Happy in Our Skin
Written by Fran Manushkin; illustrated by Lauren Tobia
Candlewick Press, 2015, Grades PK-1
This book talks about everyone’s differences. Their skin color, hair color, birthmarks/freckles vary from person to person. It shows that it’s okay to be different from other people. Everyone is different, and that’s what makes you, you. She makes children look at other people’s differences and accept them. No person is the same. It doesn’t matter if someone is a different color than you, they are still a person; they just look different. They are who they are, and you are who you are which makes everyone unique.
The author writing style is simple enough for younger children, even though there are a few harder words. A child could sit down and read the book with very little help. The author uses onomatopoeia in the book. It makes the text more interesting for the reader. Fran Manushkin also uses rhyme throughout the book. She uses an ABAB form. Sometimes both A and B rhyme and other times only one of them rhyme. It varies throughout the book. The rhyme scheme makes the book flow and easy to read. Another element that is in Manushkin’s text is descriptive words. She makes the words come to life with the amount of descriptive adjectives. For example, she says, “cocoa brown, cinnamon, and honey gold” to describe the different skin colors, and “Ginger-colored babies, peaches and cream, too” when describing hair color. This makes the reader compare skin and hair color to something dealing with food and spices instead of just saying color. This makes the book much more captivating and fun to read. The reader enjoys getting these types of mental pictures and comparing them to what she is talking about. The author does a very nice job of this.
The illustrations enhance the words by giving the audience a visual to the beautiful text. Each picture shows something different and adds to the story. They show all the differences that the author’s words tell the audience. People of all sizes and colors and all the different cultural backgrounds are illustrated in the book. They are all drawn together, interacting with each other. It shows the audience that even though everyone is different, we all can accept each other and our differences and be happy. Being comfortable in your own skin is important and depicted in the book. The illustrations also show children in wheelchairs, glasses and from different cultures. This shows the reader many more differences that can be around them. We all come from a different background and that is okay. In the illustrations, all the people look happy. This makes children think about acceptance and not judging others just because they are different.
I would recommend Happy in Our Skin to other people. This book is a very good and easy read for young children. There are a few hard words in it, but overall it’s suitable for younger children in kindergarten or first grade and anyone who enjoys a good picture book. The words are captivating and the pictures draw the audience in. It shows the reader that being different makes you who you are and the importance of acceptance. Throughout the book, the illustrations focus on people accepting one another for who they are. This gives the message to the reader that you are different and so is everyone around you. Since we are all different, why not accept those differences and not judge others based on those differences.
Reviewed by Carley Straley