Alternative Book Report: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Book Cover


We’ve all heard the adage “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” However, there are questions that are presented in this idea. Namely, why not? What’s missing that would make this such a bad idea? This project allows students to delve into the world of creating a cover that reflects on the book, the author and what critics have said about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, while allowing them to demonstrate their creativity in a book-centric manner. This semi-autobiographical book is ideal for this activity, as it incorporates the context of the author’s background in the assignment.

Placement in Unit:

This project would be assigned towards the end of the unit studying this novel. We would have spent time in class discussing the novel in depth, as well as trying to isolate the themes in the book.

Instructions to Students:

Once you’ve finished reading your novel, you’re going to create your own complete Book Cover/Dust Jacket (including front, back, and 2 side flaps) to the book. You should look carefully at the cover the book currently has, and think about how you could revise this and make it more accurately reflect what the book is about. Make sure your full book cover includes the following:

1.     Your own back cover summary of the book outlining the main events, main characters, setting and what you deem to be the most pertinent relevant details. Do NOT give away any of the story’s surprises, though!

2.     At least 3 critiques by professional sources, found independently online (credit will not be given for sources currently already cited on the book cover). You should include the name of the reviewer as well as the source at which you found the review.

3.     A brief summary of the author’s biography, paying special attention to those details which you feel are most relevant to this text.

4.    Your own cover art work! Make sure it differs from what is already on the book’s cover but is still relevant. If the relationship of the book’s new cover art to the text is unclear, I will ask you to write a brief explanation for why you chose it.

NOTE: You may either design your own using your own sources, sites and supplies or you may use the book cover creator on the website

Assessment Rubric (20 points total):

⃟     Book title/author (1 point)

⃟     Back Cover Summary (1-5 points)

⃟     Author Biography (1-5 points)

⃟     Cover Art Work (1-3 points)

⃟     Three Professional Source Critiques (1-2 points each)

Common Core Standards:


Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.


Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.


Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question . . . or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.


Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.

Foreseen Challenges:

Creating this book cover may be a challenge for students who have difficulty with the creative aspect of the project. Students will be encouraged to utilize the Book Cover making tool if they are having great difficulty with this project.


4 thoughts on “Alternative Book Report: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Book Cover

  1. This is a great cross-curriculum assignment too (not only for assessment purposes, I’d love to do this kind of task for it’s own sake!) — applicable to art, design, history, geography, philosophy even.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Calmgrove. And if you end up doing this for anything you read, please let us know! And although we’re current and future English teachers, we didn’t even notice that pesky misplaced apostrophe until you pointed it out. Oh the epiphenomena of the English language! -BR

  3. *P.O* I truly loved this idea, I think its great to have students think of alternative ways in which they can visualize the cover of their reading books. I think that it’s always safe to say that adolescence still judge a book by it’s cover, so having students create their own cover allows them to connect better with the reading. It also allows the student to connect better with the teacher because the teacher is able to understand psychologically how that individual students mind is working by the way they describe or draw pictures of the story on the cover. Overall, it allows students to deeply analyze what is going on in the story and demonstrate their creative abilities.

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