100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Cover Controversy: The Poet X

*UPDATE* HarperTeen released a statement on September 6, 2019 saying that The Poet X will now have a revised cover credit. It will include the photographer of the source image used.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo has had an incredible year. It’s been a New York Times bestseller. It’s won all the awards. Now the cover of the book is causing a stir.

It appears that the cover image was plagiarized.

Appears? Make that WAS:

This is so disappointing/maddening/illegal. Now it’s in the hands of the publisher to determine a course of action.

I’m sure reimbursing the original artist is the first step. From there I wonder what will happen. A new cover?

Whatever action takes place, from a school librarian perspective, this situation is a good reminder:

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Ouch. As a professor of illustration, we talk at length with our students about how to use reference responsibly. This cover is stunning, no doubt to the credit of the lovely “model”. Not sure what made this artist think that swiping a face online and altering it in photoshop would be okay. Shepard Fairey couldn’t get away with it. A model release form would have gone a long way in this instance.

  2. The “artist” is named Gabriel Moreno: twitter.com/Gabriel_illo (He had retweeted the epicreads article that was taken down.) He’s made no response I can find.

    The cover is still up on his website: https://www.gabrielmorenostudio.com/#/projectx-cover-book/