wanting everything he has—including his spirit—Mor is tested in ways he never imagined. With only the hot summer months to prove himself, Mor must face a choice. Does he listen to his father and keep his heart true, but risk breaking his promise through failure? Or is it easier to just join the Danka Boys, whom in all their maliciousness are at least loyal to their own?

One Shadow on the Wall is about love and loss, family and friendship, and creating your own future—even if it’s hard to do.

Now if you know me then you know that I don’t go in for giveaways.  I don’t have anything against them.  They’re just not a tool in my belt, as it were.  But Leah came to me with an interesting proposition.  She has a Twitter giveaway going on with this book, and it’s been done with the specific purpose of promoting her cover artist.  She’s not giving away her galley (the book comes out June 6, 2017 and they haven’t made the ARCs yet).  She has something else in mind.  As she puts it,

“I wanted to find a way to give a nod to the illustrator and his work. And since fellow Atheneum author, Jason Reynolds’ MG debut AS BRAVE AS YOU is also by John Jay Cabuay, I thought it might be a perfect way to highlight both of them and my love of MG, since my ARCs won’t be ready.

So I thought:

For a chance to win a signed copy of fellow Atheneum author, Jason Reynolds’ MG debut AS BRAVE AS YOU and a few pieces of ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL swag, simply share this post on Twitter mentioning why you love/read middle grade using the hashtag: #whyMGlit.

I’ll pick my favorite response around noon EST on Nov. 10th.”

That’s a pretty good deal.  Reynolds’ book has been getting a lot of Newbery buzz, so you’d be getting a great book of 2016, and a leg up on what may well be the most beautifully jacketed book of 2017.

Some background information on Leah herself:

About the author

Leah has always loved getting lost in stories. When she is not scribbling down her characters’ adventures, she is off on her own, exploring new spaces and places around the world. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and currently calls Washington D.C. home.

You can find Leah on Twitter at @LeahsMark. And, if interested, can add her book to your Goodreads bookshelf.


Pre-orders are up too:

Indiebound :

Amazon :

Barnes and Noble :

Thanks to Leah for the cover reveal, and much luck with your book!


About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. As you know, I’m always on the look-out for books that help American children get a better sense of the range of life in Africa. And so am very excited to read this one and learn more about how it came into being.

  2. I was honored to meet Leah at a Highlights Foundation workshop this year. And her book sounds so fantastic I can hardly wait to read it! What a gorgeous cover — I’m thrilled for Leah.

  3. Leah Henderson says

    Betsy, Thanks again!

    And the winner of my twitter contest is: Kiiette Walker Parker.

    I just love this answer to why she reads/loves MG lit: Through MG, young minds can explore, run, see, taste, and absorb the essence of life via words, and older ones can be renewed. #whyMGlit


  1. […] & Schuster/Atheneum in 2017)!  Her novel began as part of her creative thesis at Spalding.  Follow this link to Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 blog and the beautiful artwork for Leah’s One Shadow On The Wall. […]