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The Skin I'm In

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The Skin I'm In [Paperback]

Sharon Flake
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 31, 2007 12 and up 670L (What's this?)

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?

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8-Seventh-grader Maleeka Madison is miserable when a new teacher comes to her depressed inner-city school. Miss Saunders evidently is rich, self-assured in spite of the white birthmark across her black skin, and prone to getting into kids' faces about both their behavior and their academic potential. Black and bright, Maleeka is so swamped by her immediate problems that Miss Saunders's attentions nearly capsize her stability. The girl's mother has just emerged from a two-year period of intense mourning for her dead husband, during which time her daughter has provided her with physical and moral support with no adult assistance. At school, Maleeka endures mean-spirited teasing about the darkness of her skin and her unstylish clothing. She seeks solace in writing an extended creative piece, at Miss Saunders's instigation, and also in the company of a powerful clique of nasty girls. Told in Maleeka's voice, this first novel bristles with attitude that is both genuine and alarming. The young teen understands too well that her brains aren't as valuable as the social standing that she doesn't have. In the end, she is able to respond positively to Miss Saunders; she also becomes socially anointed through the affections of the most popular boy in the school. This message rings true in spite of the fact that Maleeka's salvation isn't exactly politically correct. Young teens will appreciate Flake's authenticity and perhaps realize how to learn from Maleeka's struggle for security and self-assurance.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Sharon G. Flake won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award for her first novel The Skin I'm In and is a two-time Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book winner. Beloved by children and adults, critics and booksellers, librarians and teachers, she is the author of a middle-grade novel and five books for young adults that have sold more than half a million copies. The mother of a college-age daughter, Flake writes full-time from her home in Pittsburgh.

To learn more about Ms. Flake, please visit her at

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (July 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423103858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423103851
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All young African American women should read this. January 14, 2001
My twelve year-old neice read this book and told me how much she liked it. She had just entered middle school and we all know at that time in your life how fragile your self-esteem can be. Miss Flake did a fine job describing a situation that is prominent in some African American communities, intra-racial division and hatred. It was good Maleeka had a role model and mentor in her teacher because a lot of girls do not get that encouragement. Indeed peer pressure and the need to fit in can bring disastrous results. What Maleeka finally learned is that she was loved despite what she THOUGHT she looked like and that she had so much to offer in her writing and character. I look forward to more of this writer's books.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Skin I'm In March 7, 2003
A Kid's Review
Imagine you are an African American girl going to school everyday, getting picked on by another African American girl because you don't have a lot of money so your family makes your clothes. But, that doesn't bother you a lot. So you live everyday life. Well, that happens in the book The Skin I'm In a novel by Sharon G. Flake.
Maleeka Madison is a very honest and powerful girl. Her teacher is Miss Saunders. Miss Saunders has marks on her face so kids don't really "like" her, but she is really kind. Maleeka grows strongly to love herself and how she looks and dresses. A girl named Char is always picking on Maleeka, for the way she dresses.
The main event in The Skin I'm In is when Maleeka comes to school with new clothes and her hair done all nice and she looks beautiful! But, Char thinks that she is only trying to act "cool", so she can fit in. Char thinks that she doesn't look "cool" enough. I think that she is saying that because, she is jealous. Char is kind of a bully to Maleeka because she shouldn't just make fun of her for a reason Maleeka just can't help.
My opinion about this book is I enjoyed it and I hope to read it again because, it shows how other people go on with their every day life, and how they think that the are not pretty and how they grow to love themselves more than ever.
The author of this book is trying to show you that you don't need to look "cool" to be "cool". Just to act yourself and you will be happy.Don't worry about what people think, just worry about what you think! And he is also trying to show you; you are BEAUTIFUL no matter what so love your self.
I think that any one that is having a hard time because they are getting picked on all the time should read this book because it will show you how to love yourself and how you are not theonly one that is different;every one is different! Hope that you read this book! I know I will again!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A Kid's Review

I never been teased about my skin color, but I feel like I know a girl who has Maleeka Madison, is the main character in the book call The Skin I'm In, by Sharon G. Flake (1998). Maleeka Madison is a 13 year old girl that gets teased about how extremely dark her skin color is and how she dresses. Maleeka meets a teacher name Ms. Saunders who teaches her how to love who she is and how to deal with bullies. MCclenton Middle school is where Maleeka attends that's where she gets all her problems from with a few kids. John-John, Char, and the twins Raise and Riana. Hose are the few kids that give her the biggest problems John-John makes up songs about her skin color. Char runs over, she scares her to deaf, and the twins just do whatever Char tells them what to do.

The Skin I'm In is a book based on life lessons. Like Maleeka always had a problem about how she was born with dark skin color. Until, one day she mat a teacher name Ms. Saunders. Ms. Saunders also has the same problem as Maleeka she gates teased because she has a birthmark on her face. The students call her a two-faced monster; they tell her she is half alien. Maleeka and Ms. Saunders get along very well. This book can really teach teenage girls some lessons like don't down touch yourself and don't let other people down talk you. Don't ever feel bad about your skin complexion or how you dress because if you do you are letting other people run your life.

Maleeka had got so tired of people talking about her so she did something that will prove to her school she can be very hard. She did that just to take the attention off her skin color, and the attention focus on how tough she is. I will give this book five big stars.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Reality Bite? January 24, 2002
A Kid's Review
Maleeka Madison is often told that she is too black. Is this possible? This modernized novel, The Skin I'm In written by Sharon G. Flake, tells the story of a young girl in junior high school who deals with the problem of trying to get people to respect her and like her but she doesn't even like or respect herself. But that's not the only problem she has. Maleeka has to realize that what people think is not always right and true. Will a new English teacher who has dealt with the same problems get through to Maleeka? Will she sacrifice her personal and academic record for people who aren't even her friends?
The Skin I'm In is a good book because teenage girls can relate to the characters. The author made characters behaviorally similar to the average, middle-lower class, African-American, public school attendants, that are students. You should read this book because it's interesting to young readers and they contain situations that happen in a teen's everyday life. Maleeka Madison, who is the main character, attends a school where there are regularly fights and students skipping class to smoke cigarettes. This is one of the many things teenage girls do in everyday life. Sharon G. Flake knows about kids these days and how they act and talk because in the book the kids talk like my friends and I would. She made the dialogue understandable by teens by using slang and terminology that teens today use. If you are a reader who loves realistic books I recommend this book to you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Found interesting the grammar used throughout the book.
Published 15 days ago by JC Glez M
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and insightful
Wonderful portrait of the conflicts of being an adolescent and particularly a person of color.
Published 1 month ago by Regina
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Coretta G. Lockhart
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great book!
Published 1 month ago by Shawn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent. Good price and arrived sooner than expected.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Daughter really enjoys this story!
Published 1 month ago by Renée
3.0 out of 5 stars There were a number of reasons why I liked the book
I read the book because it was an assignment for our class. There were a number of reasons why I liked the book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sam Langston
4.0 out of 5 stars There were a number of reasons I liked the book

The Skin I’m In”
Book Review

My class read this book for a class assignment. There were a number of reasons I liked the book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kenny yielding
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I liked everything about this book. I think it's a good read for young women who are shy, are followers, are being bullied, or can be easily mislead.
Published 1 month ago by katfrecol
5.0 out of 5 stars Like the character in the book I was also struggling ...
I first read this book when I was in middle school. Like the character in the book I was also struggling with accepting my dark skin. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rece
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