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The Skin You Live In

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With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children's activities for all cultures, such as swimming in the ocean, hugging, catching butterflies, and eating birthday cake are also provided. This delightful picturebook offers a wonderful venue through which parents and teachers can discuss important social concepts with their children.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published April 1, 2005

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Michael Tyler

23 books4 followers

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5 stars
321 (42%)
4 stars
251 (33%)
3 stars
139 (18%)
2 stars
34 (4%)
1 star
9 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 194 reviews
Profile Image for Zoraya Brown.
51 reviews1 follower
July 12, 2015
I love that I could use this book to teach children about diversity, cultures other than their own, accepting themselves the way that they are and accepting others. My favorite line from the book is, "glows when it shows that it knows we love you skin." This is another opportunity that I would use to teach children about the benefits of healthy eating (glowing, beautiful skin!) We would compare skin tones and talk about how they are all beautiful. We would also look at photos of different cultures and races and learn facts about each one, then I would have each child draw a picture of something that represents their own culture. Another activity we would do is have the children describe something that they love about themselves and then choose a peer and name something they love about them. I often go into classrooms where children are mean to each other when it comes to sharing and patience, and these types of lessons are what teach them to genuinely care for other children.
Profile Image for Ashtin Flener.
31 reviews
October 24, 2017
In this simple, yet beautiful book, Michael Tyler portrays different boys and girls of all different races doing everyday things and feeling everyday ways. On one page, he portrays an African American little girl splashing in the water with the text "hey, look at your skin" and on the next page is a Caucasian boy doing the exact same thing with text saying "The wonderful skin YOU live in". The story goes on to talk about eating ice cream, snuggling up to go to sleep at night, playing in the sun, being happy, and even being sad. What I love most about this story is that race is not talked about, but the way Tyler effortlessly gets his message across by putting kids that may look differently than the reader in relatable situations as the reader portrays the ideology that race truly is skin deep and we truly are all the one human race who face similar struggles and enjoy similar things. I also really enjoy the illustrations in this book because the author did a great job of portraying actual skin tones- there are too many children's books trying to teach diversity that incorporate blue people or purple people... This story is realistic in skin tone and I think that is a vital component. One thing, however, that could have been done better is portraying more than just Caucasian and African American. There are some illustrations that could be up for interpretation, but overall I believe that diversity is not just a 'black and white' issue- especially for our children today. I really liked the cover of this book... it is very simple and what is there truly pops off of the cover. I also really liked how he put the word "skin" in different skin tones.
With this book, there are many ways to incorporate it into instruction. One way I would use this book is in a writing lesson- First I would read this story, then I would give each student the time to draw what it looks like for them to live in their own skin. After that I would put them in to groups and have them discuss with one another what it means for them to be in their own skin... from there they would go back and write a reflection on the similarities and differences they found to have with their classmates that may not look exactly the way they do.
Profile Image for Kelly.
806 reviews
March 7, 2015
I first read this book in... uh... 2005 or so. I was working in a museum setting intentionally having conversations with children and their families about issues of race. This book gave a positive, lighthearted way to talk about skin color and offer possible language for describing skin tone, as well as making clear the ways skin in a part of who we are without defining who we are and of what we are capable. Since then, I have worked at the Chicago Children's Museum (CCM) for a bunch of years. And CCM was the organization the commissioned the writing of the book and we use it regularly with children. I used to teach a workshop for pre-K to 3rd grade that used puppets of the characters in this book to address racial inequality and the power of individuals to look to the wholeness of people, rather than just their skin color, to make connections. Now, back in the classroom, I use this book to address many of the same issues with my students. I LOVE the illustrations and much of the language of the book. There are some good examples of rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration in the text, but sometime the lines aren't as tight in flow and intended meaning as I wish them were. And the 'what skin is NOT' section can be long; I find myself adding in lines of "No, no, that is NOT what skin is" to help my students remember that we're talking about what skin is NOT versus what it IS. But the book leads us into some great conversations (and other activities) about skin color and human difference in general. The Skin I Live In is a great addition to our classroom library.
5 reviews
September 18, 2018
This incredibly insightful book explains the beauty of being who you are. The book begins by praising the reader for their skin that they live in, going into detail all the things they do in their own skin, like playing and jumping and dreaming. The readers skin is then compared to its relation to their family, and all the ups and downs that you face with your skin, and all that your skin endures. The book then continues by proving how even though all of us have different looking skin, we are all beautiful and special.

