Last year, Bloomsbury published a book called Liar by Justine Larbalestier. The narrator of the story is Micah, a bi racial “nappy headed” tomboy. The first cover featured a white girl. After much controversy driven by the YA blogs, the cover was eventually changed. No real apology was issued by Bloomsbury. Now we know why. Bloomsbury doesn’t want dark skinned people on their covers. The recent Bloomsbury release, Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, features a beautiful cover. The problem? The protagonist is “dark skinned”. Read this letter from a teen on this subject.
So is Bloomsbury just trying to cater to the YA book buying public by not putting people of color on the covers of its books? Are white people the only people who buy books? Isn’t it insulting to white people to suggest that they will only buy books with white people on the cover even if the book is about a person of color? It’s certainly offensive to people of color to have the covers whitewashed.
I don’t even know what Bloomsbury is thinking but the message seems to be clear: “whites only”.
What is the appropriate response to this sort of thing? An email or letter writing campaign? Public shaming? Personal boycotts of all Bloomsbury books? Here is some contact information:
This is a list of Bloomsbury executives (white, male, old) and here is a list of contact emails. Bloomsbury Children appears to be distributed by Macmillan.
Links to other blogs:
Feel free to copy this entire post and put it on your blog (no need to give DA a link back. Just go forth and shame Bloomsbury).