All the Covers of the Rainbow: Rainbow

All the Covers of the Rainbow: Rainbow

Inspired by the “Book Cloud” that hangs over our front desk, pictured above, welcome to All the Covers of the Rainbow.

We all know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate them. A beautiful cover can grab a reader and draw them into the book before they even look at the first page. In this blog series All the Covers of the Rainbow, we’ll highlight a collection of books that share the same cover color.

Photo of a bookshelf with books arranged by color

To end our adventure through the color spectrum, we’ll be taking a stop at the place where the colors meet: the RAINBOW! One of the most beautiful sites in all of nature, the rainbow is actually an optical illusion caused by the reflection, refraction, and dispersion of light in water droplets in the sky. While we normally perceive rainbows as massive arcs in the sky, they are most often actually full circles which can often be seen from airplanes. Rainbows begin with red on the outside rim and violet on the inside, except in the case of double rainbows, where the color order is reversed. In 1672, Isaac Newton first divided the rainbow into five main color groups: red, yellow, green, blue, and violet; later adding orange and indigo to create the color spectrum we know today. Newton thought to define the rainbow as seven colors to be in line with the thinking of ancient Greek philosophers who believed there was a connection between the colors of the rainbow, the number of notes in a musical scale, the days of the week, and the number of known objects in the solar system.

The rainbow has been a significant symbol in mythology, religion, and art for centuries. The earliest written mention of the rainbow is in the Bible in chapter 9 of the Book of Genesis, as part of the story of Noah’s Ark. In Norse mythology, a rainbow bridge called the Bifröst connected Midgard, the world of man, to Asgard, the world of the gods. Most famously, the rainbow has a strong connection to Irish folklore. The legend goes that if you can capture a leprechaun, you can force him to tell you where he’s hidden his “pot o’ gold,” often at the end of the rainbow.

Photo of a rainbow flag blowing in the breeze

Rainbow flags have been used for centuries by people all over the world. It was a symbol of the Cooperative movement in the German Peasants’ War during the 16th century, by the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, and by LGBTQ+ groups since the early 1970s. Rainbows are often used in paintings, especially religious works and landscapes. During periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, rainbows were unofficially adopted as a symbol of hope. Households across the world displayed images of rainbows in their windows, often with positive messages.

Each book cover below is also a link to purchase the book on Bookshop.org, which supports local, independent bookstores. We also strongly encourage you to support your local bookstores by ordering online. They need our help more than ever, and we need them to stick around.

Written by Matthew Masino


“Dare to love yourself
as if you were a rainbow
with gold on both ends”

—Aberjhani, Journey Through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum book cover
Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford book cover
Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews book cover
The Disappointment Artist: Essays by Jonathan Lethem book cover

“In our world, I rank music somewhere between hair ribbons and rainbows in terms of usefulness.”

―Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

The Crayon Box that Talked by Sharie DeRoff, Illustrated by Michael Letzig
It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt book cover
Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion edited by Ryan Conrad book cover
MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche book cover

“Someday we’ll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreams, and me.”

―Kermit the Frog, “The Rainbow Connection,” Lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher

Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman, illustrated by Eda Kaban
The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon book cover
The Wheels on the Bus adapted and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky book cover
Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories by Washington Irving book cover

“You’re a rainbow in a sometimes dark world. Keep shining, my Alice-girl. Keep shining.”

―Tamara Bundy, Walking with Miss Millie

Pretty Little Mistakes: A Do-Over Novel by Heather McElhatton book cover
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green book cover
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett book cover

“Skittles: Taste the rainbow.”

―D’arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (Advertising Agency)

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara book cover
My Rainbow by Trinity and DeShanna Neal, illustrated by Art Twink
Make Him Look Good by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez book cover
Verge by Lidia Yuknavitch book cover

Matthew Masino is a content creator, writer, and theatre director based in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated with a B.F.A. in Theatre Directing from Columbia College Chicago in 2019. Matthew began writing for the AWM blog in April 2020, just after the museum’s closure and has since written more than two dozen articles for the blog. He is also responsible for creating the AWM Destinations blog series. As a theatre artist, Matthew has worked with the International Voices Project, the Chicago Fringe Festival, and BYOT Productions. You can learn more by visiting his website www.matthewmasino.com.

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