Archive for August, 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Have you noticed that Bloomsbury is putting its name right on the front cover these days? My memory is unreliable – I could very well be wrong… but I can’t think of any other children’s/YA publisher that does this on their hardcover books. Does it have something to do with recent controversy? Curious, indeed.

For example (white arrows are mine):

The Battle of the Sun by Jeanette Winterson (May): Jack embarks on a journey to save London from a magician trying to turn the city to gold, but first he must release a dragon and rescue seven kidnapped boys who will help Jack finish his quest.
No and Me by Delphine de Vigan (August): Precocious thirteen-year-old Lou meets a homeless eighteen-year-old girl on the streets of Paris and Lou’s life is forever changed.

Guns Up, Bows & Arrows Down

Posted in book covers, Statistics, trends on August 17, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Check out the Trends in Fantasy Cover Art at The most common item,  appearing on 60 covers – Swords. Staying strong – Dragons. On the decline – Castles… And make sure to look at part 2 for an assessment of the “changing fashion in urban fantasy.”
Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for the link.

The Garden of Broken Book Covers

Posted in book covers, older book covers, people of color, trends on August 10, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Constantly on the lookout for how people of color have been represented on book covers over the years, and being in the midst of a weeding (for non-librarians, that means getting rid of old books that nobody takes out anymore) project, I came across this one – Garden of Broken Glass by Emily Cheney Neville (Delacorte 1975). Here is a book which does not include “African American” as a subject (most books that include African American characters seem to). Nothing on the jacket mentions African American characters. Yet here they are in this cover illustration by Jerry Pinkney.

Remember – this is the 70s. It’s my impression that, in that decade, we were far more advanced in representing people of color on books. Even if – as in this one – the subject matter did not focus on color as subject matter (message: regular people come in all colors). In the glitzy 21st century, are we taking giant steps backward?
I fear we are.
Anita Silvey, in Children’s Books and Their Creators (Houghton Mifflin 1995) said this of the book:

Garden of Broken Glass uses shifting viewpoints to examine a group of lower-class multicultureal teenagers. Some readers may find Neville’s use of dialect in the novel to be inauthentic, but it remains a thought-provoking book.

On the positive side, in this century we (or shall I say – publishers) may have gained sensitivity in the way those characters are represented in the text itself?

Garden of Broken Glass: Unable to work out a satisfactory relationship with his brother and sister and cope with their alcoholic mother, a young boy finds solace with neighborhood friends and in his relationship with a stray dog. (What are the Library of Congress subject headings?: Family problems. That’s it. Just family problems.)

The Soon-to-be Lost Art of Book Covers?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 by Jacket Whys

A coworker sent me this interesting article by James Bridle today. Food for thought…
In the comments: “While the idiom of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ retains its truth, consumers nonetheless appear to be buying books mostly with their eyes.”
I like that image. Buying books with your eyes. What happens if we can’t do that anymore??

Random Strangers

Posted in book covers, people of color, stock photos on August 1, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Just a quickie here – I was catching up on my blog reading and came across this posting called “Beautiful Portraits of Random Strangers“. The very first thing I thought:  why aren’t book covers using these faces? (Or faces like them…) REAL people! Aren’t they gorgeous?