The skin I'm in

by Flake, Sharon G.,

Format: Print Book 2007.
Availability: Available at 27 Libraries 31 of 41 copies
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Summary

Maleeka suffers every day from the taunts of the other kids in her class. If they're not getting at her about her homemade clothes or her good grades, it's about her dark, black skin.

When a new teacher, whose face is blotched with a startling white patch, starts at their school, Maleeka can see there is bound to be trouble for her too. But the new teacher's attitude surprises Maleeka. Miss Saunders loves the skin she's in. Can Maleeka learn to do the same?
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Whether the setting is a tough city neighborhood or a poor Hawaiian village, bullies are scary, gangs are trouble, and it's hard to be different. In both these YA novels, a middle-schooler feels like an outcast and struggles for acceptance. Be sure to connect these books with the Read-alikes column "Bullies" [BKL S 1 97]. In Flake's novel, Maleeka Madison feels like a freak in her inner-city middle school. The kids pick on her because she's "the darkest, worst-dressed thing in school" and because she gets good grades. The leader of the pack is Charlese, who pulls and pushes Maleeka into wilder and wilder delinquent behavior. A new teacher tries to help and so does a smart, friendly boy. In the end, Maleeka stands up for herself, wins the poetry contest, and likes the skin she's in. The message is overt ("Strut your stuff . . . accept yourself for who you are"), but first novelist Flake lessens the sermonizing. Funny and clever, she's honest about how mean people are, how hard it is. The characters are complex: even the cute, friendly boyfriend fails Maleeka one time when she most needs him; the teacher is vulnerable as well as strong; the bad girl's home is a disaster. The gum-smacking, wisecracking dialogue in the hallways, the girls' bathroom, and the classroom will pull readers into a world too rarely represented in middle-grade fiction. Every outsider kid will get it, every victim of class bullies. Salisbury's novel also has many scenes that take place in the classroom, and the teacher is a mentor who tries to help. Small and bespectacled, Boy Kahekilimaikalani Regis is terrified of the pack of wild "jungle" dogs that he has to confront on his early-morning paper route near his island village. His older brother, Damon, calls Boy "sissy," but at school and on the street, Damon has always watched out for Boy. Now Boy wants Damon to stay out of things: the macho challenges are just intensifying the gang warfare and the danger for everyone. Boy makes himself face the scary dogs, and he tries to get his brother to see that everything doesn't have to be fight or die. The classroom project--" Who Do You Look Up To?--is too messagey, but Boy's answer about his enemy is both tentative and realistic ("I even look up to a boy I don't like very much because I know he cares about things"). Boy's "worn-out, dirt-stained" home is loving despite the conflicts, and there's a strong sense of the rough teenage world, where one boy tries to stop the hating. --Hazel Rochman"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects African Americans -- Juvenile fiction.
African Americans -- Fiction.
Self-esteem -- Fiction.
Teachers -- Fiction.
Schools -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children,2007.
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Awards Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent, author, 1999
Description 171 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781423103851
1423103858
9780786813070
0786813075
9780756984687
0756984688
Other Classic View