The major theme of this book is body positivity, and encouraging the idea that even though we all look different, we are all valuable.

I would give this book five stars for many reasons. The first reason being how inclusive and detailed this book gets. The pictures include all different kinds of races, and on some pages, shows different shapes and disabilities. This book does a good job of not leaving anyone out. Another reason I would rate this score so highly, is because of the realistic aspect the book portrays. While it talks about all of the things that the body IS, it also talks about all the things that the body IS NOT. I feel like its very common for kids to hear negative comments about their appearance, and the book gives specific quotes that are commonly heard by children and explains how this is NOT how they should view their skin. I think this is very important because it prepares the intended audience for the real world and does not sugar coat how some people view each others differences.

I absolutely loved this book because of the personal connections I made while reading it. I grew up with constant interaction with people who looked differently, and I remember my mother constantly saying to me that everyone has value, no matter what shape or size or color they are. Most of my friends growing up were a different race than me or had a disability of some sort, so I value the lesson that is being taught by this book and see a lot of my mothers values being represented in this book.

I would recumbent this book to every person who will be working with kids, not just teachers. I think it is important that we explain to kids at the start to value each other and to embrace their differences and encourage self-love. This is a very common problem among our society and if we start teaching this lesson and introducing this idea to our kids at a young age, they will grow up learning to love and appreciate each other and start a new revolution.
Profile Image for Ruby.
46 reviews1 follower
February 14, 2012
What an awesome book! Children can really appreciate and or be introduced to the diversity of skin colors around us. So many lessons about different cultures can come out of this book. I also appreciate the fact that it includes rhyming sentences. It also includes life lessons like sharing and caring for others, not discriminating gender, and learning to get along.

Extension activity: With skin color paint we can discuss which colors much each child best. After that, the children will be able to look in a mirror and try to draw themselves as best as they could. We can discuss the names of their skin colors and how we are all different.
November 10, 2018
This is a very good book that teaches important lessons on diversity, acceptance, and self-esteem. It does this through rhymes and similes engaging the children even more. It uses sweet desserts to describe different skin colors such as cinnamon and chocolate. This can be used as a great Segway into a lesson plan where the kids can think of a dessert that matches their own skin color. This would probably be a little more difficult for preschoolers due to all the words on the pages and the amount of figurative language used in the book and it is a bit of a lengthy book with a lot of pages.
537 reviews83 followers
May 4, 2018
This book celebrates the delights of having skin. It would probably be good for a child with normal skin.

Unfortunately, it's probably not good for kids with severe skin conditions like eczema. I was one of those kids and this book almost made me cry, even as an adult. People like me never get to celebrate having normal good skin. For us, skin is just a source of pain and shame.
Profile Image for Audrey's Picture Books.
139 reviews1 follower
June 8, 2019
It's well-intentioned, but ultimately badly-written and a bit annoying. There are much better books out there about loving yourself and your features. Try I like Myself by Karen Beaumont, I Love my Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, or It's Okay to be Different by Todd Parr.
Profile Image for Mary Lee.
2,928 reviews55 followers
June 13, 2016
A rhyming celebration of all shades of skin, and a reminder that it's what's IN the skin that matters most.
19 reviews
December 4, 2018
While Csicsko's cheerful, quirky art, which takes liberties with proportion and perspective, shows children of various skin colors engaged in different activities, the narrative invites readers to look at their skin: "The skin you have fun in; the skin that you run in; the skin that you hop, skip and jump in the sun in." The text then uses food-related metaphors as it pays tribute to skin tones: "Your coffee and cream skin, your warm cocoa dream skin... Your chocolate chip, double dip sundae supreme skin!" By pointing out what skin is not , subsequent verses affably emphasize that skin should not be divisive: "It's not dumb skin or smart skin, or keep us apart skin; or weak skin or strong skin, I'm right and you're wrong skin." Portraying four smiling children, the concluding spread declares, "when we stand side-by-side in our wonderful hues... We all make a beauty, so wonderfully true. We are special and different and just the same, too!"
Profile Image for Gideon.
115 reviews
December 12, 2020
The author read this story and talked about the book in the little diner's crew, so when I saw it in my school library, I decided to check it out.

