While I was writing BrookLyn’s Journey I had an image of a young African-American character in my mind. I never wavered from my idea of her being a character of color. I recently had someone take photos for the cover idea. She is a young African-American girl. When I was reviewing the covers of other books, I touched on something I think I might have noticed but hadn’t paid close attention to previously.
I realized that most of the YA fiction book covers had images of white females on them. Some had boys but most didn’t have people of color. I wasn’t taken aback by it because I have lived in this country for my entire life. I know that racism exists. Sometimes it’s just a little difficult to ingest.
I think we are doing our children a disservice when we don’t highlight diversity. Our world is not all white or black for that matter. We should provide children with images of all people rather than pigeonhole them into thinking that only white females deserve to be on the cover of books and magazines. This creates a negative image about books that they might see that have persons of color on the cover.
I came across a few great blog posts about this issue. It seems most people agree and feel this is an unfair practice. We have to encourage our children to be kind, loving adults by modeling positive behavior. We need to do it in every aspect of our lives. This would be a great place for publishers to start. Take a chance and don’t assume young readers think like adults do on this issue. It’s not fair to the reader to put a white female on the cover if it is about a woman of color. If the character is of color then the cover should reflect that. It really is that simple. Kids deserve more than we have given them.
When a story is about relationships, peer pressure, bullying and abuse, the color of the character on the cover shouldn’t matter to the reader. They want to read the book for the story. The issues are relatable to all young adults. Lets open our minds and create books that ALL young adults will love.
BrookLyn’s Journey, will have an African-American teen on the cover. My next book will have a biracial teen on the cover. This teen will be Caucasian and Cherokee. I will always stay true to my characters and myself as a writer. I can only hope that my truth will result in helping the young adults that I wrote the books for. When I wrote them my readers had no color. They were LGBT young adults. Period.