Book Covers That Lie

Updated August 7, 2009: The publisher has created a new cover for the book. Author Justine Larbalestier has more information about the cover on her blog.

I wasn’t going to post anything about this because I thought the problem was better explained by others who probably have more readers than I do. Then I realized by not saying anything I could be suggesting that I don’t care about the issue at hand – which couldn’t be farther from the truth. The problem is that the book “Liar” by Justine Larbalestier has a white girl with long hair on the cover when the main character is described in the book as black with short hair. The author explains the situation on her blog.

Below are links to a few of the many bloggers who have commented on the problem with the cover and their own feelings about it:
Reading in Color
Taste of Life Twice
Color Online
The Happy Nappy Bookseller

Those of us who are white need to realize what this kind of change really means. The publisher is basically telling people of color (and mostly teens since this book is for young adults) that people don’t want to read about them. That if there is a person of color on the cover that white people won’t buy it. It matters because we need to pay more attention to what we’re reading. They say to never judge a book by it’s cover but admit it, how many of you DO judge a book by it’s cover? Not just by the skin color of the characters on the books but by what is being depicted on the cover. We all need to be working on changing this situation instead of letting things like this continue.

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4 Responses to Book Covers That Lie

  1. I think you were right to speak up on this–regardless of your stats, being out there with your opinion speaks volumes.

  2. Doret says:

    Thanks for the link, and for this post.

  3. yes–to be silent is to sanction what Bloomsbury did, so thanks for speaking out!

  4. susan says:

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks for weighing in. And as vocal as I am, my posts almost always sound like I’m talking with rocks in my mouth, just not all that articulate, know what I mean? Still, I can’t worry about impressing folks more than I care about speaking up.

    Thanks for joining CORA Diversity Roll Call. Hope to hear more from you. And stats? Until the controversy, our reader/visit count wasn’t all that high either. It’s not about popularity but speaking up.

    Thanks again.

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