Bloomsbury promises a new cover for the US edition of Jaclyn Dolamore’s Magic Under Glass after receiving complaints that the novel’s dark-skinned main character appears white on the current US cover. (You can read our October interview with Dolamore here.) In response, Monsoon Summer author Matali Perkins is hosting a poll for booksellers, teachers, and librarians to find out how often kids read books whose covers feature persons of color compared to how often they read books that don’t.
Similarly, Little, Brown will now “adjust” the three covers of the Mysterious Benedict Society series, to portray a character described as having light brown skin more accurately. Currently, the character (Sticky Washington) appears pale-skinned on the covers.
In the midst of all this controversy, the Persons of Color Reading Challenge offers book suggestions and will give away prizes to those who reviews books about or by persons of color.
Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, a coming of age novel with a surprising time-travel plot thread, has been awarded the Newbery; Libba Bray’s Going Bovine has taken the Printz award. Myriad other recent award-winners are listed here. Winners of the Cybil Awards, for which our own Joni Sensel’s The Farwalker’s Quest is a finalist, will be announced in February.
Amazon’s Omnivoracious blog has a list of eight YA authors who “shaped the world and language of YA over the past ten years”–what they’re calling “the YA decade.” Justine Larbalestier gives her response to the list here, pointing out the dominance of white authors on the list and adding some names of her own to it.
“Hard” science fiction is hard to find in YA, so says Charlie Jane Anders in this article on io9. Anders quotes our own frequent commenter, Tanita Davis, who claims there was “a SERIOUS dearth of actual science fiction” among the Cybil nominees this year. Our own Joni Sensel will post something related to this article tomorrow here on the Spectacle.
Should agents charge a minimum fee to their clients? Chuck Sambuchino discusses a suggested plan in which an agent takes a higher commission on low advances as an incentive to take on risky books (those that probably won’t make much money). He claims this structure would help out authors whose books appeal only to a small audience, authors who would otherwise be overlooked by agents.
Giving away free books for the Kindle: “industry hypocrisy” or savvy business move? The New York Times presents the issue here and spotlights YA author Maureen Johnson, whose Suite Scarlett hit No. 3 on Amazon’s Kindle Bestseller list after Scholastic offered free downloads of the novel in order to build hype for its upcoming sequel, Scarlett Fever (out Feb. 1).
If you thought the plot of recent sci-fi movie Avatar felt familiar, you’re not alone. Check out this hilarious screenplay treatment for the film… or is it for Disney’s Pocahontas?
The Harry Potter Alliance is planning to award some amazing prizes to randomly selected participants in the Help Haiti Heal compaign. Anyone donating $100 is eligible to win a set of Harry Potter books signed by J. K. Rowling–a special item considering Rowling rarely gives out her autograph.