The author talked about the different kinds and colors of skin and how it doesn't matter.

Profile Image for Kris.
2,891 reviews69 followers
January 20, 2022
Cute, with a good message, but I personally did not find the art at all appealing, so that was distracting for me.
Profile Image for Caroline.
318 reviews2 followers
November 30, 2018
A great celebration of self, diversity, and body positive messages. Also has some nice descriptive language, mostly food metaphors.
36 reviews
September 21, 2017
This book written by Michael Tyler and illustrated by David Lee Csicsko is n extraordinary book about diversity that does not have any awards, but should most certainly have. This book is targeted primarily for ages two through seven, but can have an effect on almost anyone. Many adults nowadays could even learn from the message of this book. Inside the cover of the book is a shortened nursery rhyme that sums up the books message of how we all live in different skin, but how we should love that skin and treat others with different skin since they are the same as us. Across from the nursery rhyme is a color pallet of many different skin pigments, giving the book a creative wordless introduction. The book starts with talking bout how great the skin you live in is, the skin you play in, dream in, and so on. The book then delves into skin color, but in terms kids can relate to, such as warm cocoa and double dip sundae supreme skin. The message is then made very clear towards the end as the author conveys that there is no best skin, no poor, mean, right, dumb, or right skin. The books end with telling how we are more than our skin color, but we are classified based on our dreams, our skills, and hopes. This a miraculous book I would say is not important for your bookshelves but essential. If you want to have a classroom that values diversity, you must have this book. This book teaches diversity in a way that kids can understand, rather than terms that are caught up in today’s political turmoil. This book is important because kids are just understanding each other’s differences based on appearance and are just starting to take in perceptions from parents and TV. It is vital or kids to understand this principal early on. Each page of this book contains kids of multiple different pigments, but they all describe similar thoughts and emotions. There are many different uses for this in the classroom, such as having the kid’s share what they perceive about others based on their look and why they hold that view. This could create a sense of enlightenment for the kids and the teacher as well. Having them draw a Venn diagram and putting races in the graphs, then showing how they all go in the middle, could be very helpful. There are a limitless mount of ways to teach kids diversity using this book, so I would therefore highly recommend this book. I, in fact am going to make sure there is always a copy of this book in my classroom.
February 14, 2017
Summary: This book illustrates, with its descriptive words and vivid pictures, the many different experiences we have as humans in our own skin. It begins by listing action-related experiences, then shifts to sensory images of the different shades of our skin, and finally, it expresses how our skin does not define us as people. In the end, the author describes the beauty of our skin and how lucky we are to live in it.

Themes: The major theme throughout the book is that beauty lies within.

Personal Response: This book is absolutely wonderful! I can definitely relate to it, because growing up, it was sometimes hard to be one of the few children of color in school and in extracurricular activities. I remember feeling uncomfortable when other children would inquire about my skin -- not because I didn't like it, but because it made me feel as if I stood out. However, I will never forget sitting in the grass during recess in first grade, and my teacher coming up to me to tell me that my skin looked beautiful in the sunlight. That compliment made me feel so good inside, and since then, I have always felt confident about my skin color and the beauty that lies beneath it.

Recommendations: I highly recommend this book, because not only does it teach children to accept different skin colors, but it teaches them that their skin color does not define them as individuals. It discusses how we each have our own unique gifts and talents, and that our skin "so beautifully holds the 'You' who's within".
5,870 reviews130 followers
March 30, 2018
The Skin You Live In is a children's picture book written by Michael Tyler and illustrated by David Lee Csicsko and shows that humanity comes in many different colors and that's just great.

Tyler's text is simplistic and poetic, but wielding big ideas. For the most part the rhyming scheme seems to flows beautifully, but for about four-fifths of the book Tyler repeats words for rhyming couplets (i.e., he rhymes skin with skin and in with in a lot), however it doesn't detracts from the book. Csicsko's illustrations were important in this book and show a myriad of skin color in a beautiful manner. His art complements and aids the text greatly.

