Are you there, God? Judy Blume's book covers are changing!

Image: Old and new book covers for "Forever" by Judy Blume Bradbury Press; Simon & Schuster
Judy Blume's classic novels for young readers will look noticeably different when they get re-released in April 2014.

Author Judy Blume’s timeless novels for children and teenagers are about to get a grown-up new look.

On April 29, 2014, publisher Simon & Schuster plans to repackage and re-release more than a dozen of Blume’s books for a new generation of young readers. A company spokeswoman told TODAY that “Forever,” “Tiger Eyes,” “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” and other Blume classics will be treated “like totally new releases.”

Blume’s novels — which have surpassed sales of 80 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 31 languages — were among the first to address subjects like bullying, racism, divorce, menstruation and teen sex when they came out in the 1970s. Blume has become so famous for her compassionate, genuine writing style that she’s won more than 90 literary awards.

Image: Old and new book covers for "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume Yearling; Simon and Schuster
The old and new book covers for "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume can be seen here.

Simon & Schuster said it plans to re-release teen editions of “Forever,” “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” “Deenie,” “Tiger Eyes” and “Then Again, Maybe I Won’t.”

Book report due? Relax: ‘Classics Illustrated’ are back

The publisher also will unveil new middle-grade editions of the following books: “Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself”; “The Pain and the Great One”; “The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo”; “It’s Not the End of the World”; “Iggie’s House”; “Freckle Juice”; “Blubber”; “Deenie”; “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” and “Then Again, Maybe I Won’t.”

Author Judy Blume speaks at the 17th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival Of Books - Day 1 at USC on April 21, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Jerod Harris / WireImage
Author Judy Blume is pictured in Los Angeles in April 2012.

A little more than a year ago, the now-75-year-old Blume announced in her blog and on Twitter that she was recovering from surgery after being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 74. The author — who also has written novels with adult themes over the years — said at the time that she planned to write about her journey from diagnosis to recovery.

Need a Coffey break? Connect with TODAY.com writer Laura T. Coffey on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or read more of her stories at LauraTCoffey.com.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Judge by their covers: Classic book designs reimagined

    Not feeling drawn to that paperback with a museum painting on the cover? These new designs might make you think again. Here are some of the cool covers being reimagined for 50 great works of fiction as part of the “Recovering the Classics” project.

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    New life for old works -

    Not feeling drawn to that paperback with a museum painting on the cover? Well, the eye-catching book covers from an innovative, crowdsourced design collective just might grab your attention. Keep clicking to see some of the covers being reimagined for 50 great works of fiction as part of the “Recovering the Classics” project.

    Wade Greenberg submitted this book cover for Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.”

    Wade Greenberg
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    Girls just want to have fun -

    “Recovering the Classics” is the brainchild of folks who are determined to help a new generation of readers connect with “The Scarlet Letter,” “Robinson Crusoe,” “The Brothers Karamazov” and other classic books. Anyone out there can submit book-cover creations for the 50 literary classics selected. Readers can then custom-order “artisanal” e-books or paperbacks complete with the book covers that speak most to them.

    Lia Marcoux created this reimagined “Little Women” cover.

    Lia Marcoux
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    Personality and perspective -

    “We’re trying to show that these books are still alive and vibrant and an important part of our culture,” said Justin Keenan, managing editor of DailyLit, the publishing platform behind the effort. “We want to give them some of their personality back.”

    J.D. Reeves dreamed up this evocative cover for “Robinson Crusoe.”

    J.D. Reeves
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    A generous cut for artists -

    The project’s crowdsourcing approach comes from the Creative Action Network, which connects artists with causes that matter to them. Illustrators, typographers and designers are encouraged to share as many book covers as they want. Artists receive 40 percent of all revenue from every digital and physical book sold.

    Jeff Walter’s cover for Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” is pictured here.

    Jeff Walters
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    Brilliant color -

    Dozens of cover designs have been submitted so far for the “Recovering the Classics” project, which will continue for six weeks or more. “We really had no idea what we were going to get when we put this out there, and we’ve been bowled over by it,” said Keenan of DailyLit. “Some books already have five or six covers available, and they’re all so different.”

    Wedha Abdul Rasyid created this cover for Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.”

    Wedha Abdul Rasyid
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    More than one vision -

    Here is another cover submission for “Don Quixote” that has a completely different feel. This one was envisioned by Luis Prado.

    Luis Prado
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    It's 'elementary' -

    Ioannis Fetanis submitted this clever cover for “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. “You don’t even have to see those words coming out of the pipe and you’d still know it’s a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ cover,” said Keenan of DailyLit.

    Ioannis Fetanis
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    Modern monster -

    In addition to providing inviting book covers, the “Recovering the Classics” project is trying to clean up typography inconsistencies and other problems that can make it difficult to dig into classic works. “There are some lovely and perfectly readable editions of these classics out there now, but there are also a lot of bad ones that are hard to read and are not really produced well,” Keenan said. “We just think these books deserve special treatment.”

    Elena Ospina submitted this cover for Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

    Elena Ospina
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    The letter 'A' -

    Many of the books considered to be in the public domain — that is, available for public use because their intellectual property rights have expired — were published in the United States before 1923. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” for instance, was published in 1850. An artist known as Mr. Furious reimagined this book cover for it.

    Mr. Furious
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    Double vision -

    In order to make custom paperback editions available for readers, the “Recovering the Classics” project teamed up with Harvard Book Store, which prints the books on demand on a special machine. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this part of it otherwise,” Keenan explained. “It would have been absurdly expensive to try to do a traditional print run, but printing on demand made the economics make sense.”

    Roberlan Borges’ cover for “A Tale of Two Cities” is pictured here.

    Roberlan Borges
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    An idea so wild it works -

    Readers who opt to buy electronic versions of classic works via DailyLit can receive them in small installments that many find easier to fit into their schedules. In February 2013, DailyLit was acquired by Plympton, a digital publishing company run by former New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee.

    Michael Van Kekem created this cover for “Call of the Wild” by Jack London.

    Michael Van Kekem
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    'Colorful and weird' -

    Roberlan Borges submitted this cover for “The Brothers Karamazov” by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. “I really like this one because it’s really colorful and has a circus-y vibe to it,” said Keenan of DailyLit. “It’s a reminder of how playful and colorful and weird (Dostoyevsky’s) writing is.”

    Roberlan Borges
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    'Darkness was here' -

    Here is one striking cover submission that came in from Louise Norman for Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.”

    Louise Norman
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    'The horror! The horror!' -

    And here is yet another vision for “Heart of Darkness” shared by mafMOVE.

    mafMOVE
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    Got your attention? -

    mafMOVE also submitted this arresting cover design for Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

    To learn more about the “Recovering the Classics” project and find out how to submit a cover yourself, click here.

    mafMOVE
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