Vote for the Free Range candidate!

Not zzyynyssyt
for president. For book cover! Yes, I’m now writing “Free Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Enjoyed Without Going Nuts With Worry,”due out this spring from  Wiley. Yay Wiley! The folks there have come up with two potential covers. They wanted to do some test marketing so – here goes.
Please let us know which one you like better and, if you feel like it, why. Your vote really matters. Just like in that other election.

Do you prefer The Girl on the Wall —


 Or the Aviator Boy?


Thanks so much for your help! — Lenore

250 Responses to Vote for the Free Range candidate!

  1. JT Justman November 4, 2008 at 12:33 am #

    I like the first one – reflects the lost carefree nature of youth better.

    Either way looking forward to reading it! (Especially to my wife!)

  2. Rachel November 4, 2008 at 12:36 am #

    I prefer the second. It feels more positive and assertive. The first one strikes me as wobbly and kid-like, which isn’t quite the feeling I’d want from your book.

    That said, I think it’s the typeface and the fact that the boy looks like he knows where he’s going while the girl looks uncertain that’s influencing me.

  3. apconnect November 4, 2008 at 12:38 am #

    The first! It exemplifies being on your own in a normal, everyday sense. The second version makes a kid on his own seem unusual and difficult.

  4. Denise November 4, 2008 at 12:38 am #

    I like the idea of the first one better. But the second one is more eye catching.

  5. Jessie November 4, 2008 at 12:39 am #

    Girl on the wall. It strikes me as more free and fun, which is how I perceive life as a free-range kid.

  6. ccr in MA November 4, 2008 at 12:40 am #

    I like the first one. She’s just being a kid, doing a kid thing. The boy looks like he’s off to explore the Arctic.

    I do like the typeface on the second better, though.

  7. Rick Mason November 4, 2008 at 12:41 am #

    The first one is better I think. I prefer the font and the photo.

    The second one is too busy/cluttered.

  8. Anna November 4, 2008 at 12:41 am #

    I vote for the second cover (I don’t like little girls all “pinked” up). I like the “adventurer” costume on the boy.

  9. Will November 4, 2008 at 12:41 am #

    Girl on the Wall.

    Here’s why: she seems more “free” looking. Sure, Aviator Boy looks like he equipped for “freedom”, but he looks like some over-zealous mom equipped him for going to school at the end of the block in the snow, uphill both ways, while Wall Girl looks like she’s also going to school at the end of the block on a similar day (similar place maybe even), and can get there without a mom who has worried herself sick enough to put a kid in an arctic parka and heavy duty snow goggles on a day with no snow (not even a patch on the ground). Compass and rope? If your kid needs a compass and rope, they’re either (a) doing something where they probably ought to be closely supervised or (b) you’re freaking out when they go to the climbing wall at Chuck E. Cheese.

    Wall Girl dressed herself. Aviator Boy was dressed by Overbearing Mother. Advantage: Wall Girl’s mom.

    Plus, pink high tops. Just kidding.

  10. Graham November 4, 2008 at 12:44 am #

    Without a doubt the first one with the girl on the wall. Not sure what is so free range about the bundled up kid. Can’t wait for the book. Keep up the great work on the blog. I’d love to see you blog the various themes in the book as you progress with it.

  11. Kate November 4, 2008 at 12:44 am #

    Totally the first….it looks natural and normal AND I have girls only. The second looks in costume and forced AND boyish.

    Personally, I’d have stuck a boy and a girl up in a tree or something….the covers really seem either girl or boy specific, not gender neutral at all. I have two girls and I wouldn’t give that second cover even a glance! It just screams BOY BOOK. Now if I had two boys, I’d not give the first cover a glance as it screams GIRL BOOK!

  12. Cynthia November 4, 2008 at 12:45 am #

    I like the second one. It seems to get more to the point of a free-range kid – allowing them to explore and have their own adventures.

  13. Alex H. November 4, 2008 at 12:46 am #

    I like both, but I’m leaning more towards the photo on #1, with the fonts and text aesthetic of #2. #2 has a nicer composition overall, so I think if cover #1 got a makeover with heavier weighted fonts that filled up the space, it would make it a lot better.

    And maybe put clouds in the sky of #1, like #2 has, since the blue space behind the title of the book looks bland and empty with just the vague gradient suggesting a sky, in comparison to the girl and the brick wall, which both have visual interest. Nothing too overpowering, since you want the text to still be dominant, but something to make it less boring. 🙂

  14. HeatGirl November 4, 2008 at 12:50 am #

    I agree, the first one for the pictures but the graphic look of the second one…

  15. BuffaloNickel November 4, 2008 at 1:01 am #

    I like the first one. The second kid looks lost, whereas the first kid looks like she knows exactly where she is going…and how she wants to get there.

  16. crossgirl November 4, 2008 at 1:04 am #

    I like the first. Will stated my opinion very well. The boy is way overprepared. I also prefer the type on 2 for the reasons Alex stated. But, I think Kate is right that a mix of kids would be more appropriate. A group of kids rolling down a hill or climbing a tree.

  17. Mixed Nuts November 4, 2008 at 1:05 am #

    Hmmm, can I vote for “neither”? (Wow, this does feel like the presidential election!) I think there are a lot of valid points, pro and con, in the above comments, but neither option really grabs me as being “right.”

    Not that you asked, but I would go with a cover that had both a boy and a girl on it. As a mother of four boys, if I’m just skimming and see a cover with a girl on it, I may not even bother to see if it is something that applies to me (I’m assuming someone with all girls might do the same with a boy on the cover). I agree that the boy cover looks too “bundled up.” And, maybe it is just me, but I really don’t like the angle on the girl cover. We’re looking up her (short) skirt and almost seeing too much (which, for me, is seeing too much).

    If it were me, I’d do a boy and a girl, dressed normally, standing in front of the woods and looking at a map together.

  18. Janni November 4, 2008 at 1:07 am #

    The first one–it reminds the reader of what the freedom we’re denying our children now felt like, I think, which will be a pull for readers.

    While the second somehow reminds me of the fear half of the equation instead.

  19. bryus November 4, 2008 at 1:16 am #

    I definitely like the first one better. It reminds me of walking to kindergarten and first grade. We used to climb up and walk along a cinder block wall that ran along a group of back yards. It was exciting because we didn’t want to fall into the yards with barking dogs.

    That’s free-range.

  20. amber November 4, 2008 at 1:24 am #

    I prefer the first one. It seems more free and open.

  21. Claudia November 4, 2008 at 1:31 am #

    I prefer the second one to the first.

  22. maya November 4, 2008 at 1:33 am #

    I think the first one shows more freedom, but I have to agree (as another mom of 4 boys) that it looks a little girly and moms like me might pass it by because of that.

  23. Stacy November 4, 2008 at 1:35 am #

    First one, please. Like as has been stated above, I feel it has a better feeling of freedom, whereas the boy looks a bit mired down.

    In addition, I think having a girl on the cover is particularly suitable as we’ve, as a culture, been much more likely to shelter our girls than our boys. If anything, boys have always been expected to be free-er range than girls, and I like the idea of emphasizing that not just the “tomboys” have the ability to be free range (though I agree with the “ew, pink” position).

  24. Elizabeth Fuller November 4, 2008 at 1:42 am #

    I’ll join the chorus recommending both a boy and a girl. I think it’s important to convey this concept to parents of kids of both genders and the current illustrations do seem very specifically “girl” and “boy.”

  25. Gavin Andresen November 4, 2008 at 1:45 am #

    The girl on the wall.

    The boy looks like he’s running away from home…

  26. Kristine November 4, 2008 at 1:52 am #

    I like the first one better, because it’s a girl, and I think girl’s freedoms are often more restricted than boys, or else girls have a harder time getting around the restrictions that are in place. I think it’s weird having freedom italicised, though.

  27. Annika November 4, 2008 at 2:06 am #

    I like the layout of the second one better, but prefer the photo and font on the first.

  28. Annika November 4, 2008 at 2:08 am #

    Hmm, on second thought I don’t care for either photo. The girl is clearly going to school, and while a free range kid definitely CAN be in school, I don’t like the implication that school = free range. (We’re unschoolers, does it show?)

  29. Natalie November 4, 2008 at 2:09 am #

    I like the fonts on the second one and the picture on the first, but if I had to pick one, I’d go with the second one. The first is too pink and girly.

  30. figaro November 4, 2008 at 2:13 am #

    the first one, she looks carefree and happy….

  31. Mindy November 4, 2008 at 2:17 am #

    I like the second one it shows the children can think for themselves.

  32. Jennifer November 4, 2008 at 2:28 am #

    I think the first one. The second seems too “out there”. Who wants their young child off exploring alone in the Arctic? People are much more likely to identify with letting their child walk to school alone.

