Today is reveal day and I’m overjoyed to share with you the gorgeous cover of Hapa Tales: A Mixed Race Memoir About the Hawai’i I Never Knew. I am so, so, so in love with this beautiful image, conceived and created by Japanese American graphic designer Ann Kumasaka. Without giving too much away, this cover perfectly captures the themes of loneliness, fairytales unwoven, and search for belonging that permeate Hapa Tales. And there’s a really important reason why Ann was able to capture those themes so well.
She read my book.
One of the many things I appreciate about Ann is that she makes it a point to read the manuscripts of books she is designing. I was at first surprised and amazed by this thoughtful attention (I have friends and family that haven’t read my books, no judgment!). But then, I immediately appreciated how important Ann’s dedication was. How could you design an authentic cover for a book without intimately knowing it?
Ann made an investment to experience my memoir from start to finish–a commitment of her time and energy that I don’t take for granted–and her intention returned something stunning. This shaping process where we built together, as I have said before, remains a main goal for me in writing about the Asian Mixed experience and writing in general. I care tremendously about the conversations and understanding we forge through community, our art, and each other, wherein I feel some of the most transformative change happens.
So, to me, Ann’s design is more than a cover. It represents the careful time she took to care. It represents many long, rich discussions we had about our respective stories and families. It represents my artistic process but also her artistic process. And perhaps most important of all, this cover ultimately represents our connection to each other, the building of a friendship, and our collaboration together as Asian American women.