Judging a Book by Its Cover

I pick up a book and take a look.

For me that’s the first step in choosing a novel. I look at the front cover, read the title, consider the author. Do I know him or her? I read the back cover blurb. Does it grab my attention and make me think? I look for awards or recognitions on the front cover such as the Newbery Medal or the Canadian Library Association Award. If there are reviews on the back cover or inside, I consider them too. I begin to anticipate, predict, infer…

And then I start to read. 

We are going to be taking part in a world-wide event called the Global Read Aloud. That means I will read a book to you, just as thousands of other teachers will do around the world. Through various digital tools we will connect with other classes to share our observations.

Here is our book. Take a look:

(Click images to enlarge)
In your comment below:

  • Describe what you see on the cover–what details (evidence) do you notice and what do you infer?
  • When you read the blurb on the back cover, what do you predict and why (what evidence do you use)?
  • What kinds of feelings does this book stir up?

I look forward to reading your thoughts.



  1. Hi Ms. Smith
    I am very excited to read this book cause I can tell that it will be a very interesting and emotional journey of a kid having to leave his home and pretty much try to survive this journey. Have you read this book before? Why is the “f” in Fish capitalized in the last sentence? Is it a person or a fish? I guess I have to wait to find out!

  2. Hi Ms. Smith,
    I think that this book is about a fish and a couple of refugees, a mother, a dad, a son, and a guide. I believe they are also in a drought because the cover is all cracked. The back of the book says at the end “it never occurred to me to leave Fish behind.” Even weirder, that line has the only fish with a capital F so that is a little bit strange. Do you think that’s strange? Anyway I also don’t get any feelings, probably cause it’s a book. OK Bye …
    Sincerely, Tyler B.

  3. Dear Miss Smith,
    Can’t wait to start reading this book. I have so many questions about this book like how old is he or she and why there was a war. And the fish why did the kid take the fish, does he or she have a connection with fish, and did he name the fish Fish? I don’t know but I’m excited to find out.

    Love, Cami

  4. Dear fabulous Ms Smith,

    Judging the book at first glance it looks a little boring. Yes, I will admit that I judged when you showed it to us. But when we started taking a good look at it, I started to be interested. At first I thought the book would be about the life of this fish and his teachings and travels, but when we read the blurb, it reminded me of a book that I was read to in another class. I actually think it is the same book. But if it is not, here is what I am predicting in what the story will be about.
    The story takes place in a poor country where there is a war of religion or there is a civil war. This child and their family have been on the run for a while but can no longer stay. I am guessing that they were helping people in the village, but can longer for the drought has caused the food not to grow, as well as the soldiers are getting close to find them (I am also guessing the soldiers are not on their side)
    The child will need to go on a journey to the border of their country to the next, where they will be safe. On the way they stay in different places to keep shelter, and the child finds a fish. They do not have a lot so they thought they could save the poor fish in the small pond. But it comes to pass that they may not be able to keep what they have come to know as Fish.

    I think the book looks interesting now that I have had a good look at it, and read the description on the back.

    Thank you for reading my comment,

  5. Hello Mrs.Smith

    That book looks really interesting, from the blurb on the back and the image on the front it seems like it would be a emotional little wartime story about a family seeking refuge from drought and war. Reminds me of the crisis going on in the middle east. From a line on the back of the book, I can tell that the fish is named “Fish” this makes me wonder, what is the significance of the fish in the story? Is it a main character? A side character? Can it speak? So many questions, guess I’ll have to read the book to find out!

    Thank you for your time!

  6. Hi Ms. Smith,
    I found it interesting how you choose your book because I just read the and the first page. I will now read the back cover and look for awards because I think it is a better way to choose a than mine. I’m really interested in the book we will be reading because when we were reading the back blurb i was confused on when and where it is but I think I’ll enjoy this book.


  7. Hello Ms. Smith,

    What discovered by the cover is, the title is ‘Fish’, it has a gold fish looking fish on the front. I can also see a family or travellers, travelling across a desert with dead trees, like a wasteland or a barren looking place. What I got from the back of the book was, her family is running away from their ‘adopted home’ away from the war hence the soldiers. The drought is also effecting the town or country where their running from. The little boy or girl finds a fish in a small brown puddle, the brown puddle is most likely dirt from around town or dust. The pot was most likely strapped onto their backpacks being carried by the travellers on the cover. The feelings I get from this small blurb is interest.