  33. Lorene November 4, 2008 at 2:31 am #

    I prefer the girl on the wall. Looks more true to life. The boy looks like he’s dressing up for a costume party. Real boys don’t dress like that today.

    Responding to other reader’s comments above, maybe the girl could lose the backpack and not be quite so pink.

  34. Semele November 4, 2008 at 2:49 am #

    HUGE preference for the first one. It’s a normal activity, which is what free range kids are all about – experiencing normal life. The second one is contrived.

    I agreer with some of the previous posters that the girl should be a little less pink.

  35. Dmitriy Kropivnitskiy November 4, 2008 at 2:53 am #

    First one. I think the message of the second one is not quite clear, where the first one is very obvious, even controversial, as to the point it makes.

  36. Cagey November 4, 2008 at 2:53 am #

    I am voting for the first one!

  37. Jenn November 4, 2008 at 2:55 am #

    I like the first picture better- I think it’s more eye-catching and I like the warmer colors. But I do not like the type/fonts used on the first cover- they are not bold enough and seem too “light”. I am not crazy about the fonts on the 2nd cover either (excepting for the author’s name, that one seems about right).
    I agree that the boy looks unrealistic. And really? That girls skirt should be longer or she should be wearing jeans. ( and really, I am no prude!) If she was wearing jeans, it would be have the added benefit of being slightly less gender specific.

  38. ShawnConna November 4, 2008 at 2:58 am #

    I prefer the first, even though I’m usually not into the pink girl thing. But she looks freer to me, and is on top of a wall without anyone holding her hand (gasp!). She might fall and hurt her head (egads!). The boy seems to be just role playing — maybe if he had more survival tools or was trying to start a fire with a bow and drill it would speak more to the Free Range theme for me. Or if he was using the rope to dangle off some wall or cliff.

    Looking forward to it!

  39. scout November 4, 2008 at 3:16 am #

    The girl on the wall looks like she’s out exploring and not worrying about falling and hurting herself. The kid with the map just looks lost, and cold.

    In other words: I definitely prefer the first one. I would be much more likely to pick the book up in a store with the first cover than with the second cover.

  40. Lcs73 November 4, 2008 at 3:17 am #

    #1. Looks more “free” and also, just visually, far less busy. It’s a cleaner look. I think people are making much too much fuss over the length of the little girl’s skirt, though. She is perfectly decent, and I think obsessing about a detail like that is kind of the opposite of what this book is about. It’s about childhood freedoms, not adult issues! I also think putting a girl on the cover is nice, because boys are generally considered to be “tougher” and more able to handle free exploration of the world.

  41. Jennifer November 4, 2008 at 3:22 am #

    #1. I agree with everyone who said that girls are underrepresented in the realm of freedom. I also agree that the skirt and pink outfit is a non-issue. Dressing a little girl “prudishly” just because some pedophile might ogle her smacks of sexism. She looks like a normal little girl and not inappropriate at all.
    Besides, I like the fonts and uncluttered look of #1.

    And, honestly, I had no idea what the boy was supposed to be doing until it was pointed out. What is he, reading the newspaper? lol…

  42. Jennifer November 4, 2008 at 3:24 am #

    BTW, congrats on the book! I’ll be first in line at B & N..

  43. smithdavee November 4, 2008 at 3:29 am #

    Second one, he can read a map. Goes to the whole release him in the subway and see if he makes it home theme.

  44. Ed November 4, 2008 at 3:31 am #

    I like the first one best. The font is less crowded and feels more open and inviting. The kid looks like she’d be doing something impulsive and fun and just a _little_ bit dangerous, which is exactly what I feel free range kids is about.

    The boy in the second one, well, it’s hard to tell what he’s doing, first of all. Are those flight maps? Is he exploring the Yukon? Is he lost? It’s less obvious.

  45. Libby November 4, 2008 at 3:50 am #

    I don’t like either one! Seriously. If I have to choose, it’s the girl on the wall…but neither photo really says “free-range kid” to me. (Can’t the marketing folks go back to the drawing board?)

  46. AnnMarie November 4, 2008 at 3:57 am #

    I didn’t realize the second was an aviator. Looks like a kid dressed for winter, with SNOW goggles, not aviator goggles, including the coat, but then with bare hands and doesn’t even look cold. Anyway, didn’t scream free range to me. Made me think of your son, but I didn’t figure he dressed like that for his adventure, so it’d be okay…but with a different outfit.

    On the other hand, I think you should have a boy AND a girl on the cover. Otherwise, it looks like A) we need to push girls more and B) this is for boys only (IE, girls shouldn’t be FR).

  47. Amy November 4, 2008 at 4:00 am #

    I like the first one more — letting kids walk on walls is something I do but other moms don’t, so it cuts closer to the bone. The other one is more fantastic so perhaps won’t hit as close to home.

  48. Adam November 4, 2008 at 4:10 am #

    1st one – at first glance, it seems like nothing unusual, but double take comes when the parent realizes that although he/she should allow the child to walk on a wall, he/she doesn’t.

  49. Paul November 4, 2008 at 4:17 am #

    I’ll have to vote for the first one. The second is better but flawed. i like thefont and the contrasts on the second one but the picture is just too far out. I feel like your telling me to send my kid solo on a 3-week north pole expedition rather than “just” take the subway into town or more everyday things. The first one is much more everyday, about the kind of things ridiculous people are afraid of letting their kids do but I don’t like the layout, fonts and contrasts at all.

  50. Kim November 4, 2008 at 4:20 am #

    I like the first one better, especially the font.

  51. Holly November 4, 2008 at 4:42 am #

    I like the girl on the wall. I’m not sure what the aviator boy is about. I would pick up the first to read.

  52. Melody November 4, 2008 at 4:44 am #

    Girl on the wall — it speaks to the theme in a more immediate way. The other is more metaphorical. But I’m not really digging the fonts, I have to say. Somehow they make it look a little DIY, like this is what you just pulled up in MS Word. Just sayin…

  53. Evan November 4, 2008 at 5:09 am #

    I opt for the first. I think it just seems more carefree, like letting your kid walk themselves home from school. The second does give the appearance of an overbearing parent having dressed the kid. For the same effect, you could have had a pair of boys wandering the woods on their own and the feel would have been better met. I also vastly prefer the type on the first.

  54. Cateepoo November 4, 2008 at 5:30 am #

    I like the first one. It doesn’t seem as prompted.

  55. Smurf November 4, 2008 at 5:31 am #

    Definitely the first one. Carefree. Freedom.
    The second cover doesn’t work for me at all.

    However: Please lose the color-coordinated pink. Ugh. (You might also give her a slightly longer skirt.)

  56. Tina November 4, 2008 at 5:58 am #


    Can’t wait to read the book!

  57. Stassja November 4, 2008 at 6:09 am #

    I’m new to the site (but looooooving it, finally people who feel like I do!) and I prefer the first one. As others have stated, the girl seems carefree, just playing (and up on a wall, horrors!), where as I have a little more trouble connecting the idea behind the boy with the subject of the book. It seems like too far of a stretch, whereas the first picture I make that connection immediately.

    I agree also that the second one is a little too cluttered.

  58. karen November 4, 2008 at 6:11 am #

    I like the girl on the wall. It’s more open and carefree looking. Also, i think it exemplifies the idea of letting your kids do things that may be seen as somewhat dangerous….but that are important to let the kids do.

  59. Molly Sly November 4, 2008 at 6:35 am #

    I think more parents can relate to the first one versus the second, where it looks like the boy is setting off on a live/die trek through the Alaskan wilderness. Looking forward to the book!

    Molly Sly

  60. Yvonne November 4, 2008 at 6:43 am #

    Girl on the Wall gets my vote….

  61. other side of the river November 4, 2008 at 6:47 am #

    Girl on the wall.

  62. Nathan Neulinger November 4, 2008 at 7:38 am #

    Prefer the second cover, but the type face/styling/layout of the first cover.

  63. Kiwi November 4, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    Dunno what message you’re trying to give with the overequipped boy. Nobody ever dresses like that here (NZ). The girl on the fence carries all the implications of freedom, playfulness, youthful expression, doing stuff you’re not supposed to, coming home from school late, and the like. Win for her.

  64. margalit November 4, 2008 at 8:38 am #

    Girl on the wall is much more like your message than the overdressed young boy. I also like the typeface on the first cover a lot more than on the second.

    Can’t wait to read this book.

  65. Danielle Barkhouse November 4, 2008 at 9:34 am #

    Cover #2…love it!

  66. Karen November 4, 2008 at 9:34 am #

    I like the first one because girl-on-the-wall’s helicopter mom would be more likely to freak out than aviator boy’s.
    Can’t wait to read the book!

