There was a BIG stink made, and rightly so, over the fact that, um... the main character WASN'T a white girl. She was black. Even the author voiced her respectful disappointment with the cover misrepresenting her book, and something amazing happened: The cover was changed. Here's the new cover.
So, moving on. You'd think the lesson would have been learned, wouldn't you?
You'd be wrong.
So the same publishers (Bloomsbury) come out with Jaclyn Dolamore's "Magic Under Glass."
Here's the cover:
So does that young woman match, as it says on page 96, a main character who would say "[The dress] dipped low in back and front...exposing what seemed like far too much of my brown skin."
Once again, a YA book starring a person of color is being made to look - by the cover - as a YA book about a white person.
And that's really a disservice to the story, and to the readers.
As Ari from Reading In Color put it so heart-wrenchingly in her "Open Letter to Bloomsbury Kids USA,"
Do you know how sad I feel when my middle school age sister tells me she would rather read a book about a white teen than a person of color because "we aren't as pretty or interesting." She doesn't know the few books that do exist out there about people of color because publishing houses like yourself, don't put people of color on the covers.
The upside? This publisher responded to the public pressure and shame of what they did once, by changing the cover for "Liar." We should raise our voices along with Ari and many others, and express how important it is (to all publishers) to not white-wash the ethnicity of the characters when they design their covers.
Now here's the breaking news: Bloomsbury just announced "Bloomsbury is ceasing to supply copies of the US edition of Magic Under Glass. The jacket design has caused offense and we apologize for our mistake. Copies of the book with a new jacket design will be available shortly."
I'm glad they're gonna change this one, too, but shouldn't the lesson have been learned by now?
Wanna contact Bloomsbury and share your thoughts?
You can e-mail Bloomsbury editorial here: email@example.com
And of course, you can share what you write them here in comments!
Interestingly, this is an issue that's popping up all over the place:
Bookshelves of doom has a great piece about "The Mysterious Benedict Society" books, where the character of Sticky is brown-skinned in the inside illustrations and um, white on the covers of book #2 and #3!
And there's a new fantasy anthology by Chinese writers where they've made the cover image of the dragon a Western (read: white) dragon rather than an Asian (read: ethnic) dragon. Seriously.
Here's one more thing you can do: The lovely Nathalie Mvondo has created a petition to All Publishing Houses, letting them know that as readers, we'll still buy the books if the covers accurately represent the characters within! It's elegant and very polite, and you can sign it here.
Thanks to Ari for getting the word out and being so amazing, and Charlotte, for pulling so many great quotes from "Magic Under Glass" where the character of Nimira refers to how she looks! My appreciation to EVERYONE who joined in the protest, and also thanks to Nathalie, for letting me know about Bloomsbury's change of heart on the cover for "Magic Under Glass!"