  8. Dear Ms. Smith,
    I must admit the book looked a little boring at first, but when I read the back I found it looked a lot more interesting. The part about the soldiers was the part that caught my eye, because there might be a war and they may have been fleeing for a long time. I think that they will get to a place with food and water…and safety. They must be very scared I know that I would be terrified if I were in that situation.


  9. Hi Ms. Smith
    I found the cover very funny that the fish is ten times the size of a grown adult. The child and parents his must have been going through some hard times. From what the blurb said it looks like he found a friend. I hope they make to a safe place (with water). It sounds like it will be a good book.


  10. Hello Mrs. Smith!
    I like the word blurb… I think it will become a part of my vocabulary!
    I have a feeling this book will make me want to cry, scream, dance, jump out of a plane (with a parachute of course) etc. In other words it will really toy with your emotions. My favourite kind of book! The back blurb tells me this family is struggling. I’m inferring that they are in the middle of a war and are seeking help and safety away from there original home (it says “we will need to leave our adopted home forever”) . Maybe there’s something different about the fish? Maybe it causes issues for the child? Oh, now I just want to read it all!

  11. Hi Ms. Smith!
    I think I would enjoy reading this book it looks very interesting! It makes me wonder why they have soldiers there? is there a war going on? and why dose the child put the fish in the pot? why dose he bring the fish? why is the book called fish? so many questions, I have a few more why don’t the villagers leave two? and why do they need that family help on the back of the book it said they are poor, and does the drought have to do with the war? or what caused it? or what is an adopted home? Well anyways I think its a very cool book that I would love to sign out of the library once I’m done the book I’m reading right now.

    Thank you bye! ~ Brooke L

  12. Hi Ms. Smith,
    I am so excited to read fish judging the front it looks like it is about a kid and he/she’s journey with their parents and one other person. I am not sure what the animal is but it looks like a horse to me.
    When I read the back it looks like it could be a bit sad because they have to leave their adopted home. If I had to leave my home I wouldn’t like that. It also sounds like they are leaving there because of a war and a drought, which means that there is probably not enough food to eat. I wonder which country this story is based in because they say stuff about crossing the mountains.
    When he says the stuff about the fish I wonder if he keeps the fish until the border and then he has to leave it behind and on that long journey I bet he builds a strong connection with the fish and then to be broken up would be terrible.
    I think this book is going to be a sad and a adventurous book, it will probably have mixed emotions in it as well.

  13. Hi Ms. Smith,

    I agree with the way that you decide if a book is interesting to you or not. This the same way that I typically will judge a book before reading it. As for my thoughts on the book, it definitely stirs up some thoughts in my head about what it might be about, who the main character is, and what the fish has to do with the story. I am definitely excited to read this book, and I am guessing that it will be about refugees because of the back blurb and what you were talking about before you introduced us to the book.


  14. Hello Ms. Smith,

    I just finished reading the post your made and now I’m super excited to start to read this book it has really caught my interest! On the cover I noticed that there is some people and a horse in the distance walking through a hot drought area, all of the tree have lost there leaves and there is shadows reflecting the people. I also see that there is some green hills.

    When I read the blurb I found that this story is going to really good and but sad. what I predict in the story is that either a boy or girl is going to find a fish and take it along through her journey of getting away from the war that was been maybe happening in her village, when she gets takes away from her adopted family she is going to have a lot of mixed emotions which will make her more attached to the fish.
    The feelings that I’m think about in this book is that the boy or girl is going to get really attached to fish and then something is going to happen to the fish, which may make the story sad but I also feel that there is some happy moment in the book. I have a weird feeling that this book is going to have a lot of mixed emotions.
    thanks a lot,