  67. Aaron November 4, 2008 at 9:56 am #

    I like the first one more than the second to represent the FRK philosophy but find it too girly. I’d be more OK with just the girl if she wasn’t all pink.

    The sub-title seems a bit of a stretch depending on your target audience though. Some of the current crop of parents *didn’t* have the freedom the rest of us had.

    I do not like the possible message sent with the graffiti-like font on the wall.

  68. Lani November 4, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Girl on the Wall!

  69. Pam November 4, 2008 at 11:11 am #

    I think the first one is best. The second with costume is less realistic and does not represent free range as wel.

  70. Paul November 4, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    Girl on the wall, it’s much less contrived-looking.

  71. Michele James-Parham November 4, 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    I like the colors and the feel of the second one, but the content of the first one better. I like the idea of a child balancing on a brick wall of some kind, but the image used and the colors seem sort of lofty and too airy. I’d almost rather see kids playing catch in the street or a kid with a fishing pole by himself at the creek.

    Congrats on the book.

  72. Ashley November 4, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    I like the first one because a million mom’s wouldn’t dare let their kid try to walk on a high and skinny wall for fear that they would fall. The boy at a glance just looks like he’s bundled up and ready to go skiing or something…so it doesn’t convey the title to me as much as the first cover. Plus in a fun way…it looks like the author name and “america’s worst mom” is almost graffiti on the brick wall which is fun too.

  73. R K Bulmer November 4, 2008 at 4:48 pm #

    I’m for the first. It’s more important that kids are allowed to walk (and fall off) walls than being allowed to go orienteering.

  74. Steve November 4, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    The first one, because it immediately made the subject spring to my mind. I had to look at the second one for a few seconds before I saw the compass and understood.

  75. Shaun November 4, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    First one.
    Cos it’s the better of the two!

  76. Alanna November 4, 2008 at 8:56 pm #

    I vote for the first one. They second one looks like the kid is involved in some sort of structured activity.

  77. Nikki November 4, 2008 at 9:09 pm #

    I like the 1st one better b/c I think it gets to the heart of your philosophy. But, I think the 2nd will sell better b/c it has a boy on the cover. I think moms of boys only would be less tempted to buy a book with a girl on the cover, unless they were looking for it specifically.

    Congratulations on your success!

  78. Chris November 4, 2008 at 9:13 pm #

    I like the first one better, I think it fits the concept perfectly. And brings back fond memories of wanting to walk on every wall, and if I could get to it, I got to walk on it.

  79. connie November 4, 2008 at 9:31 pm #

    I like the first one better. It caught my eye immediately which is a must when I am in a hurry.

  80. Nikki D November 4, 2008 at 9:36 pm #

    I like both but Aviator/Map Boy hits home for us. We let our son tour around Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin and Tokyo on his own at age 14. He is a self assured and street smart boy. We will never worry about him when he’s out on his own and goes off to college.
    Parents really do smother their children and worry too much. We agree with your parenting style.. Kids need to learn independence and self sufficiency.
    Good Luck with your book!

  81. Cynthia November 4, 2008 at 9:50 pm #

    Picture from the first, font from the second. But I disagree that in this era, girls are more sheltered. The message usually is that girls can do anything and boys have to be toned down, usually with Ritalin. I also think one with a boy and a girl would be good.

  82. Nikki D November 4, 2008 at 10:11 pm #

    P.S. I’m glad I’m not alone. My friends think I’m the “World’s Worst Mom!” I’ll be sharing your book with them.

  83. Amy November 4, 2008 at 10:12 pm #

    Aviator Boy!

  84. Carla November 4, 2008 at 10:33 pm #

    the first one

  85. Steve November 4, 2008 at 10:38 pm #

    I vote for the first one, though the imagery of the second may cause more males to read the book. Not sure what target audience you are going for.

  86. MaryK November 4, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    If I had to choose between the two.. I’d say the first one.

    But others have made valid points that there should be a boy and a girl on it… Doing something that an overprotective parent wouldn’t let them do.. like climbing a tree, making a tree fort with nails and hammers or something.. Symbolizing a solid foundation built on trust and freedom and with plenty of imagination.

  87. Rachel November 4, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    I like the first one better, at least the picture. I don’t care too much for the font on either, but I prefer the font on the second cover (aviator boy). I like the first picture because it seems like something that could occur in everyday life, and something that some parents would freak out about and others wouldn’t. The second cover is just unrealistic really, at least for the average child. I do agree with what others said about both covers being very gender specific, if there were a way to include a child of each sex the cover at first glance might appeal to more parents. Also, I don’t really care for the ‘america’s worst mom’ tagline. I understand why it’s there, but I think it’s perpetuating that free range moms are bad, and the whole point is that’s not necessarily true. I know it’s meant to be a joke, but I think there must be a better place to put it than on the cover.

  88. Peach November 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm #

    I think the first cover is better. The photo communicates the subject matter more clearly and naturally, and the title font seems to fit the subject better. If we’re allowed to make suggestions, I’d agree with the other commenters who said a boy and a girl would be best. Congrats on the book deal!

  89. Maria November 4, 2008 at 11:17 pm #

    The first one

  90. me November 4, 2008 at 11:28 pm #

    The first. I can’t imagine that the overdressed little boy looking at a map is going to elicit much shock or interest. Sadly, a little girl balancing along a wall, can cause all sorts of tsk tsking and bad mother glares.

    I do like the typeface of the second one though—can you combine the covers? The typeface on the second one is bolder, the first, more tentative.

  91. NJMom November 4, 2008 at 11:36 pm #

    Well-said points from Rachel! My thoughts: I like the first better, although the bottom portion looks a bit like an inner-city building with graffiti. Does the girl HAVE to have a pink back pack? Drop the negative “America’s Worst Mom”. And finally, there should be both a boy and girl on the cover. I really like the blogs and I look forward to the book!

  92. Karla E. November 4, 2008 at 11:57 pm #

    I’m not sure I like either (sorry). I’m a boy mom, so anything with “just a girl” (and a very pink girl, at that) doesn’t seem very “free range” to me. The boy looks like a helicopter mom dressed him for the cold.

    As many others have noted…I’d like to see a boy and a girl on the cover.

    Can’t wait for the book. I’ll buy it no matter what the cover looks like.

  93. Jeanne November 5, 2008 at 12:13 am #

    Girl.The boy looks homeless.

  94. Ms. Rosenbaum November 5, 2008 at 12:44 am #

    Girl on the wall, but with your name in the font on the aviator cover.

  95. robinmarie warner November 5, 2008 at 1:06 am #

    I like the look of the first one. Reminds me of being a free kid. Congratulations, I can’t wait until you’re book is out!!

  96. Rebecca Smith November 5, 2008 at 1:20 am #

    I like the first one better. the second one looks like your preparing them for battle which isn’t really the spirit of the idea.

  97. Sylvia November 5, 2008 at 1:29 am #

    Honestly – neither. The girl looks too prissy, and doesn’t look like she’s having fun. And the boy just looks a little strange. I think it would be best to go back to the drawing board on this one…

  98. Alex Dupuy November 5, 2008 at 2:25 am #

    I’ll go with the first one (just to add to the landslide – it is election day after all) but adding a boy (or just dressing the girl in something less pink) and taking the typography from the second cover would certainly help. I like the walking on the wall as an image – I think it directly and visually speaks to children’s immediate freedoms and parents’ fears (OMG what if she falls!)

  99. Sheila November 5, 2008 at 2:57 am #

    The first one with the girl would definitely capture my attention more on a shelf at the bookstore. The boy one is too cluttered.

    Put in my vote for #1!

  100. Carrie November 5, 2008 at 3:02 am #

    Oooh, Aviator boy! But I would change the color of the “Giving our kids…” to something more subdued as the red tone seems to be adding to the clutter. It needs some space around it.

  101. anglicanmum November 5, 2008 at 3:17 am #

    Girl on the wall, BUT only if she can be put in jeans or something less short and more pinked down. Does she really need to be wearing a micro miniskirt? Yuk! Apart from that, no 1, definitely.

  102. Jen November 5, 2008 at 3:34 am #

    the first one – a kid being a kid! And I agree with those who think she needs a different outfit…something more appropriate for climbing, etc.!

  103. karla November 5, 2008 at 4:09 am #

    I like the girl on the wall.

  104. Lisa November 5, 2008 at 4:28 am #

    I like the girl on the wall. The boy looks like he is exploring the North Pole or something. I don’t think that is the message you are trying to send. (drop your kid off to explore the Artic compass and all) However I don’t like all the pink but im glad the girl looks like she is happy.

