Browse Exhibits (1 total)

Why Book Covers?

Brothers in Hope- The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan .jpg
Click the image to the left to see all book covers. 


UNICEF considers the resettlement of the Sudanese refugees in America one of the most successful resettlement projects. The journey, struggle, and triumph that these men went through is a storyline that has been depicted in movies, hundred’s of news reports, historical fiction and non-fiction stories, graphic novels, autobiographies, and biographies. For the purposes of this exhibit, only book titles that included the term "Lost Boy" were included. Further research would lead to the same restrictions but with different mediums; movie titles that includes "Lost Boys", newspaper articles that includes the term, etc.

Focusing on published book covers in the United States creates a framework for viewing how the stigma of the title "Lost Boys" is applied and maintained. The visual elements of these covers should be viewed just as they are with no other back cover copy or explanations. They are a visual representation of the story behind the cover, but portray an immense amount of meaning all on its own. It is important to take notice of how different visual queues are repeated, utilized, and treated.

Do these common colors, text, etc., help to maintain that the characters mentioned in the stories will always be Lost Boys? What do the colors and graphic styles imply about the struggle these refugees went through? How are typographic elements and photography used to communicate the story?

We’re told to never judge a book by its cover, but when it is all that is available to tell us a story, what else are we to do? This scenario in and of itself helps maintain stigmas, stereotypical visual queues, and visual patterns. 

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