The Hunger Games prequel cover, title revealed

The Hunger Games prequel cover raises many questions.


In the biggest bit of news since its announcement, we now have a cover for the Hunger Games prequel.

Scholastic unveiled the cover Friday morning, Oct. 4. The book’s title, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, was also announced.

Check out the cover below:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)

“This cover does an extraordinary job of capturing the conflict-both inner and outer-that lies at the heart of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” said David Levithan, editorial director for Scholastic, in a press release. “The mockingjay has returned, but at a new angle … which is very much in line with the story that Suzanne Collins is telling.”

The cover and title made their official debut on an early morning segment of Good Morning America. “Doesn’t it sound like a Game of Thrones episode?” anchor Sara Haines added after introducing the book.

There’s a lot to explore in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes cover. A mockingjay takes center stage in the artwork, as is the norm when it comes to The Hunger Games. Though whereas the original trilogy’s covers feature the mockingjay progressively breaking free of its circular bonds, the bonds are very prominent in the prequel’s cover. The mockingjay is at the center of a target in this case.

The thorny branch that the mockingjay is perched on may also be significant, as it could represent an early rosebush. Fans of the series will know that may be a nod to President Snow, who not only wears a rose at all times but grows them and uses them in psychological torment against Katniss Everdeen. The book is expected to take place 64 years before Katniss arrives on scene, so it’s possible that a younger President Snow could pop up at some point in the prequel.

As for the snake, it’s a bit harder to pinpoint its significance, though it certainly implies that the mockingjay is in danger.

Scholastic hyped up the cover ahead of its unveiling at New York City Comic Con. A massive banner teasing the announcement hung in the lobby of New York City’s Javits Center Thursday morning where it greeted first-day attendees of the pop culture convention. The banner was replaced Friday morning with the cover.

News of a Hunger Games prequel broke in June via a report from the Associated Press.

“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival,” Collins said at the time of the announcement. “The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”

At this point, there isn’t much left to wait on, other than a more-detailed synopsis of the book’s plot. Many fans believe that the Hunger Games prequel will be about Mags, one of the tributes who teams up with Katniss and Peeta in Catching Fire. The story’s timeline matches up with the 11th Hunger Games — the year that Mags won.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is currently on track to be released May 19, 2020.

Saul Marquez founded Bookstacked in 2014 and serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief. He primarily covers news for Bookstacked. He also co-hosts Bookmarked: A YA Book Podcast.

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