  105. Melitsa November 5, 2008 at 5:02 am #

    The first one 🙂

  106. Holly November 5, 2008 at 5:14 am #

    I like the first one – I also felt the second one is too cluttered and did not get the aviator angle – I thought it was more of a skier with the goggles and jacket. Put the Tucson Festival of Books on your calendar for 2010 – after your book is released!!!

  107. Tammy November 5, 2008 at 5:37 am #

    The first one, it is more eye catching and the girl looks confident.

  108. Rob C November 5, 2008 at 6:48 am #

    Girl on the wall.

  109. SJ Cowdery November 5, 2008 at 6:53 am #

    Kudos to you. I walked over a mile home from school everyday from 1st grade. I am now a high school teacher and most of my students are blithering idiots because mom and dad (ok, mostly mom) won’t let them do anything on their own.

    I like the girl on the wall. Most kids will do that. The aviator is, as far as the image goes, is simply playing dress up

  110. Michele in Playa November 5, 2008 at 7:29 am #

    I like the carefree nature of the 1st cover!!

  111. beth November 5, 2008 at 7:44 am #

    I prefer the 2nd. The boy looks like he’s ready to go out and explore the world whereas the girl looks like she’s teetering on a wall

  112. Jess November 5, 2008 at 8:24 am #

    I like the girl on the wall, though I prefer the font of your name and “America’s Worst Mom” from the second cover.
    They both look great, however!

  113. Alex November 5, 2008 at 9:21 am #

    First cover. However, the “America’s Worst Mom” should look more like the second cover. It was odd to read – the kerning is off, as is the leading.

  114. Karen November 5, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    The picture from the first one…but like others I am not crazy about the font. And I think there’s a better choice number 3 out there somewhere.

  115. Delia November 5, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    i like the first one. it feels more real.

  116. relaxedrevolutionary November 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    I like the first one, by far. It captures the joy of the free-range mentality, and the picture reinforces the subtitle’s focus on the freedoms *we* had as children. I remember walking on walls in just that way as a child, and I also more recently remember getting judgemental looks (and even the occasional polite reprimand) for letting my daughter do the same. But the photo really captures the easy joy of competence and self confidence in everyday triumphs. In contrast, the second photo looks like an overprotected venture into an unusual challenge, and could even be a child simply pretending they are embarking on an adventure, which makes its thematic statement less clear.

    I also prefer the careful child’s-lettering of the title on the first one to the rushed scrawl of the second. (The former seeming intended to communicate (as in a poster), the latter, intended to record (as in a notebook).) The graffiti-on-the-wall motif is kind of funny, especially for the “world’s worst mother” part, though I wonder if someone might infer some thematic connection between freedom and vandalism.

  117. Jody Ferrill November 5, 2008 at 5:28 pm #

    I like the first one. I think the scribbling on the wall with the authors name is a wonderful touch.

  118. Carlton Reid November 5, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    A third option is needed.

    The wall metaphor is a good one. Why not a boy AND a girl?

    At the end of the day, the publishers are going to choose what will sell best. I went through this process with my Bike to Work Book. I asked my blog’s readers to comment and got a whole load of different comments.

    I took the critique on board, changed fonts and pictures but then went with what I thought worked best.

    But two test covers ain’t enough.

    I also ran an online poll, listing all the possible covers.

  119. marta November 5, 2008 at 8:13 pm #

    The Girl on the Wall.

    It’s simple, easy-looking, a regular girl doing what should be a regular childhood thing.

    Don’t like her outfit much, though

  120. K in Kiev November 5, 2008 at 8:44 pm #


  121. Molly November 5, 2008 at 9:15 pm #

    The girl is my favorite. The aviator reminds me of war. The girl reminds me of innocent joy. Cant wait to buy this!

  122. Marlet November 5, 2008 at 10:38 pm #

    Between the two, I prefer the first one. Like others, however, I have a few suggestions. I would put the girl in jeans. I don’t mind the pink, but I do agree that the skirt is a little too short. The angle from which the shot is taken calls for something less revealing.

    Also, your name on the first cover looks like graffiti on the brick wall. Maybe that is the look the publishers are going for, but it does nothing for me.

    That said, I will buy the book regardless of the cover. I am more interested in the text.

  123. Jason Fitch November 6, 2008 at 12:51 am #

    I like the girl on the wall. It reflects actual stuff kids do that parents often freak out about. I may freak out too if my kid was about to fire up an airplane. The wall connects with real life more. Looking forward to the read.

  124. mytotalchaos November 6, 2008 at 2:25 am #

    I like the depiction on number 1 better but the font better on number 2. Does that help at all? 🙂

  125. Karrie Andrews November 6, 2008 at 2:30 am #

    Girl on the wall!!

  126. Anita November 6, 2008 at 3:10 am #

    I prefer the first, same as others, more carefree, less affected…but please-please, don’t make her so plaid/pink/preppy! How about a more modern outfit that better exemplifies a modern aged tomboy-ish girl? One who would actually be walking up on a wall? I do like how they captured her innocence, and independence by showing her alone though…You go girl, Lenore! Do I get a signed copy? -Anita

  127. MJ November 6, 2008 at 4:10 am #

    The girl on the wall. She truly looks like a free range kid. The boy in the aviator outfit looks over-dressed and not free at all. I love what you’re doing. I’m working on a children and nature project, and think there is such great potential synergy between the children and nature and free range kid “movements”. Way to go! MJ

  128. Lynn Dawson November 6, 2008 at 5:47 am #

    Girl on the wall – that’s exactly the type of thing kids should be doing!
    I’ve been told “You’re so brave!” letting my 7 and 9 year old girls walk to the park and play on their own AND letting them walk to school on their own. Thank you and keep it up!

  129. Jennifer November 6, 2008 at 7:25 am #

    My vote goes to the first one. It has a free, independent feel to it. I do like the typeface you chose also. And just for the record…I have a daughter who likes to dress like the girl on the wall and who also likes to walk on the walls. Please don’t change her look! Girls don’t need to look like tom-boys to act like them! 🙂 Thanks again for your website. It’s one of my favorites now.

  130. Jennifer November 6, 2008 at 7:29 am #

    PS We also homeschool. Not offended by the ‘schoolishness’ of the outfit she has on either.

  131. Shama-Lama Mama November 6, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    I like the first one. I really do like the second one, but I think the first one is more likely to grab the audience you are going for, the suburb mom.

    The second one might appeal more to the already-converted who would get a laugh out of it.

    Good for you on the book! You did great on Dr. Phil!

  132. mamajj November 6, 2008 at 9:44 am #

    The girl on the wall.


  133. maria November 6, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    The girl is my fav.

  134. Tracee Sioux November 6, 2008 at 10:13 am #

    the first one – congratulations.

  135. Barb Johnson November 6, 2008 at 9:28 pm #

    I think the girl on the wall definitely relays the message of allowing our children to take risks. I vote for that one!

  136. KLR November 6, 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    I prefer the second — it has a bit of hyperbole and humor in it, just like the free-range philosophy.


  137. Elizabeth November 6, 2008 at 10:37 pm #

    I prefer the carefree spirit of the girl on the wall, but would like it better if it were a group of kids playing follow the leader on the wall. The girl’s posture says “I’m confident and doing this on my own, using my own resources for balance and stability.”

    The aviator looks too sheltered and over done.

    Keep up the good work.

  138. Jacquie November 7, 2008 at 1:20 am #

    I like the the girl on the wall – it’s visually simple with blocks of color (wall/sky) – easier for the brain to zero in on the girl and the title. She gives the impression of being independent, carefree, taking chances, etc. – all the things that free range implies.

    I don’t really like the “World’s wost Mom” tag – for the same reason as mentioned above. But then again, I’ve experienced that tag when strangers have made it clear that they don’t agree with my eight year old daughter going to school on the city bus by herself. So maybe including it will make people (from both sides of the fence) notice the book more…

  139. Jacquie November 7, 2008 at 1:23 am #

    Girl on the wall – it’s visually simple with blocks of color (wall/sky) – easier for the brain to zero in on the girl and the title. She gives the impression of being independent, carefree, taking chances, etc. – all the things that free range implies.

    I don’t really like the “World’s wost Mom” tag – for the same reason as mentioned above. But then again, I’ve experienced that tag when strangers have made it clear that they don’t agree with my eight year old daughter going to school on the city bus by herself. So maybe including it will make people (from both sides of the fence) notice the book more…

  140. mke November 7, 2008 at 1:49 am #

    The girl on the wall cover gives me a informational book feel and the avatar a childs adventure book.

  141. maureen November 7, 2008 at 4:40 am #

    I prefer the first one–she looks free and confident. The boy looks too PREpared if you know what I mean. I understand other posters point that is might be too girly looking, but most of these books will be bought by moms and I think it helps that it might remind them of their own childhood (plaid skirt, high tops and all!).

