Update: Good news for everyone via PW. "Bloomsbury to Rejacket ‘Magic Under Glass’"
I've said this before, I will say it again.
A. Children and young people want and NEED to find themselves in their school libraries.
B. We ALL judge a book by its cover.
C. When a cover does not represent the story and the characters within, it is denying my students a vital reference point as they choose what to read.
I was subbing at a school library where I was asked by a young woman to help her find a book that had a character "like me," she said. There was no time to bring up the catalog and search because the teacher had the class on a too short time window.
I'm faster than the computer anyway.
As I scanned the stacks it seemed my only obvious choices for books with African American characters were Bud, Not Buddy, Bucking the Sarge, and The Ear, the the Eye and the Arm.
I could not see any FICTION with a character "like her." The nonfiction and biographies areas had a good selection but she wanted a NOVEL.
I frequently encounter that "how can this library not have (insert name of book I am looking for here)" feeling when I am subbing. To be fair, I don't know the whole story. Maybe books have been lost or damaged. It is also possible that the books are checked out.
There may have been some books there for her but based solely on the covers, she couldn't tell.
Book covers are a frequent topic during author discussion panels at conferences I attend. As a reader and fan, my heart goes out to authors who have very, very, VERY little if ANY (zero) control over the cover that is going to represent their work to the world.
I hear about people signing contracts without reading the fine print.
Sadly, I am used to hearing that Congress will not/cannot/refuses to read bills before they are passed in to law.
I would like to think that Bloomsbury's tumble over the cover for on Jaclyn Dolamore's Magic Under Glass is just another case of publishing-person-in-charge-of-book-covers bungling the photo pick and did not know what or who the book was about.
Alas, Little, Brown's lightened "cover" Stickys in The Mysterious Benedict Society books would indicate this is not the case. Bookshelves of Doom has compare and contrast illustrations of this phenomena.
Bookshelves of Doom has prepared a very comprehensive list of links on the latest whitewashing cover incidents and commentary. Do click over there and read all the links. They took a long time to put together.
Publishers, please, you are messing with my kids! They are looking for themselves.