“The skin I’m in is just a covering. It cannot tell my story.”
I have not had a quote impact me like the one above, in quite some time. It has left me pondering about all sorts of things. Like a punch in the stomach. Then I wonder what it feels like for a child to read it.
Skin Again by bell hooks is a really special book. It reads very simply, it isn’t very long, like a piece of prose. The words/phrases are completed as you turn the pages (think Eric Carle style). The message is simple. It is just skin, it is not me, not the person I am on the inside.
The illustrations are simple, like dabs and strokes of paint to show many different children.
The main points it makes is like when the book says
If you want to know who I am
you have got to come inside
and open your heart way wide.
This is not the first book I have encountered by bell hooks, I’ve read Be Boy Buzz (a poem about all things boy) and then there is the more well known Happy to be Nappy. Bell hooks is actually just a pen name for the author. She is an amazing educator on feminism, race, gender, and a social activist.
If you would like to know more about bell, go ahead and go on Youtube and punch in her name. You will see all kinds of videos on the subjects she focuses on. This particular one on Cultural Criticism and Transformation really moved me. It is part of a series (beware that there are some clips in this video that might make it NSFW). This video and the accompanying ones speak more to adults and university students than to children, but I think it is still relevant since I believe that what we see are the results of discrepancies in childhood.
It makes me wonder who is this book written for? Is it a black book? A white book? Does it even matter? I think it is for everyone.