The Skin I'm In

Sunday, August 7, 2011
Sharron G. Flake

This book is a must read for anyone of any age (well, 5th grade and up). All of us have been teased for being "different" at one point in our lives. This book brings home the message of struggle with security and self- assurance. The story takes place in an inner city school. Seventh-grader Maleeka Madison is constantly being teased by her classmates for being "too black" , "too smart" and her unstylish clothes. She is forced into friendships with a clique of troubled girls who use her for completing homework for them. They "accept" her into their group but Maleeka is forced to do things she does not want to do, like skipping class and smoking. A new teach named Miss Saunders who appears to be rich and self-assured, comes in to Maleeka's school and gives a lot of attention to Maleeka. Attention Maleeka does not want. Miss Saunders has a white birthmark across her black skin, and is prone to getting into kids' faces about both their behavior and their academic potential. This different looking teacher tries to convey a message to Maleeka that she should be proud of who she is and encourages her in her school work. This story examines the importance being true to who you are and difficulties a person has to endure to accomplish this. The reality is that social standing is the most important thing to many young people. When you do not have it, your life can be very difficult. Anyone who reads this book will appreciate the honesty of Maleeka's situation. The message is so powerful and in the end, uplifting.

Barb C, Youth Services

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