Thursday, June 09, 2011


Editors Note on Feb 25, 2018: Please see my apology about promoting Alexie's work. --Debbie

This is the Australian cover for Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian! Wow! It does what Scott Andrews suggested yesterday in his comment to my post about the original cover and one created by a teen reader.

This cover-conversation started on the yalsa-bk listserv when Joy shared the cover the teen created. This morning (reading the yalsa-bk discussion via digest), I read Lucy's email with the Australian cover. She said that basketball isn't big in Australia, so, she didn't think a cover with a basketball would work there.

Doing a search in Google images, it looks like this cover is also the one used in New Zealand. I'm wondering if it is available anywhere in the U.S.?

Notice, too, the comment from Neil Gaiman? It says "I have no doubt that in a year or so it'll be winning awards and being banned."

In my search of covers, I also found a couple of others. This one, with the white background, is the copy I got. It is the cover used on the ARC (advanced reader copy):

This one is for the audio book:

This one, I gather, is the collector's edition. The website with this cover says it is "beautifully designed with a nifty new look that includes a foil-stamped, die-cut slipcase and 4-color interior art." 

And here's a page of that 4-color interior art:

Interesting all around...

Update, 7:20 CST, June 9, 2011

I sent out a request, asking colleagues to point me to additional covers. Thanks, Alison in the UK, for these from Amazon!

The editors for this version are Gunthild Porteous-Schwier and Ingrid Becker-Ross.  

This one doesn't list editors but there is a colon after the title, followed by "Lekturen Englisch."
I clicked on the look inside option. Inside is an "About the Author" page that is not in the U.S. editions I have on my shelf.  The text in this version is in English, but along the margins are numbers that function like footnotes to notes included at the bottom of the page.  The author's note says that Alexie was "often teased and bullied by other children on the reservation." At the bottom is a note that says:
to tease and bully hanseln, tyrannisieren
I think that language is Dutch.

I'll add other titles as I learn of them. 


Update, 5:38 AM CST, June 10, 2011

Melanie in the UK pointed me to the French cover. See the shadow image on the wall? See the feather? Suggesting his Native identity is a shadow...  It would be fascinating to collect the thoughts and decision making process of the individuals who created the new covers.

John in Illinois suggested a search of Amazon UK. I did so, and found this one. No accompanying info on language, editors, etc... [Update: 6:26 AM CST, June 10. Sarah on child_lit says the language is Japanese.]

Mary in North Carolina pointed me to another cover for the audio book:

Using WorldCat, I found the Spanish version:

I think this is German (please let me know if I'm wrong):

Here's a book talk of Das Absolut:

Update: 9:08 AM CST, June 13, 2011

Malin in Sweden wrote to point me to the cover used on the Swedish translation:

Cammie submitted a comment (below in comments) directing me to another cover for the French translation:


Mrs.Wilson said...

The UK cover is the same as the one you are as Australian.

I really like it and think it is very striking.

I Read Banned Books said...

Book Depository should list all of the international covers. Love the post!


Joy said...

Wow- it is so interesting to see the various covers. I really like the Australian cover.

Trish said...

I'm not sure what the strong colouration that mimics the Australian Aboriginal flag (earth/skin/sun)(including the iconic shape of the sun in the dually metaphorical yellow basketball/speech bubble) implies. It seems to imply that there is a commonality of indigeneity, and I think I'm uncomfortable with that. It seems to marketed at an Indigenous Australian readership.

While I do see similarities of experience across indigenous cultures, it seems to me that this implication of commonality is out-of-place, and doesn't respect the culture(s) from which the book originates.

Just my confused thoughts.

Debbie Reese said...


I had to look for the Australian Aboriginal flag to understand your comments.

For others who don't know, the top half of it (rectangular shape) is black. The bottom half is red. In the center is a yellow circle. You can see it here:

Any idea how we could find out what the Australian book designers had in mind?

Amanda K Allen said...

It's interesting that there seem to be some title differences as well. The French version, for example, seems to be something like "The first one who cries is lost" (or something like that... my French is terrible). I wonder who made the choice to change it, and why?

Debbie Reese said...

My goodness, Amanda! Thanks for pointing to the translation differences! Seems like a multi-author/researcher close reading of all the versions is in order!

Cammie said...

I also noticed the strange French French is shaky but Amanda's sense of it matches mine. There is also a different French cover at this site: .

The hanseln/tyrannisieren note refers to German, and the cover where the title begins with "Das Absolut..." is also German. The title beginning with "Dagboek" is indeed Dutch.

Kia Jane Richmond said...

Thanks, Debbie. I put a link to this posting in my En/Ed 462 Young Adult Lit class this week. We read "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" in this online class and though the issue of the covers didn't come up (though it did when I was teaching it last semester in my En 110 Good Books class). :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a fantastic post, Debbie. It is interesting to see how the culture of a country influences a book cover. The French translation is "The first one to cry has lost."

royce said...

Nice post. It shows how rich could a literature be in terms of translation.Through translating shows the rich blend of knowledge and culture in a society.Whether in Swedish translation or in any foreign language translation helps one to get acquainted with the thoughts, traditions, principles and actions of the people from the region.Learning different languages is hard but fun.We were able to grasps the culture of every languages we translate