Roberta Pressel, Book Designer

Posted on Jan 24, 2018 in Boys Who Challenged Hitler, Moonbird & Rufa Red Knots


“I just learned that Roberta Pressel, the Macmillan designer who designed covers for my books Moonbird and The Boys Who Challenged Hitler, passed away. Roberta put her heart and soul and brilliant eye into all of her work. Her conscience too.

I remember she told me that she had been initially uncomfortable the assignment to create a cover for The Boys Who Challenged Hitler because she didn’t want to draw attention to Hitler in any way. But before declining the assignment she gave it a go. The result was spectacular, even by her standards. Roberta was a joy to work with.

Young people’s literature has lost a bright star.”

—Phillip Hoose



  1. I have a copy of The Boys Who Challenged Hitler right here in front of me. I first read it in 2015 and didn’t know anything about the illustrator but have always thought the cover was tremendously well-executed and really did justice to your work. Thanks for sharing this tribute. And, btw, I’m a great fan of the book!

    • Thank you for reading the book and this grand comment about the cover. It is amazing to watch a book transform from a Word Doc to an object that people want to take off the shelf and open. Our eyes drift past so many titles in a bookstore. One’s eyes never drifted past a Roberta Pressel cover, however.

      • I didn’t realize you’d commented– WordPress didn’t notify me! Thanks for answering! It sounds like you were involved in the publication- are you an editor or an agent?

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