Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dear Bloomsbury Children's USA

My letter to Bloomsbury Children's USA:

I am writing to express my shock, disappointment, and outrage over the cover of Justine Larbalestier's latest novel, Liar.

I think you made a huge mistake choosing a White cover model to represent a character who is Black. Liar is marketed to young readers. What kind of message are you trying to send to them with this cover? That there is something wrong with the fact that many of them do not have white skin? That those of them who are not White do not matter? That there is something wrong with being Black? Shame on you.

What made this entire matter worse was the lame excuse offered by your editor Melanie Cecka. Yes, the main character of the book is a compulsive liar, but Ms. Larbalestier has made it clear that the character was not lying about her race. And even if she had been lying about her race, why automatically assume that she is White? She could have been Latina. She could have been Asian. She could have been Native American. She could have been so many other things. Why choose a White girl for the cover?

Ah, yes. Because you think that books with people of color on the cover don't sell. If this is true, why aren't you doing something to change it by offering beautiful and irresistible book covers with people of color?

I will not buy any books from Bloomsbury Children's USA until this mistake has been rectified. Change the cover of Liar. Apologize to the public instead of giving lame excuses.

I am so disgusted.

13 comments:

Nymeth said...

Well said, Tarie. I wish they at least had the decency to apologize.

MissAttitude said...

This was an awesome post! I so agree. I really want them to not just apologzie, but change the cover.

Tarie said...

When I first heard about a publisher using a White girl on the cover of a book with a Black main character, for a minute I felt small, very small, because I am not White. Because the natural reaction is, "Why???" I am truly baffled, Nymeth.

Tarie said...

Hi, Miss Attitude! I'm so angry. I don't know what else to do. :o( But I will be buying a lot more books with people of color on the covers.

beth said...

I am so with you (actually posted on the same topic this morning).

Justine has said she really wants a Black model for the paperback--I am PRAYING that Bloomsbury does the right thing with that!

(And I'm so with you--the editor's excuse was LAME.)

Color Online said...

Thank you, Tarie.

I am so angry, so disgusted that I have been sleepless thinking about how much I want Bloomsbury to feel my fury.

I will actively campaign against this publisher until they offer a real apology AND corrective action.

Carleen Brice said...

I'm gratified that so many people are up in arms about this. That's exciting to me. I think the old ways are dying and when you do something STOOPID like this, you will be called on it. That makes me glad! Though of course, it's depressing that people still do stuff like this and then look around like "What? What'd I do?"

Vasilly said...

You wrote a great post. I'm with Color Online. I won't be buying anything from Bloomsbury until the cover is changed and they give the public and their customers a sincere and honest opinion.

Color Online said...

I should add, Color Online will purchase an Aussie edition for our library. We don't want to punish the writer.

Tarie said...

Thanks, everyone! I cried when I first found out about it. I literally broke down. Then I got so MAD. A lot of expletives in Filipino were involved...

Yes, let us buy the Australian edition of the book. :o)

Color Online said...

Tari,

You sound like me. Thank goodness no one heard our colorful language. lol

We will wait till we can get an Aussie copy.

Join us for our August Color Me Brown Challenge.

Marjorie said...

Brava! I'm working my way backwards so have already ready the update...

Tarie said...

Thanks, Marjorie. :D