Monday, November 06, 2006

Skin Again

by bell hooks, illustrated by Chris Raschka. I always Google books that I am reading to see what other people are saying about them. Then I always go to Amazon to read the reviews. If you scroll down below the basic information you can see what other similar books people are buying and then they list the School Library Journal and Booklist reviews. I always learn something interesting about the book or the author this way. I also look for links to the publisher’s author page for more information.

In reading the reviews on Skin Again my attention was caught by the descriptions of the way Raschka’s illustrations back up and expand on the text. This is a lovely book about how we are all complex individuals under our skin. hooks (who spells her name with no capitals) says:
If you want to know who I am
you have got to come
Be with me
inside the
me of me,
all made up
of stories present, past,
some true to life
and others all
fun and fantasy,
all the
I imagine me.
The illustrations start out showing children of various hues looking more or less normal, in regular clothing. As the verse progresses you begin to see a patchwork of designs and symbols replacing body parts and growing increasingly complex and interesting. The faces are drawn simply but show real expression in features and hair styles. The more you study these pictures the more you see to think about and discuss. The text is poetic and musical. I find myself reading it over and over and getting more and more into it. I can see primary grade children enjoying it in just that way, and older children using it as a jumping off point for discussion and writing. It presents race and ethnicity as a fascinating and beautiful feature of being human. It gently invites us to move deeper into knowing and celebrating our individuality and our community. hooks dedicated this book to “all the joy of the love community – to knowing each other from the inside!” Her book is a wonderful vehicle to start that journey.

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Alkelda the Gleeful said...
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Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Are you familiar with Everywhere Babies? I like how it shows all sorts of different families in a matter-of-fact way. (I deleted my previous comment because I messed up the link.)