Here are 10 books to use as spring boards for discussions about skin color. They range from picture books to young adult titles. Hope they help.
The Skin You Live In By Michael Tyler, David Lee Csicsko, (Illustrator) Chicago Children Museum, 2005
This picture book uses rhyme to celebrate the range of skin color and the fact that children are simultaneously unique and similar.
Skin Again By bell hooks, Chris Raschka (Illustrator) Jump at the Sun, 2004
Another good title to discuss differences in skin color but honor that what’s inside is what counts.
Shades of people By Shelley Rotner, Sheila M.Kelly Holiday House, 2010
Echoing the above titles in theme, this title uses photographs to show that skin is a covering that comes in all different shades, even within a family. Yet we have more in common when we move past these external differences.
Daisy and the Doll By Michael Medearis, Angela Shelf Medearis, Larry Johnson (Illustrator) University Press of New England, 2005
While this story is 100 year old Daisy Turner’s memory that she recounted about her experience growing up in Grafton Vermont in the 1890’s, the emotions and issues of what it feels like to be different and face racial prejudice are no different today. Click here to find fascinating information about Daisy’s experience on the Vermont Folklore Center’s website.
All the Colors we are: the story of how we get our skin color By Katie Kissinger, Wernher Krutein (Photographer) Redleaf Press, 2002
A useful resource to teach children the environmental and hereditary aspects of melanin, or skin color.
The Skin I’m In By Pat Thomas, Lesley Harker (Illustrator) Barron’s Educational Series, 2003
This nonfiction title provides young children with examples of racist acts while encouraging children to embrace differences.
Racism (Let’s Talk About) By Bruce Sanders Creative Co, 2005
As the title indicates, the book explains how skin color can be cause for unfair treatment. It also suggests that we can combat racism if we work together.
YOUNG ADULT / ADULT
The Skin I’m In By Sharon Flake Hyperion Books, 2007
This awarding YA title is great for older audiences. The thirteen-year-old heroine, Maleeka, doesn’t like being dark skinned because everyone at school makes it a problem. Befriending a bully doesn’t help. She has to learn to love herself and the skin she’s in. Click here to see what one school has done with this profound text.
Face Relations: 11 Stories about seeing beyond Color Marilyn Singer (Editor) Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004
This YA collection explores issues of diversity, racism and ways to move beyond with well known authors such as M.E Kerr and Joseph Bruchac.
Black Like Me By John Howard Griffin Wings Press, 2011
Though it is 50 years old, this adult or young adult title is not to be missed. It explores the issue of racial injustice after a white writer darkens his skin and spends time in the American South. Click here for Smithsonian’s view of how the book has stood the test of time.