  15. Hello Ms. Smith,
    It is amazing that thousands of teachers, around the world are doing this. When I read your new post on, the steps to finding a good book. I agree with your steps to finding the perfect book to read. Also on not to just pick up a book because you like the cover, you may not even like it. Pick a book and read the back of the book, and the cover then tack a minuet to see if you are interned. Also the book that we will be reading, I think that the fish in the book may have special powers that people want. That is probably why he/she said I never realized what we would have to face. Although that is my theory. I can’t wait to read the book to see what happens.
    From Kassy

  16. Hello Mrs. Smith

    This book looks really, really good I can’t wait until we read it. Just even the blurb on the back intrigues you. There’s so much mystery’s already. We haven’t even read a page yet. What does the fish have to do with anything in the book, and why would they be adopting a house? Is a war going on because there’s a soldier.


  17. Hello Ms. Smith,

    I agree with the way that you pick your books. I recently got a new book called Alex Rider Stormbreaker. I used almost the exact same method to see if I wanted to read it I looked at the cover then I looked at the back of the book to read a bit of the story line, then I looked at the reviews which were amazing, by the way. When looking at the front and back of the book Fish, it definitely got me thinking about what the story of the book could be and where it might take place in time and the world.
    All in all, I can’t wait to listen to you read this book to the class, I hope it’s good.

  18. Hello!
    I was reading this post, and I am very interested in this book. I can’t wait to read it as a class for the Global Read Aloud! I wrote quite a few things on the sheet you gave us. Here are some:
    1) Adopted Home- If they have an adopted home, maybe they were already illegal immigrants from another country and are fleeing again?
    2) Soldiers- There must be a war going on. I wonder what time period they are in, and who the soldiers are?
    3) Drought- If there’s no water, how could he find a fish?Maybe the drought just started?
    4) The Journey Would be Hard- What would make it so hard? Are they travelling in a storm? Are there wild animals?
    5) Border- The border of where? What country?
    6) Help US- Why did the author put that word in italics?
    7) Brown Puddle- The village might be poor, too poor to buy clean drinking water.
    8) Fish- The child must have named it. Why did he name it Fish? Did the child go to school? Maybe he had bad vocabulary because of the lack of education.
    On the Cover:
    1) Is the child a girl or a boy? How old are they? Where are they from?
    2) All the trees are dead. It could be a desert.
    3) The author chose to make the cover look worn.
    4) It looks like they have a llama.
    5) The picture has a mum, a dad, a child, and someone else. Who is it?
    6) Would the family end up having to eat Fish?
    7) ‘Cracked’ page, making it look like the cover is all dried out.
    8) Why is Fish wet? The picture shows water droplets falling off him.
    Again, I can’t wait to read this book! Thank you for getting us involved in this cool project!
    Sincerely, Chantal

  19. Hello Ms. Smith,
    I am really excited about this book from the cover and the blurb on the back of the book it looks like it will be very interesting . On the front cover I observed there are cracks it also looks like there are trees without any leaves so I think there’s been a drought. After reading the back cover I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a drought and that it has been going on going on for a long time. The reasons I think that the drought has been going on for a long time is that it says that they have to leave their adopted home that means they’ve been on the move. It also says that the child found the fish in a small brown puddle I think that that small brown puddle was at one point a lake that has dried up. I’m really curious to know why the fish so important and I can’t wait to hear what happens.

  20. Hi Ms Smith,
    This post has really made me think about judging a book by its cover. When I pick up a book the first thing I do is look at its cover, does it look good? If not I just put the book down. This post has now made me think about the book read the back, maybe even read the first few page just to see what kind of book it is. I have two questions for you, how do you pick the books for the Global Read Aloud. And are we going to do the Global Read Aloud all year.
    From Morgan.

  21. Hi Ms.Smith,
    The cover of FISH tells a story. It tells me how a family of three are trekking though the mountains, a mother, a father, and a child, a boy or a girl it could possibly be. they are in search of a better life, on without soldiers and droughts, but one of peace and happiness. but to do so they have to go to the border and they are possibly following a guide there. they have backpacks maybe full of food and little amount of water they could find in the drought. I think maybe the donkey, horse or camel, is a seat for those who can not walk much further in there journey and need a rest, and the bags on either side on the mammal there is extra food and water. the ground is dry because of lack of water and there is a fish in a small puddle. there are no leaves on the trees, and everything seems bare.