  142. suzannerevy November 7, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    Both pictures are boring and ordinary.

    I love pictures of kids really playing… not “model kids” walking on some stage set up wall with (no doubt) their hovering stage parents overseeing the shoot from right behind the photographer.

  143. Amy November 7, 2008 at 8:37 am #

    Can you use both? Publish it both ways like the TV guide does with their four “collectors” covers.

  144. Molly November 7, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    Go with the girl on the wall!

  145. Kate November 7, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    Overall: First one.
    Breaking it down:
    1. Photo: First one. Carefree; love the high tops. I agree with those who say DON’T change her outfit. Pink does not equal helpless! I also agree with those who say the image would be improved by adding a boy. Maybe her little brother could be tagging behind her?
    2. Title typeface: First one. More fun.
    3. Subtitle typeface: First one. Simple and professional, balancing the fun / casual typeface of the title.
    4. Author typeface: Second one. But I don’t really like either one! Getting too messy with too many different typefaces.
    5. Author tagline typeface: Second one. But I agree with others in not really liking this tagline. “America’s Worst Mom” makes me think of moms who actively harm their children due to drug dependency, mental illness, or what have you. Such moms and their kids really need serious help. Totally doesn’t jive with where you’re coming from. If I could think of a better tagline I’d mention it… anybody else?

  146. Kate November 7, 2008 at 11:21 am #

    P.S. I didn’t think the girl was walking to school. I saw her as walking AWAY from school…. 🙂

  147. Derry November 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm #

    I like the general look of the second (layout and font), but the boy and his gear don’t resonate well with the title of the book. The girl on the wall is better, but the short pink skirt doesn’t sit well. If the choice is not some combination of the two, then, as a book cover, I vote for the second.

  148. Lola November 7, 2008 at 9:37 pm #

    I´d go for the second one. The idea is to gear up your kids and let them go; grab your coat, make yourself a sandwich and decide for yourself what adventure you´ll live today.

    Girl on the Wall, on the other hand, just looks bored and idle. Besides, you can´t tell just how tall that wall is…

  149. Dorothy November 8, 2008 at 12:49 am #

    The first cover – the girl looks like she’s having fun while being ‘free’. The second looks as though the boy might be lost, worried, etc.

  150. jack November 8, 2008 at 6:19 am #

    the second; as a kid myself i would rather let a parent’s first impression be that their kids are more reliable with their discions

  151. jack November 8, 2008 at 6:24 am #

    the second; as a kid myself i would rather let a parent’s first impression be that their kids are more reliable with their discions.

  152. jack November 8, 2008 at 6:25 am #

    the second; as a kid myself i feel that it shows parents that kids can be independent.

  153. Michael Chermside November 8, 2008 at 8:57 am #

    Girl on wall.

  154. Andrea C. November 8, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    I prefer the girl on the wall. She better represents (at least in my mind) a “free range” kid. I don’t get the outfit on the boy (unless he’s piloting the helicopter his parents are hovering in!).

  155. Mandy November 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm #

    Girl on the wall. The boy could just be playing dress up in his backyard. It doesn’t quite grab the attention as much. Especially the impression of height (danger!) on the wall will make a parent stop and look twice (hopefully picking up the book to find out what its about).

  156. Laure November 9, 2008 at 12:10 am #

    I like the feel of the first better, but I agree with several commentors: we homeschool – school is not the only place for free range – in fact from what my public schooling friends talk about, it may be the antithesis!
    I like the idea of kids in trees. I climbed trees as a little girl – in fact, while my teens were getting stuff at a hardware store, I took my youngers for a walk around the place where I grew up and showed them the trees I climbed! Now the 9yo is obsessed with tre climbing.
    So, use both boys and girls in a more free-range setting.
    PS, can’t wait for the book!!

  157. DarlaS November 9, 2008 at 2:30 am #

    Girl on wall

  158. Marissa November 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    Girl on the Wall. It’s much more hopeful and optimistic. The second cover just makes the kid look like he’s going on a ski trip, it’s not clear that he’s bundled up because of an overprotective parent. 🙂

  159. Heather H. November 9, 2008 at 1:18 pm #

    I vote for the girl on the wall. It is eye catching and I think that I’d be more likely to pick that one up if I saw it in the store.

  160. Susan November 9, 2008 at 1:28 pm #

    The first one reinforces the idea that you are allowing dangerous things….the second that you are reinforcing exploration. I vote for exploration!

  161. Jessica November 9, 2008 at 9:39 pm #

    I like the second one. It shows the boy using his skills to survive

  162. Tiffany November 10, 2008 at 12:35 am #

    I love the first one. It really strikes as a kid who does not have a care and is not worried about falling off. Mom has not been there screaming you are going to get hurt get down from there.

  163. El November 10, 2008 at 5:24 am #

    The first one– how nice to shock people a little with dangerous girls, and not just dangerous boys. The second seems much more ho-hm

  164. Holly November 10, 2008 at 9:15 am #

    I like the first one much better. It seems more like when I was a kid, where you didn’t have to go to REI to buy so much gear to play in the snow. She’s taking a walk, big deal. The second kid looks a lot less realistic.

    Lenore, I can’t wait for your book!

  165. Michele November 11, 2008 at 1:14 am #

    Because I wholeheartedly believe that we do judge a book by its cover, I don’t really prefer either but if I had to choose:

    I like the type of the first one but prefer the cover of the 2nd one if I had to choose, however I’d like to see both a boy & girl represented on the cover so as not to imply that only boys can be free range or gain from it. At first glance, the girl on the top cover makes me think of a school or an education themed book. In my opinion, a more fitting cover would be a photo of one of the following:

    a boy & a girl (or boys and girls) frolicking in a field, climbing a country wooden fence, building a “fort” together in the woods or blowing bubbles in the wind!

    Either way, look forward to the book as well:)

  166. Bob Davis November 11, 2008 at 4:59 am #

    The first cover reminds me of the time in the mid-60’s when I took my daughters (then in the 5-7 year old range) to downtown LA to ride the Angels Flight incline railway. I have a photo showing them climbing on the ruins of an old building foundation, without any “don’t go there, you might fall!” or “it’s dirty!” admonitions. Some years later, they had a paper route, which they covered on bicycles–trading sections from day to day because part of the route was hilly and part was flatland. Only if it was “raining cats and dogs” would I take them on their rounds in my pickup truck. They have both gone on to happy, productive lives with good jobs and interesting avocations.

  167. Allison November 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    The first one!

    The girl on the wall is great! It reminds me of my childhood walking around the campus of the University of Oklahoma, where my mother worked, and where I spent almost all of my free time. There were loads of brick half-walls there for me to walk on just like that (under little or no supervision….)

  168. Trenches of Mommyhood November 12, 2008 at 2:54 am #

    The first one captured my attention the most.

  169. Sam November 12, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    The first one. When my daughter was little, she loved walking on walls but her dad would never let her because she might fall. I just told her, if you think you can do it, go for it.

    The first cover is simplistic and eye catching though I agree with others that it should be re shot with a boy and a girl.

  170. BCmom November 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm #

    Given the choice, I’d vote for the first. I’d pick the book up and check it out.

    Although I agree the girl is too pink, it would not have stopped me from picking up the book, and i am the mother of two boys. The big “.. KIDS” in the title right next to the girl makes it pretty clear it is not just for parents of girls! Still, change the shoe and backpack color at least. I think adding a boy would make it cluttered and distract from the visual message. She looks nice and carefree by herself.
    I agree with many PP that the title font on the first would be better if thickened up a little somehow.
    I actually like the graffiti wall look of the author font.
    Regarding the “America’s Worst Mom” tagline: This makes sense to most of us, because we have already read the articles about the author and know about it. If the people that are already familiar with the articles are the publishers only audience – fine (but I doubt it). Since you want people to pick up the book that have never heard Lenore called that, and don’t know where that came from, I would leave that to one of the title pages, or an “about the author” page. It’s tempting, I know. But it’s only provocative to those that already know the story, I think.

    The boy picture is completely horrid IMO! My first thought was “what the heck is that supposed to mean??” The second thought after seeing your reference to “aviator boy” was to think of that 9-year-old girl that died trying to fly a plane across the country! She crashed and died. Please – we do NOT need to be sending any kind of message that the free-range kids thing is about having your kids take those kinds of extraordinary risks. At least I hope not! It’s about enjoying everyday freedoms that we had – to ride bikes out of sight of home, to walk to school or the corner store with friends, to play in the woods by a stream for hours without parents hovering over us… I piloted a plane at 15 (with my dad in the other seat) and I was barely up to it at that age. If the kid is just supposed to be “pretending” I don’t think that is the thrust of the free-range thing, either. There are already too many books out about “allowing your kid to be creative” and the like. I think it muddles the message, even if others don’t think of the tragic 9-year-old pilot like I did.
    Seriously, I would not have picked up the second book. It looks crazy. I’d shake my head and move on in the book store.

