don’t judge a book by it’s cover

We all do it, let’s be honest.

The colours or pictures on a book cover jump out at us, shouting: “Pick me!”

Sometimes the book is better than the cover, sometimes we’re disappointed and the initial attraction doesn’t lead to any deeper love.

And sometimes a treasure can be found under an unlikely cover. You might even find yourself passing it on to a friend, asking them not to judge the book by it’s cover.

So with this in mind, I’ve created a display for my library that challenges readers to pick a book, sight unseen. “It’s like Christmas!” I had one student proclaim as they unwrapped the book they chose so we could check it out to them. Considering they came back for another unknown book and brought a friend with them, I’d say the display is a success.

It was easy to put together and could be used during any season — both qualities are a perk for this busy librarian!

don't judge 1

I am spoiled by having a laminator at my disposal and often will laminate parts of my displays — this makes re-using elements easier and the colours don’t fade. Actually, I have a filing system for all the letters that I use. There is a large manila envelope for each letter of the alphabet and all the colors and font styles and sizes per letter go in the envelopes, which go into a hanging file system. I like mix-and-match lettering … you don’t have to worry about lining things up when they’re uneven on purpose!

For this display I used laminated circles cut from discarded books as a graphic backdrop for the title.

don't judge 2


I chose a selection of books that I would consider page-turners and would most likely be enjoyed by either guy or girl readers. I wrapped them in old newspapers– simply because they were handy and large enough to fit around a book and don’t cost anything! If I had large sheets of solid paper or non-Christmasy wrapping paper on hand, I would have used that. The secret to quick, easy, and cost efficient displays is being creative with what you have.

I also added bright colourful signs to the front of the wrapped books, encouraging students to grab them off the display. I made the signs in a Word document that was landscape orientation and divided into two columns, so that 2 signs could be made per printed page. You could also make smaller signs and fit four per page. I printed off more than I needed for the original display so that I’d have them ready to go when I needed to replace books that had been checked out.

don't judge 3

If you try this out, I’d love to hear your students’ reactions and how this idea worked for your library or classroom space!

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