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In this article, I explore the various kinds of book covers that exist to see if a metanarrative can be discerned. I also wish to question the degree to which the various covers indicate, inscribe, or otherwise represent cultural values that might be problematic. In a basic and general sense, my intent is to investigate what symbols are actually represented on the dust jackets. What meanings do they foreclose or 'cover' over? What messages might they send? This article highlights and describes a series of textbook covers, from over one hundred that have been provided to me by various students, colleagues, and friends. Accordingly, this is not an exhaustive review of book covers. I am analyzing what I have been given with the intention of analyzing the symbols, meanings, and pros and cons of using book covers in schools. Ultimately, this article questions the role teachers play in promoting, wittingly or not, commercialism in schools.


Published in Educational Studies, vol. 37 no. 3 (2005), pp. 255-266.