The premise of the story is about the different skin colors of humanity. It celebrates the diversity of colored skin that humanity comes in and strictly points out that no one color skin is better than any other in any and every test of comparison. Yet in the end, it's not the skin that's important, but what's within. The Skin You Live In delivers the very important message of social acceptance to children and touch on themes as social harmony, friendship, self-esteem, and diversity.

All in all, The Skin You Live In is a wonderful children's book that shows the importance of diversity and acceptance. In the end, "We all make a beauty, so wonderfully true. We are special and different and just the same, too!"
5 reviews
October 9, 2018
I. The skin you live in is an objective book and is about all types of skin tones. You can read about all the things everybody does in their skin. The author describes all the shades skin comes in, by using references to delicious foods. This makes it that every skin color is included and good in their own way. After that, he goes into all the things skin does not determine and want to get across that everyone is more than they seem, and that it is all about what someone thinks, hopes and dreams. As he says that the 'you' is within.
II. The major theme in this book is diversity and how this occurs in appearance.
III. I rate this book 5 stars, it describes the difference in skin color wonderfully and explains to children that it doesn't make people different at all.
IV. This book immediately made me think of my Diversity in American Education class. The other day we talked about how we could introduce or discuss diversity in early childhood classes and I think this book would be great to do that. I think it is a good book way to have windows and mirrors for children.
V. The reason I gave the best rating is also the reason why I recommend it so much. Diversity can be a difficult topic to discuss in class but is just as important, this is a good book to show windows and mirror to children.
8 reviews
March 23, 2017
The Skin You Live In written by Micheal Tyler and illustrated by David Lee Csicsko is a realistic fiction book. It is a great book to read to children because it is a good representation of diversity, culture, and acceptance of oneself and others. It has illustrations of children with all different skin tones so all students relate and can possibly see themselves. The story also promotes a sense of encouragement to all children to love themselves. The book also compares all the different skins to realistic things in life like caramel corn, butterscotch, lemon tart, or even cinnamon spice. I think that this is a great idea because it helps younger children to connect themselves to real life. The book makes different skin tones and shades relatable and not so foreign. The main idea of this book is our skin does not define who we are as human beings. This book is not overly complicated, it is mainly straight to the point. But the meaning is so powerful and encouraging that i recommend it to all Kindergarten and 1st grade classes. The illustrations are extremely bright and relatable. the language of the book is also easy and relatable for all children. All ethnicity's are represented in this book!
53 reviews4 followers
November 5, 2013
This book lets us know that we should love the skin that we live in. The book depicts all of the different things we do in our skin every day. The illustrations clearly show children who have different skin tones, and are smiling and happy about them. The varieties of skin tones are sure to allow students to see themselves. The words are descriptive and colorful, which I am sure will draw the attention of children. There are similes in which skin tone is related to tasty treats (“warm cocoa dream skin, chocolate chip, double dip sundae supreme skin, and marshmallow treat skin”), which most children enjoy. And I really like the fact that the book goes on to denounce negative things that individuals may say about different skin tones (“Its not tall skin or short skin, or best in the sport skin; or fat skin or think skin, you lose and I win skin…”). As a teacher, I would utilize this book to teach acceptance of all, self-esteem, and descriptive language. Students could use descriptive words to write about their skin.
10 reviews
October 10, 2017
“The Skin You Live In” is a wonderful book to help children understand the different skin colors that exist in the world and how one is not better than the other. This children book goes through the different tones and hues and skin variations that surround us. It compares skin colors to warm cocoa, spun sugar, lemon, and toffee wrapped cinnamon spice and it talks about how each of these are all “special and different and just the same, too!”.
I really enjoyed this book. It is so important that young kids understand that no matter what their skin color is, they are all equally important. I think it can be a great addition to a classroom.
This book made me think about my high school. Pretty much everyone in my school was the same race and had the same skin color. If we have had a book like this one, we could have had a window into other kids perspectives and see that even though other may have different skin colors, we are all the same.
Profile Image for Anita.
69 reviews2 followers
March 5, 2013
I loved reading this book. The title says it all, "The Skin You Live in". It was incredibly uplifting. The book uses positive words throughout to show children that they should love the skin they are in. The opening line of the book is, "Hey, look at your skin...the wonderful skin you live in." The book continues by stating things that everyone does in their skin, such as sleep and dream; and run and jump in. The pictures in the book are not overly complicated. It's a cartoon drawn book, and the brightness of colors is very eye catching. My favorite part of the book is the last line, "We all make a beauty, so wonderfully true. We are special and different and just the same, too!" It is such an encouraging book. I would definitely use this text my classroom for several reasons. I would use it for rhyming words practice, but most of all to show that everyone is different and that's okay.
March 21, 2018
"The Skin You Live In" is a great book to teach children about diversity. This book talks about all the different types of people in the world including different skin color, shape, and size. It talks about rich and poor, happy and sad, and dumb and smart people. This is a great book to read to young children who are just beginning to learn about diversity. It covers all the basics but is still written in an easy way to understand for young readers. This is a fun book to read since all the pages rhyme and it will keep the children interested.