  171. Liz November 12, 2008 at 10:24 pm #

    I actually like the photo of the first one and the font of the second one. Is it possible to make a third? 🙂

  172. Geneva Girl November 13, 2008 at 12:48 am #

    I like the graphic on the first one because the girl looks carefree. In the second, the boy looks overly bundled up. I get that he has on aviator glasses and has a map and looks like he’s about to take off. On the other hand, it looks like his mom wrapped a scarf around his neck at the last minute – too overprotective.

    The fonts in the second, however, are better.

  173. Jenny Vaughn November 13, 2008 at 1:22 am #

    I like the first one because it is a young girl doing something daring. Well, it’s not that daring, but too daring for most parents, which I think is the point.

    Partly it depends on the audience for the book: parents who already give their kids some freedom, but wouldn’t let them explore on their own OR parents who won’t even let their kids climb on a playground climber without hovering. I think your audience is most likely the latter. To me, the cover with the girl on it makes more sense.

  174. Sarah M November 13, 2008 at 5:04 am #

    The second one, definitely–isn’t that what got you into trouble the first time? A boy with a map by himself?! 🙂
    Way to go!! Can’t wait to read it!

  175. Alicia November 13, 2008 at 8:40 am #

    Ooh, I love the first one! But then again I’m in Minnesota and am already tired of bundling up. 😉

  176. Erin November 14, 2008 at 4:30 am #

    I think the girl on the wall seems more self motivated & directed–her play is spontaneous. However, I don’t like the skirt. It is too feminine and reminds me of restrictions on her activity and there is an overload of pink anyway. Just add some jeans.

    The aviator boy is too choreographed. He appears adult-like and has expensive toys from REI. I would prefer him with a simple map and compass with a city backdrop.

    Someone mentioned having both genders on a cover and I think that is a great idea–you want to appeal to everyone.

    When I envision a free range kids I picture a child of their own heart and mind, away from adult preservation and affect.

  177. Modern-Day Jane November 14, 2008 at 1:30 pm #

    I also like the first – although I like the suggestion of jeans.

    The photo in the first almost makes me want to say “Get down from there – what if you fall?!” which, I suppose, is the point.

    The other photo looks posed – what boy really has gear like that?

  178. Alliwoo November 15, 2008 at 6:36 am #

    I’m for the Girl on the wall, a free girl, how marvelous…if it is hard for kids to be free these days how much harder is it for girls.

    contrary to the call for jeans I have to say I loved my skirts as a nipper and could do anything in a skirt the boys could do in trousers.

    Have to say I’m not keen on the worlds worst mom tag, I can see it’s meant in fun standing as you do for childrens freedom, but the irony will be lost on the fear crazed masses.

    I’m really looking forward to reading this book.

    Kudos from France for a cracking good website.

  179. Bob Nolan November 15, 2008 at 3:22 pm #

    Another vote for #1, the girl on the wall. Just seems to express freedom more.

  180. Sonja November 15, 2008 at 9:39 pm #

    Is it possible that maybe you can dress up a girl in the expedition outfit? I suspect not, but I think that would be cool. Or a boy and a girl looking at the map together. Even better. Not that you’re asking for new ideas of course, but there you have it. I much prefer the idea of both genders being represented. As a mom of girls, I honestly admit that I would want a girl on the cover, but the top one scares the be-jesus out of me when my kids do it. I’m the most free-range parent I know, but I have a fear of heights and when my kids want to walk along the top of brick walls (which they do), my heart starts racing a million beats per minute and I have to ask them to get down before I have a heart attack. I totally realize that’s my personal issue, but when I saw that cover, all I could think was, “Oh my god I hope she doesn’t fall. Get down! Get down NOW!” lol

  181. Sasha Faynor November 16, 2008 at 4:55 am #

    The “Girl on the Wall” evokes carefree immediately and from across the bookstore. The second image is more of a question mark and too cluttered.

  182. Tanya November 17, 2008 at 12:13 am #

    Girl on the wall! It’s obviously clear that she’s confident, but I’m sure some parents looking at that cover would cringe and want her to ‘get down this instant!’….hence the reason for this wonderful and much needed book in the first place.
    I can’t wait to read it and give oodles and oodles of copies away as baby shower gifts

    the shot of the boy is a little hard to figure out.

  183. Michele P. November 17, 2008 at 9:28 am #

    Gosh, neither cover does it for me. When free range kids comes to mind, my immediate thought is something more “natural” instead of a backpack or a kid bundled up.

    I envision kids, boy(s) & girl(s), swinging on an old tire swing hanging from a big oak tree or running barefoot through a creek or skipping through a field with dandelions. I really think these types of images not only jive with the message of the book better, but would capture the attention of your shopper at the bookstore/library more so than the sample covers above. Cover should really include both sexes.

    Like the font of the girl cover better. Can’t wait for the book!

  184. katrin November 18, 2008 at 1:11 am #

    The first. Much better. The second is too busy — the kid image is large and the font hard to read. The first also captures the happiness a less restrictive life can offer.

  185. Kay November 18, 2008 at 7:00 am #

    voting for the first one!!!

  186. gnash November 18, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    My vote goes to the first one.

  187. Karen November 19, 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    My vote is for the first cover. I think it depicts a typical carefree kid who hopped up on the wall on her walk to school. Kids doing normal everyday activities that don’t require an adult within 5 feet shouldn’t need googles, climbing gear, compass, etc. I don’t interpret that as “free-range”. The second picture makes me think of a cover for orienteering or mountaineering with your kids – not that that is bad, but it does require adult supervision (even adults rarely attempt that alone).

  188. lola November 20, 2008 at 1:54 am #

    wall girl is definitely better. much clearer and overall just nicer looking

  189. Joanna November 20, 2008 at 6:58 am #

    I like the first one — carefree as many have already commented, but it also reminds me of myself walking our fence when I was a kid, and that’s what so many of us want for our kids–the freedom we had. Plus I like the image of balance. Life is all about balance and judgment.

  190. Casey November 20, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    First one, its simply what childhood should be, making up games of walking along a wall and not touching the street.

  191. Mike Z November 21, 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    I like the little girl on the wall

  192. Mammamsterdam November 22, 2008 at 6:09 am #

    The firts one makes render better the idea, but in a conceptual sort of way. Ansd it”s a girl, so it would be good for once non have again the carefree climbing boys and the queietly sitting girls stereotype.

    Problem is, esthetically and on an immediate level, nr. too is more catchy and pleasant. The colors are better. So I am definitely for the boy.

  193. Emily November 23, 2008 at 3:59 am #

    Girl on the wall, definitely. 🙂 It looks more “free,” and it’s easier to understand than the other one. The one with the boy is so cluttered, it’s hard to make sense of it, it’s like, “okay, there’s a boy in a parka with a map, and what’s going on here?” ; whereas the girl on the wall looks more straightforward.

  194. klashton November 24, 2008 at 12:03 am #

    The girl on the wall. She’s more realistic (though the clothes are a tad preppy). We’re talking about real life experiences that we want our kids to have rather than fantasy navigating the arctic. Maps, goggles etc. aren’t needed to have a free range life. And yes, you can fall down and scrape your knees (the scars on my knees are evidence of it) but it’s all part of life. Don’t plan – do!

    [P.S. LOVE the free range concept and I’ve been sharing it with other mom friends, some of whom share it while to others I’m showing that I’m not alone!]

  195. momstylenews November 24, 2008 at 3:15 am #

    Everything about the “Girl on the Wall” works. Balancing on a wall without someone warning her that she is about to plunge to her … statistically improbably, yet still possible flesh wound … is perfect. Love the graffiti style of the writing, especially the prominence of “America’s Worst Mom”.

  196. Alex S. November 24, 2008 at 5:28 am #

    I have three boys. I wouldn’t go near a girl book, much less bring it in the house!

  197. Jordan November 24, 2008 at 9:55 am #

    I like the first one much better. It’s a book I’d pick up off a table at Barnes and Noble and expect the kind of content you’d write. The 2nd one looks too cluttered and it took me a minute to study it and figure it out. Very exciting!

  198. Jeannette November 26, 2008 at 12:23 am #

    The first design child is more “free” doing simple everyday things. The child on the second book is smothered in specialized equipment that seems forced on him by parents. He looks over-prepared and micromanaged to me.

    People also seem overly focused on the boy / girl issue. That may not be such an issue if the images of the girl and boy were dressed in simply jeans and a tee shirt. Something gender neutral, and financial status neutral would appeal to a wider audience.