    On the back of the book it seems that a child of a family, of three seems to be telling his or her’s story about abandoning his/her only home forever. Having to hear this news must be heart breaking, and to hear the news why they have to leave, is because of all the soldiers and the drought, and not having enough to eat! they couldn’t even help the people in their village that child must be screaming inside their head, and probably would have cried and cried and cried. And the journey, the journey would be so hard crossing mountains to get the the border, but at least there would be people to help them on the other side. I keep wondering, why, out of all the chaos does this little boy or girl see this fish in a puddle and why does she/he take the fish in a pot with him/her and why did it occur to him/her to leave the fish behind? I predict that the Fish will hold some sort of secret, or is the key to something magical and the boy/girl felt some sort of connection.

    I feel so bad for this boy/girl having to leave everything they know, their village, their house, in the mean time there is soldiers coming in wherever they live and they have a drought going on, to find a better life. I feel sad that they have to trek through mountains, but feel hope at the same time knowing the there is help on the other side of the border. I also feel sad about this little fish in a small brown puddle, but also curious wondering what will happen the the fish later on in the book.

    Thanks for letting me comment,


  22. Hello, Ms. Smith
    I think that the book is about the war and a boy/girl with his family trying to get to a safe place. But they run into a fish that’s in a puddle. After the girl/boy picks it up the fish strange events start happening. Sorry that it’s not detailed.
    From Seamus.

  23. Hello Ms.Smith
    I think I will enjoy this book we are going to read.
    Why does the kid pick up the fish and put it in a pot?
    I can’t what for you to read the book to the class.


  24. Hello Ms. Smith,
    I am really excited to read this book. I wonder if there is a war going on because of the soldiers. I believe that the book will be an emotional journey for this young child and his parents. I think the fish will have a big roll in the book. I wonder why the child brought the fish with him? I wonder what country they are trying to escape and why? I think its probably the start of the drought because there is still some water. I have to many questions!

    Thank you ~ Tyler M.

  25. Hi Ms. Smith,
    I think I would enjoy reading a book like that because it make me think.
    Why Is there a fish in a puddle? Why are they leaving adopted home? Is there a war?
    How come they didn’t have a lot of food? Those are some of the questions I asked myself, I think its a cool that your reading it to us.

    – Brooke J.

  26. To Ms Smith.
    Reading the back of the book, lots of questions came to me, why are there soldiers, why do they have to leave, is there a war going on. And then they mentioned the drought, do they have to leave because of no water and because of a war? All these things came to my mind. I just can’t wait to read this book to see how it ends, it sound very interesting.
    From Morgan.

  27. Dear Ms. Smith,
    I have to admit that when I first saw the front cover of the book I thought it would be boring but then I read the backside of it and i found it pretty interesting. I am excited to read the book in class I’m just wondering why would the kid put the fish in a pot?


  28. Hi Ms.Smith,
    So far I like the book. I think the author is very secretive about where the story is based and if it is a boy or a girl. It sounds like its maybe somewhere in Africa or the Middle East.I am looking forward to reading more.

  29. Hi Ms.Smith,
    From the look of this book and reading the back of it, I think that this is going to be a war story about people leaving to go into a safer area and a long journey to get there. I think that this book might have some stress, sadness, or even happiness in it. I’m wondering if this book is about a girl or a boy? Will the fish be a big part of the story?
    Happy typing with you! Bye. 🙂

  30. Hi Ms. Smith
    I really like the book so far it’s really good I can’t wait to hear what happens next. Some of the questions that I have about the book are. How did the fishing puddle? What country do they live in? I can’t wait to hear what happens next.

  31. Hello Mrs. Smith, I’m Zoe and I’m part Mrs. Rombach’s Class in 6th grade. I absolutely like your blog. I might read that book you have on your blog! Hope to see more soon!

  32. Hello,
    I am a student from a different class blog. I like this post very much because of how much detail. It is very interesting and informative with a lot of detail. I also love the theme of your blog it is very nice.

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