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Cover Stories

The blogosphere, or certain parts of it, have been full of the Bloomsbury cover controversy (covers with white characters for books that star people of color)! Covers that don't match the characters drive me crazy, whether it is racial, weight (a huge one in the industry), or general looks. One of the problems is that cover designers don't necessarily read the book and the authors don't get input (I don't think). When my brother's book came out (it's on the history of IQ testing) I am pretty sure he didn't get to choose the cover for the US or UK versions. And, the publishers even changed the sub-headline for various versions. Oh, and don't get me started on Disney's treatment of Pocahontas!

I am not going to rehash the Bloomsbury issue here because it has been so well covered and discussed on other blogs, but if you want to read the interesting dialogues (and I recommend that you do), check out these two blogs in particular:

Reading in Color
Black-eyed Susan's

A third blogger, Eva at One Striped Armchair also has a fascinating discussion going on that stemmed from this topic. However, her take was a little different. She called upon her fellow bloggers not to boycott, but to take a look at what they are reading. So out of curiosity I did and here's what I found...

2010 books:
Male authors: 6
Female authors: 5
White/European author/characters/setting: 4
Asian/Middle Eastern author/characters/setting: 4
Black/African/African-American author/characters/setting: 1
Latin American/Latino author/characters/setting: 1

2009 books reviewed since I started blogging:

Male authors: 15 (49%)
Female authors: 17 (51%)
White/European author/characters/setting: 19 (59%)
Asian/Middle Eastern author/characters/setting: 4 (13%)
Black/African/African-American author/characters/setting: 7 (22%)
Latin American/Latino author/characters/setting: 0 (this dismays me!)

I will continue to read what I want rather than choosing books simply because the author or content fits a certain category. However, I am often interested in books with international backgrounds and I will continue to keep record of these stats for myself. As a high school teacher librarian I want to have access to recommendations for my students (about half and half, White and Latino).

Do you have recommendations for me and my students to read? I'd love to hear them!

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