    Can’t wait to read the book, though!

  199. Leigh (a grandad!) November 26, 2008 at 7:33 pm #

    The first one with the girl on the wall ‘cos girls can do anything…’ and generally with more thought and care.
    But perhaps with the aviator boy on the back cover as well. Although I did rather like one readers suggestion of having both on the front cover standing at the edge a forest looking at a map Team work and mutual trust?
    Also with a picture on the backcover of them both emerging after successful navigation of said forest.

  200. Carla Garcia November 28, 2008 at 5:24 am #

    The girl walking on the wall. I am the type of mom that would let my toddler when she was 3 climb on the walkover monkey bar apparatus that was 6 feet from the ground at the peak. I would do this without hovering over her so she could be challenged and feel I have confidence in her while the 6 year old got stuck on the top and started crying maybe because her parents hovered and protected her all the time. I am constantly teaching her how to navigate the airport, parking garages, malls, and she will be 5 years old in January. Never to young to teach your kids how to do things on their own as long as you teach them how to respond to potential strangers etc.

  201. Chickymum November 28, 2008 at 5:38 am #

    I think that it seemed extreme to leave a child in NY and tell him to take the subway but I do not know NY nor do I know this womans son. This woman however, does know obviously. She would not want her child to be hurt so I believe she has only done what she thinks is ok. Good for you. It is hard for me to let go but there are times when I have to. Eg my boys like to drive their dirt bikes to a friends house close by. this terrifies me but i have trained them well and I need to have faith that they can do this.

  202. Kim November 28, 2008 at 11:46 am #

    I like the girl on the wall — this is something my kids always loved to do when we went for walks together and I always let them…and hey, they never fell..go figure!

  203. Joann King November 28, 2008 at 8:18 pm #

    The first depicts the message you are trying to get across. Carefree, confident, and fun!

  204. Jackie November 28, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    I like the first one. I think it works better with the message you are trying to get across.

  205. Joe Williams December 1, 2008 at 2:28 am #

    The first. Fun, not anti-paranoid.

  206. Margaret Gruen December 1, 2008 at 9:43 pm #

    Definitely the first one.
    The message for free range kids is “Do something completely normal”. The girl is endangering herself by walking on a wall, and if you never risk the fall you’ll never have the joy of the achievement. Balancing on a wall and risking a fall of 4 feet is an acceptable risk.
    The aviator boy is not doing anything that someone would forbid.

  207. Sally Big Woods December 2, 2008 at 5:40 am #

    Girl on the wall.

    Aviator boy looks too bundled up. Sorta like the joke I have q/my friend who has a “worst mom of the year competition” among her other friends. We’re positive out kids are going to grow up and say, “MOM! I can’t BELIEVE you let us walk around without our bublewrap suits and crash helmets on! WHAT were you THINKING!?!” tee hee.

  208. PennyAnn December 4, 2008 at 12:16 pm #

    If it’s not too late to vote I like the girl on the wall. I would try to incorporate the author name so it didn’t look like graffiti. Thanks!

  209. Christina December 4, 2008 at 12:19 pm #

    Girl on the wall, for many of the same reasons that others have noted.

  210. EasyE December 4, 2008 at 9:38 pm #

    I prefer the first – it’s reminiscent of walking to school, playing on walls, and the general exploring we used to do as kids. The Arctic Explorer cover seems more contrived, like you’re promoting a cross-country trip vs. just letting kids do what comes naturally.

  211. A ONeill December 5, 2008 at 1:03 pm #

    I like the girl, but agree that she’s too “pinked up.” It’s nostalgic to me.

  212. Joe December 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    Lenore! God bless you! I say put out BOTH covers, giving the buyer the choice of which cover to choose for their copy. Your book is all about freedom right? Same book, same contents, but two editions by cover. A dad thinking of his little boy may not like buying the little girl cover, but would love the boy cover. And any parent who has a little girl would WANT a little girl cover. – Joe (Thanks for helping free today’s kids from the present day insanity!!!

  213. Robin Moore December 7, 2008 at 1:56 am #

    The first because it is real and very close to the mark. A nine to ten year old (middle childhood) at a maturity level where exploring and testing affordances of their everyday world without adult “supervision” should be normal for children. The girl appears to be learning to balance on a neighborhood wall – the kind of activity that every child needs in order to learn motor skills such as balance and agility. The extra plus here is that the child is playing with the “built environment.” She is not in a gymnastics program run by adults but engaged because of the genetically programmed “motivation to move.” As such skills are acquired, the child becomes evermore confident in her ability to navigate, negotiate, and cope with the challenges of everyday life (I’m a father – Robin from UK – of two daughters who grew up “free” in this sense. One has two grand-daughters and has, thankfully, the same guided freedom attitude. This is my basic “read” of this image. My suggestion would be to dress her in jeans or more functional “play clothes” that won’t matter if they get dirty, that will also protect legs from what should be the normal scratches and scrapes of an active childhood.

    In contrast, the second cover cames across as “unreal” or fake. This is not actual, everyday childhood, it is an adult interpretation. I could read it as a boy wonderfully alive in his imagination in an environment that affords aviation adventures. But this would be an overly sophisticated interpretation during the one-second message reading of a book cover. What’s all this dress-up have to do with basic freedoms afforded by independent mobility?

    The ideal graphic for me (to avoid irrelevant gender differences) would be to depict two kids that read as younger brother and older sister (just a touch of gender message) out having adventures together dressed appropriately. Children prefer to play in small groups creating adventures together. Hard to do it alone. A group affords a security blanket of wise judgment among the children (to check and balance “daring” behavior) as well as subduing parental anxiety, especially if the parents know each other. This type of “social networking” in the actual lived environment of childhood has become very important and is challenging if the housing density is too low. Potential playmates to facilitate independent mobility must live a short walk or bike ride away.

    Sorry for the wordy reply but the two covers prompted some stimulating thoughts hopefully relevant to the serious issues addressed in the book.

    I salute Ms. Skenazy’s courageous efforts to raise these issues and to Wiley for supporting them. Comments above and elsewhere on this website confirm that wise, intelligent parenting is still alive but also that scary, uninformed attitudes exist among parents too.

  214. Glen December 8, 2008 at 10:08 am #

    I like the girl on the wall, but if you put a frazzled mother under her with a big net, you may capture the theme of the book better!

  215. Laura December 8, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    I like the girl on the wall. She looks both carefree and confident and the photo captures the spirit of childhood beautifully.

  216. jill December 9, 2008 at 5:01 am #

    The girl on the wall looks more realistic and appropriately young at heart plus the font has more character. The aviator is cute, but not quite as realistic.

  217. karla December 9, 2008 at 10:21 am #

    first one looks like she’s having more fun

  218. Richie December 10, 2008 at 1:35 am #

    I like the second one. It tells that kids can learn to do things b themselves. They they protect themselves when they grow up.

  219. andrew December 13, 2008 at 3:56 am #

    #1 for me. Nostalgic and care-free. An adventurous girl exploring her world. You don’t know if there is a friend or parent nearby and the important thing is that she doesn’t care. #2 is confusing. I can’t tell if he is dressed for his own adventure or covered up with all the over-protective gear his parents layered him with.

  220. Margaret Thorson December 14, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    I like the girl on the wall best.

  221. Emily December 15, 2008 at 10:36 am #

    The first, girl on the wall. She looks free and natural and in her element. The boy looks more… made for the picture. It also makes me happy to see the girl, the boy makes me anxious for some reason, perhaps the picture isn’t as clear cut and visceral. good luck and congrats!

  222. Marin December 20, 2008 at 12:39 am #

    I like the first one better. I think it goes better with the “Free Range Kids” theme….

  223. Regina December 24, 2008 at 6:54 am #

    While I prefer the second one, the first gives a better sense of “kids doing perfectly normal kid things,” whereas the second looks too adventurous.

    What if you did one as a front cover and one as a back? That might look cool.

  224. Jen December 28, 2008 at 4:01 pm #

    The first, can’t say why other than she seems more unencumbered. The second picture seems to want to capture the spirit of adventure, but he seems so bundled and with the map…worried about being lost? Definitely the first; congrats on the book!

