Author: Pat Thomas
Illustrator: Lesley Harker
Grade Level: Grade 3
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The Skin I'm In is a children's book about racial discrimination and how it can be very cruel to children. The book suggests that the children should notify an adult that they feel very comfortable with whenever they see racism in action. This book gives an important message about accepting all different races, religion, skin color, and etc. Another message this book is promoting is anti-bullying and how children can be very ethnocentric (which is the belief in the inherent superiority of one's own ethnic group or culture).
Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice
The Skin I'm In is a great book for teachers to read to their 3rd grade students as an introduction to racism and getting into who Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and etc were. Children will read this book and realize that being a racist person is a bad thing and they should accept all different races. The book states that everyone is more similar than we think and the color of someone's skin shouldn't determine who they are as a person. This book provides different ways children can handle situations like bullying and notifying an adult when racism is occurring in front of their eyes. What the children will be learning from this book is that everyone is equal.
Have students draw a number of pictures based on prompts provided. Ask the students to draw a doctor, nurse, teacher, scientist, basketball player and a volleyball player. Collect the drawings and tally up how many men and women were represented in each drawing. Provide the information to the children. Ask them why they think that more men were drawn in one scenario than another? Why were women drawn in another? Can both men and women do the things they were asked to draw? You can also see what color they decided to draw them and ask why they made them that color.