Judging a Book by Its Cover


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How often have we told our students, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Until a student really learns to trust my book recommendations, I may hold off on mentioning a timeworn favorite. It is such a pleasure when a beloved book is reissued with a more appealing cover.

A new cover makes it easier to spark interest in a larger audience. Last year, 1977 Newbery Award winner Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor was reprinted in celebration of its 40th anniversary. I had a copy on the library shelf that students tended to overlook unless I had an opportunity to do a personal sales pitch. I ordered the new book as soon as I saw it was available. Once I received the new copy, I put it on my new-books display counter with a shiny “NEW” sticker. The book was immediately checked out and has seen a resurgence in popularity.

With a limited budget, it may be difficult to justify purchasing a duplicate copy of a book that is no longer in demand. However, when a book we know to be high-quality literature sits on the shelf year after year, it makes sense to splurge to attract new readers to a wonderful reading experience. 

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