Two recent cover curiosities have me perplexed for the same reason – characters described as decidedly not Caucasian in the text are presented that way on the book jacket. Both are unacceptable.

The first, concerning Jaclyn Dolamore’s YA title Magic Under Glass, has already been nicely discussed and fully linked at Abby (the) Librarian and Chasing Ray. Basically, it breaks down like this. Read the following excerpt from Magic Under Glass (courtesy of Charlotte’s Library):

“I knew how the men of Lorinar thought, what they wanted. To him, I was dark and foreign and crude.” (page 4)

And then take a look at the cover:

It ain’t a match. Not even close. A very disappointing sight to see. Be sure to visit the links above to learn more.

The second controversy is about The Mysterious Benedict Society series, and has been bothering me for a while. A Fuse #8 Production pointed it out a while back, and a post this week at Bookshelves of Doom got me riled up again. The character Sticky Washington, described in the book as having brown skin, has appeared on the covers of the three Benedict titles as such:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

No, it wasn’t enough to make him white, they made him albino with rosy cheeks. Seeing as how this has happened three times, I’m wondering why it has barely made a ripple. Is it due to the fact that it’s a book for younger readers? Probably not. Is it due to the fact that it’s an illustration rather than a photograph? There might be something to that. Or is it just because Sticky is one character out of many and isn’t the focus of the cover? The most likely explanation?