Book Review: The Skin You Live In

Author: Michael Tyler
Illustrator: David Lee Csicsko
Interest Level: Ages 4-8

About This Book: With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children's activities for all cultures, such as swimming in the ocean, hugging, catching butterflies, and eating birthday cake are also provided. This delightful picture book offers a wonderful venue through which parents and teachers can discuss important social concepts with their children.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: "As early as age 2, according to research, children begin to take note of differences in other people. The preschool years mark your child’s first introduction to the characteristics that have long grouped and divided humans: race, ethnicity, gender and physical ability. From the curl in her hair, to the color of her eyes and skin, to the games she prefers during playtime, your child is discovering the similarities and differences she shares with others in her world." from Teaching Tolerance. Okay, so after reading that eye opener hopefully you are thinking - YES YES YES, I need to be reading more diversity books to my kids or students! The Skin You Live In is a favorite of mine because of how skin color is described throughout the pages, "Your pumpkin pie slice skin, your caramel corn nice skin....Your butterscotch gold skin....Your chocolate chip, double dip sundae supreme skin!" What a beautiful way to celebrate and honor our MANY different skin colors. It was delightful to hear students' creativeness come out as they used foods to describe their own skin colors. When I asked them what my skin color was before I read the book - I heard, "You are white!" Afterwards, they came up and looked closer at my hands, arm, and face and exclaimed I was a peach. I appreciate picture books encouraging students to accept one another and look beyond superficial skin labels. You'll want to have an activity to go with this read. 

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