Cover Change

As you may have already discovered if you read Publisher’s Weekly‘s “Children’s Bookshelf,” Bloomsbury is rejacketing the hardcover edition of Liar. My wish came true much sooner than I expected. Thank you to everyone who expressed your concerns. Thank you to Bloomsbury for listening.

As soon as the jacket is final, which should be soon, I’ll be posting it here. Yes, I was involved in the cover design process.

I am delighted that my post about the original Liar jacket got some traction. But everything I said there had been said many times before by authors and bloggers of colour. Whitewashing of covers, ghettoising of books by people of colour, and low expectations (reflected in the lack of marketing push behind to the majority of those books) are not new things. The problem is industry-wide.

I’m seeing signs that publishers are talking about these issues, and I’m more hopeful for change than I have been in a long time. However, as many people have been saying, we consumers have to play our part too. If you’ve never bought a book with someone who isn’t white on the cover go do so now. Start buying and reading books by people of colour. There are so many wonderful books being published right now, such as Coe Booth’s Kendra and M. Sindy Felin’s Touching Snow. Color Online is a wonderful place to find more suggestions as are all the blogs linked to in this paragraph.

Happy reading.

PS If you’re too broke to be able to buy any new books right now don’t forget about your local library. Or you could enter this contest to win A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott.


  1. Folklore Fanatic on #

    I am so, so happy about Bloomsbury’s decision, and I am confident I will be able to order a few U.S. copies of Liar for my friends and not have to special order the Australian version on the Internet.

    Congratulations, Justine. I am thrilled!

  2. Sarah Rees Brennan on #

    I am more pleased than I can say. I also just bought Kendra, and I can’t wait to read it!

  3. Pixelfish on #

    Excellent news.

  4. A.S. King on #

    This news has made my day. I’m so glad this issue got the attention it did. Kudos to you for saying something about it even after you’d been told there was nothing that could be done. And Kudos to Bloomsbury for listening.

  5. Amy on #

    I am so glad they’re doing the right thing and fixing this. I’m not happy you were struck with the first cover, but I’m really glad this issue is being forced into the light and dealt with. I can’t wait to buy the book- with a cover that reflects its contents.

    Before I saw this post, I was inspired by the discussion of the novel, and ended up putting this alternate “Liar” cover together from the promo info I could find on your site (and from lots of cardstock):

  6. Joey (in SF Bay Area) on #

    Yow! Congratulations! I must admit I did manage to get a copy of the ARC primarily to show my mom her name (I have yet to read it). Now it’s even more of a collector’s item!

  7. Laura Atkins on #

    What an surprising outcome, and I’m thrilled that Bloomsbury admitted they made a poor decision in the first place. I’ve got a conference paper all written and ready to deliver at the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL) conference happening this weekend in Germany. The theme is children’s literature and cultural diversity. Now I’ll have to revise, which is great! This gives some hope in answering the question of how to change a publishing industry that is institutionally aimed at white readers. Congrats! And thanks for speaking out.

  8. Carrie on #

    I was so incredibly happy to hear about this! But what I’m most excited about is that nothing will stand between this phenomenally amazing book and the reader! I can’t wait to shove it into the hands of every reader I know!

    Yay Justine!!

  9. MegSpencer on #

    That’s fantastic, congratulations! And good job to Bloomsbury for stepping up and doing the right thing!

  10. MissAttitude on #

    I’m cheesing so hard right now! Congrats Justine! Hopefully, the dialogue that this controversy stirred up will continue and people will continue to expand and diversify their reading habits. You rock and so does the cover!

  11. Zetta Elliott on #

    Justine–*you* are the outstanding model in this scenario; who’s on the cover of the book *does* matter, but this entire conversation would not have been possible without YOU providing some much-needed transparency with your honesty and dismay around Bloomsbury’s decision. Thank you again for sharing the spotlight and reminding folks that this is the “same old, same old” for a lot of us who deal with marginalization in the publishing industry every day…

  12. Julie Polk on #

    Wow. WOW. I’m amazed. Congratulations! I’m in the middle of applying to be a mentor for a program that pairs women writers with teenaged girls in NYC, and this whole conversation has given me some amazing resources to share with my mentee, assuming I’m fortunate enough to be selected. For that, add me to the chorus of thanks I know is bound to follow.

  13. Rene on #

    Good golly, Amy, that cardstock cover you made is awesome.

  14. Shalonda on #

    This is wonderful news! I’m glad Bloomsbury stepped up and made this decision.

    A million thanks to you for speaking out for what is right.

  15. Lizabelle on #

    That’s wonderful news, Justine. Thanks for your part in it, and let’s hope that the conversation can continue and that publishers are more aware of this issue in future.

  16. susan on #


    You rock. And I am a broke sister. That didn’t stop me from going to my library and looking for your work, and I went to my book trading site and requested what I could. And I’ve put away a few dollars for our copy of Liar. At Color Online, we walk the walk.

    You’ll be on our shelves.

    Thank you!

  17. alaska on #

    this is so awesome, congrats!! and yay, bloomsbury – will DEFINITELY be buying this in HD, and i usually prefer my YA in paper, but this is something i must support. AWESOME!!!

  18. Marlee on #

    This makes me so happy! The cover looks great and I know I’ll be buying Liar and telling all my friends to as well. It’s great that when there’s a problem, you can speak out in a calm, well-thought-out manner and something can actually be changed!

    As for the whole “black books don’t sell” theory… we’ll be proving that wrong very soon.

  19. green_knight on #

    That is fantastic news. Consumer power win! Let’s hope this starts a trend.

  20. Shveta on #

    Marlee–damn straight. 😀

  21. Laura Atkins on #

    If anyone is interested, I’ve posted the paper I wrote about white privilege in children’s publishing here (including comments about the LIAR cover):

    I would really appreciate any thoughts on comments on the blog entry linked to the essay. The more people who talk openly about this issue, the higher the chances that things will improve. Thanks again to Justine for helping bring this always burbling issue to the surface.

Comments are closed.