Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover

Here in the Young Adult section, every Wednesday is known as our Wildcard Day, which is when we do random activities.  In the past we’ve partaken in making chocolate bowls, playing SongPop, and a fantasy football draft.  But this week, we took the chance and did an activity that was a little more thought provoking and required the kids to do something absurd in the library…read!


Earlier this year while browsing for fun activity ideas, Scott came across “Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover,” which required teens to pass judgement first on the appearance of a book and then on it’s contents. Basically here’s how it went down.  First, we asked the teens to choose a book they would want to read based on its cover art.  After they filled the first part of their worksheet (found here) we had them read the inner jacket and then the first couple of pages.  If they still thought that they would enjoy this book, they put a check mark on their sheet.  If not, they put an X.  After they reviewed a book, the teens were rewarded with a piece of candy.  After they reviewed two books they got the special treat of pizza rolls.  (We expand their minds AND their waistbands! haha just kidding…). They could review as many books as they wanted.

The teens seemed to really enjoy this activity, much to my surprise.  One of the kids even told Scott that if he could look at books like that at school, he would read a lot more.  Most people would assume that after the teens got their grand prize of pizza rolls, they would clear out and go back to their computer screens.  But in reality there were quite a few kids that showed real interest in finding a book, even the ones who proclaim their objection to reading.

All in all, this activity ended up being a diamond in the rough.  Often when teens are presented with the idea of sitting down and reading, the reaction is not typically a positive one.  But if the teens are given the chance to have a little fun, they won’t judge a book by its cover.

Below are the books we used during our activities:

  • Incarceron – Catherine Fisher
  • Heist Society – Ally Carter
  • Wonder Struck – Brian Selznick
  • Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
  • Article 5 – Kristen Simmons
  • Seraphina – Rachel Hartman
  • The Alchemyst – Michael Scott
  • In the Shadow of the Lamp – Susanne Dunlap
  • The Maze Runner – James Dashner
  • Crossed – Ally Condie
  • Everfound – Neal Shusterman
  • Ripper – Stefan Petrucha
  • Starters – Lissa Price
  • Hourglass – Myra McEntire
  • Scarlet – A.C. Gaughen
  • Paranormalcy – Kiersten White
  • Truancy – Isamu Fukui
  • The Springsweet – Saundra Mitchell
  • The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater
  • Legend – Marie Lu
  • Chains – Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Faerie Ring – Kiki Hamilton
  • Take a Bow – Elizabeth Eulberg
  • Ship Breaker – Paolo Bacigalupi
  • The Unwanteds – Lisa McMann
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns – Rae Carson
  • Incarnate – Jodi Meadows
  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith

2 thoughts on “Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover

  1. Awesome idea! This sounds like a great program. It’s funny that you chose to use Scorpio Races because I love that book, but I have a hard time selling it to my teens because of the lame cover.

    • Lena, it seems that even after reading some of it, 3/4 teens said they wouldn’t continue reading it. It looks like most of them actually liked the cover. I have an easier time selling Shiver and The Raven Boys. I do, however, like The Scorpio Races. It’s cool! Maybe it just isn’t the book for Kansas teens.

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