(Courtesy of the Library of Congress 2016)

BECAUSE BOOKS can transport us, the likening of literature to modes of transportation has long been an apt means of comparison.

For the 2016 National Book Festival, artist Yuko Shimizu decided to float the idea of a transporting visual metaphor, and the result is an elegantly striking image.

The Library of Congress’s festival has just unveiled the design for this year’s official poster, revealing a look that’s distinctly unlike any of the event’s posters that have come before. A boat stocked with a scattering of books glides across the frame, as inviting and peaceful as an early fall day on the water. Pet and birds grace the scene, enhancing the work’s warm liveliness.

“Theme-wise, using ‘books as passports to knowledge and discovery,’ I wanted to take the characters in the image, as well as the poster’s viewers, on a journey to the unknown,” Shimizu, a New York-based artist who teaches at the School of Visual Arts, told the library. “Setting sail on a journey on a boat seemed like an appropriate visual.”

Cindy Moore, a graphic specialist at the library, guided the team that chose Shimizu, whose clients have included DC Comics (including this beautiful work) and the Gap.

The festival will take place Sept. 24 at the Washington Convention Center. The Washington Post is a charter sponsor.

Note: The Post’s Comic Riffs will emcee and moderate the festival’s “Graphic Novel Night”; guest authors will include Berkeley Breathed, Rep. John Lewis, Ed Piskor, Michael Ramirez, Noelle Stevenson and Gene Luen Yang.