Yet Another Letter, And A Quick Review

So the dust has settled in the wake of the “Magic Under Glass” kerfuffle, and I’ve written another letter. This time, the cover’s been pulled and will be changed (w00t), but Bloomsbury refused to ‘fess up to whitewashing (un-w00t). Today, I emailed them the following message:

===

Dear Bloomsbury Publishing,

Thank you for responding to the calls for a new cover for “Magic Under
Glass.” I appreciate your willingness to correct the cover so that it will
truly reflect the main character.

However, I am still troubled. Nowhere in your company’s response did I see
words to the effect of, “We did not believe that a cover with a person of
color on it would sell as many copies as a cover with a white person. That
marketing strategy, called ‘whitewashing,’ will never again be employed at
Bloomsbury. We are heartily sorry for the damage that we have done with our use of that strategy, and we will work with people of color to develop a
plan to select, cover, and market books by and about people of color.”

Your adjustment of the “Magic Under Glass” cover provides you with an
excellent opportunity to renounce whitewashing. I ask you to seize this
opportunity not just as a reader, but as a librarian who purchases all of
our library’s Young Adult titles. I can tell you that our teens love to
read books by and about people of color; your own “Liar” flies off the
shelf, new cover and all, and it happens in a community that is nearly 100%
white.

I look forward to your announcement that you will renounce whitewashing,
and to your new era of fair representation of people of color.

Sincerely,
Jessica Neiweem

===

Will it do any good? I don’t know, but I know that I’m done with silence. That’s enough to keep me writing.

In other news, I just read John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When The War Began. It’s not new to the YA world (it came out in 1993), but it’s new to me. It wasn’t a quick read, but it was a desperately engrossing one. I resented things like work and bodily functions for tearing me away from the story.

The What: The main character, Ellie, goes camping with several of her friends. When they come back, their homes are empty, and a foreign army is in charge. Their efforts to stay free and to help their captive families make up the bulk of the book.

The Good: The characters are of varying ethnicities, social classes, and levels of survival education. Their interactions keep the calmer parts of the story interesting; if you’re more the “blowing stuff up” type, keep reading, and you’ll get your explosions. The action scenes are riveting, and I’m not even into scenes like that. If you’ve read this book and liked it, there are many, many sequels. Plus, the movie’s due out this year.

The Meh: The story got slightly repetitive at times, with the numerous movements between the town and their camp. Also, does the KoC really have to be the first one to get shot? Granted, he survives, is a well-rounded character, and is the main character’s love interest, but I felt like I was watching one of those “Star Trek” episodes where a multi-cultural cast beams down to Planet Whatsit and the ensign of color gets zapped.

Hand It To: Readers of dystopias, Nancy Pearl’s story readers, reluctant readers, fans of explosions.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: