Do Judge a Book by its Cover (Someone Worked Really Hard on it)

We shouldn’t judge people based on how they look. We all know this. I know that I should not judge that girl for wearing high heels to the farmer’s market. I know I want to, but I know I shouldn’t. And I LOVE being wrong about that girl and learning that she shares my affinity for The New Yorker and South Park.

However, the metaphor about book covers never really worked for me because I just love book covers so much. I love book covers so much, that sometimes I go to the book store or library and pick out a book JUST based on its cover. It’s a fun experiment. And more often than not if I love the cover, I love the book.

Publishers and graphic designers put a great deal of time and energy into deciding just how that cover is going to look and it must be pretty frustrating for them to hear time and time again that we shouldn’t judge the book based on the cover! Now, I’m not saying you can learn EVERYTHING about a book from its cover, but its job is to draw you in, pique your interest and essentially sell you on the book.  So go ahead and judge it! That’s what it’s there for!

Whenever I hand out a new book in my class, we always discuss the cover before we discuss the book. We talk about the title, the placement of the words, the author’s name, and the art if there is any.

Penguin By Design  is one of my favorite books on this subject. When discussing covers with my students, we always take a look at this wonderful book. It’s filled with so many interesting and beautiful covers as well as the history behind them.

Once we’ve finished a book, we always go back and look at the cover again and discuss our assumptions versus our actual knowledge of the text. We obviously have varying opinions about what covers we like and don’t like, but we always all agree that we HATE when publishers use the movie poster of the film adaptation as the book cover and slap that silly sticker on there that says “Now a major motion picture!” Now, I love movies, and I know they hope it will sell more copies, but come on. COME ON. I sometimes wish instead the stickers said, “This is a book!”


Finally, check out this AWESOME website Out of Print Clothing that one of my students showed me! It has some of my all time favorite book covers printed on cute, comfy tees :



Oh, and happy judging!