  225. Renske December 30, 2008 at 6:16 am #

    I prefer the first one, for many of the reasons other people wrote (there are 224 by now – too much to read them all for me). I understand the reasons from people with sons that the girl-cover wouldn’t invite them to buy the book, but I do like the idea of having a girl for a book that is about both sexes. Too often and too long was the man/boy taken for the neutral part of humanity (just look at advertisement – it still happens way too much).
    But I do also think that you can neutral the girl a bit down – so I would definitely be in favour of a new design. She’s very girly girl now. There’s a lot of pink. A looooot. I’m a woman and never liked pink, so even *I* have a bit of trouble with that.
    The boy-cover is too blue, too busy, the boy is overdressed and most important to me: it took me three times to see that he was looking at a map. People in bookshops won’t look three times.
    The girl on the wall-cover gets the message across immediately. No matter if you don’t like pink, girls or walls.
    By the way, someone suggested that the air behind the girl could use some clouds, like on the cover with the boy. I don’t agree: I think it gets to symbolic doing that, and the clouds on the boy-cover make it almost unreadable to me, on an already very busy cover-idea.

    [quote]Mixed Nuts: “If it were me, I’d do a boy and a girl, dressed normally, standing in front of the woods and looking at a map together.”[/quote]
    Sorry, but that suggestion sounds way too much like Hänsel and Gretl to me. Not the best association I think for this book…

  226. Judy December 30, 2008 at 6:42 am #

    I like the first. It brings back fond memories. I was a wall walker, tree climber. Rode the bus by MYSELF at 6 (small town, but yes, 6). My kids didn’t have quite the same freedom I did, but by 10 they knew better than to tell mom exactly how tall the tree was.

    The second looks to me, at first glance, as if the boy is being padded against potential harm. A second look shows the reality of his situation, but that first glance didn’t catch me the way the first image did.

    Oh, and unlike the previous poster, I disagree that mothers of boys (I have 3 and no daughters) would be turned off by the girl in the photo.

  227. beth December 30, 2008 at 4:59 pm #

    The girl on the wall.

    Somehow the boy cover just gives me an old-fashioned “adventure is for boys” kind of vibe, and would lead me to believe that girls aren’t included in the free-range idea. – especially since some parents are more willing to let boys roam free than girls (was true for me vs. my brother) so the boy cover might lead me to think that the book has boys mainly in mind. So I’d prefer either a girl on the cover, or boys and girls together.

    Also, walking on a wall seems more of a typical/fun sort of kid thing to do than flying an airplane. I can identify more with the wall-walker (I loved to do that!) than the airplane flyer (never flew an airplane except the paper kind…)

  228. Alisa Mallinger December 31, 2008 at 9:50 am #

    Hey Lenore,
    I really think the girl cover is cuter and more to the point…I love your new website!!!!

  229. Judy Markoff December 31, 2008 at 11:06 am #

    Just showed Mom and Rick the covers and they both like the girl on the wall. One more comment from me…from an “artist” standpoint…..the girl walking off the wall leads your eye away from the writing; I would have the girl on the lefthand side leading the eye into the writing………..luv again, Judy

  230. Jules December 31, 2008 at 3:03 pm #

    Girl on the wall. Light, lively, balanced, confident, great image.

  231. Arenos December 31, 2008 at 8:13 pm #

    The girl, she displays a carefree spirit and the cover is more open and airy. The boy looks like somebody who has been dressed by an overprotective mom.

  232. jan angevine December 31, 2008 at 10:27 pm #

    I prefer a version of the 2nd photo. First, because there is a more genderless quality and I think there should be a focus on both genders. However, it is too extreme in the adventure sense, after all, we just want kids to be ranging not, yet, going extreme. Getting parents on board will require (unfortunately) a tamer image. I think KIDS would like the 2nd image because they like to imagine themselves as brave and adventuresome, e.g. Harry Potter et al.

    Anyway, thanks for doing this! I have lamented the increasing encapsulation of children for some 20 years. I was looked at suspiciously, as a working single-parent, when I encouraged my 12 year old daughter to take the bus to her swim team practice after school because I had to be at work. I picked her up from swim practice. The ride was 15 minutes and the bus dropped her right in front of the Y. By the age of 15 she was going into NYC on the bus to the museums and by the age of 19 she was traveling alone in India. She is now 38, married, a journalist and a confident, street-wise, joyful woman. Set them free!

  233. Allie January 1, 2009 at 2:16 am #

    I like them both. The first shows the whimsical spirit of a little girl, lost in her own world. The second shows the adventurous spirit of her male counterpart. They both display children being children! I”ll bet if you used both, parents of girls would like the first one, and parents of boys would be more apt to check out the second one.

  234. Misti January 1, 2009 at 2:20 am #

    While I agree with the posters who were concerned that the girly girl on the cover might lose some parents of boys.

    (I am the mother to 5 boys and I might have been inclined to assume it was about “freeing our girls” if I saw it without knowing any context)

    I still prefer the first one over the second one.

    The second one is cute, but one has to stop and ponder to really “get” that one and a cover needs to have immediate impact. The first one shows a child being a child and doing something that most kids do, given half a chance.

    Honestly, I think a cover with a group of children would be far better at conveying the message. Maybe lose the backpack and have a mixed lot of kids playing follow the leader on the wall…

  235. Ryan January 1, 2009 at 5:01 am #

    Girl on the wall!

  236. Edward January 1, 2009 at 5:19 am #

    I vote for the first one, it more clearly show Freedom, the second looks shows “lost”, like you dropped your kid in the middle of the woods and said “come home if you can”

  237. chris January 1, 2009 at 7:17 am #

    Girl on the Wall.

    Because you know she CAN do it.

  238. Marjorie Liese January 1, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    Definitely the first! I grew up in the fifties, and that’s something we always did, given the opportunity. Very normal and natural. The aviator boy looks like he’s bundled up to protect him from harm. Doesn’t seem in keeping with the theme of the book.

    Loved the articles here! I thought I was just into free range for eggs and poultry, didn’t know I was a proponent of it for kids until now. Thank you!

  239. Laughing Orca Ranch January 2, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    Neither. Both look too gender specific.
    1st was looks as if she was dressed by her Mom and has been forced to wal to school.

    The 2nd one looks cold. The boy looks lost and confused and way to overdressed. Not natural at all….and not looking like he’s enjoying himself.

    And shouldn’t free range be all about fun and freedom??

    Neither of these covers depict that feeling.

    I’d love to see some true free range kids, both boy and girl together, exploring and making up adventures as they smile huge…oh and a little less bulky clothing, too.
    Looks to confining.

    Happy New Year!

  240. Mark January 3, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    The first. Definitely better than the second. Shows a certain amount of “danger” that must kids will typically “enjoy”. Paranoid parents will look at a kid and say, “Get down before you get hurt!” But kids enjoy doing taking little risks like that. Seems real.

    Aviator boy, not so good. What I get there is, “I’m cold and I’m lost… somewhere in the countryside in France… and I can hear the Germans not far in the distance, moving closer. It’s January 1944.”

    OK, maybe not quite that drastic, but I like the first one better.

  241. Mary January 4, 2009 at 12:15 am #

    I love the aviator, but think it’d be nice to see a boy & girl navigating life together with a compass & map.

  242. Eric January 6, 2009 at 3:35 am #

    I like the first one – the font seems to portray that the book is about the kids versus the aggressive font in the second. The picture also shows the girl living on the edge enjoying life without a care in the world. I think that really portrays the theme of the book in my opinion.

  243. Tracy January 9, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    Font of second one is better, as is it’s blue-with-clouds background. I agree with Mary on Jan 4th that a boy AND girl with compass, map, etc. would be lovely. Lose the big hat and duffle coat though – they simply make it harder to notice the orienteering / aviation accessories.

  244. Yam Erez January 14, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    I vote for the girl on the wall. Says it much more clearly. But must she be wearing pink?

    Having said that, hallelujah for you and for this site. You voice stuff that I’ve been feeling ever since I became a mom 18 years ago. I’ve also been typecast as loosey-goosey supervision-wise, and it’s wonderful to finally find a community who feels as I do. Keep up the good work and good luck with the book!

  245. Suzanne January 16, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    The first is better. The girl is walking on the wall, the kindergarten equivalent of living on the edge (hasn’t that been banned yet) and better still, you wrote your name on the wall. Ha! Ha! that will get you expelled!

  246. -djb- January 20, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    The first is better. For all the reasons stated in an early post from “Will” (November 4th, 2008 at 12:41 am). No question…

    First: open, free, safe, innocent, happy, fun.

    Second: mission-focused, overly protected, serious, adult, work-like.

  247. Michele January 28, 2009 at 7:15 am #

    I like the boy, seems to be planning a wonderful adventure! I think writing a book about giving our kids more freedoms is very much needed for todays moms and dads.

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  250. J Greene August 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    The second one is better, because it implies that there is something unusual going on. It makes me pause and wonder what the kid is up to.

    The first cover is “OK,” but the straight lines of the wall and the title seems to convey to me the message, “let your kid run wild, under carefully ordered circumstances,” which is not exactly the message that will attract the most initial interest.

    I’d be more curious to open the second book and read the foreword–and that’s what marketing is all about.