The illustrations, done by David Csicsko, do a great job of telling the story. All the children look different in their own way, which is the main reason this book was written. He uses lots of different colors and makes each page fun and crazy. I would recommend this book for 2nd grade and younger.
Profile Image for Marissa Elera.
1,328 reviews31 followers
April 28, 2012
We leave behind all hang-ups about that organ that shells us in this bubbly book about celebrating skin and all it is and is not. Tyler urges young minds to understand that “your ginger snapped, cinnamon spice skin” and “your butterscotch gold skin, your lemon tart bold skin” cannot be dumb or smart, better or lesser, rich or poor, or she or he skin.

A gorgeous message communicated in well written verse is complimented by vivid illustration that partners just right. This book is a delight, and it was created in association with our own Chicago Children’s Museum! This has longer text, so it would be suited best to those ages 4 and up.

“It’s not any of this, cause you’re more than you seem. You are all that you think and you hope and you dream”.
Profile Image for Christina Fisher.
34 reviews1 follower
July 29, 2014
Made for young readers, this book uses rhyme to describe that people from different cultures may look different, but have many commonalities - less science, more social learning here, but still a great message for young kids, preschool to second grade, I would say. Instead of using this as an informational book to teach about skin itself (an interesting, science topic), this would be a great book to teach about juicy vocabulary and descriptions - the author uses phrases like "ginger-snapped, cinnamon spice skin" and "lemon tart skin" to make readers appreciate the skin they're in, which is a positive, uplifting message. Not a great nonfiction book, but certainly one that readers will find fun and entertaining.
Profile Image for Shannon Brasher.
282 reviews19 followers
October 2, 2015
This book is a nice book to read to younger readers about diversity and the fact that we all are different on the outside but we are the same on the inside. I think this book does a good job addressing that topic, as it gives all kinds of rich language examples such as "The skin you're all day in; the skin you play in; the skin you snuggle up, cuddle up, lay in..." That helps to show children that even though your skin color may be different, you still have the same experiences. I really like the latter half of this book where it is more about appreciating and being proud of the skin you are in. The only reason why I rated this four stars is because it contains a lot of figurative, rich language which may be a little confusing for younger children to follow.
8 reviews
March 23, 2017
This book is in my top three. I loved how the pictures told a story of how it doesn't matter. In the book the illustrations are on point and they somewhat tell the story. I also loved how the author used different skin tones. I think children would love this book as well because, they can see different skin tones and understand that true beauty comes from within. The book also has this rhyming thing going on. I think that children will get caught up with he rhyming sentences but, they would still get the message the author is trying to achieve. The one thing that stuck with me is self- esteem. It even boosted my self-esteem. I would have this book in my classroom. I really enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Jillian.
2,524 reviews23 followers
January 4, 2018
I wanted to "really like" this book, but I only just "liked it quite a bit." So it's really more of a 3.5 stars.

Part of it is that the word "skin" is repeated so often that it loses all meaning. And part of it is that it gets very treacly. But the message is so, so important - and yet it doesn't even make an appearance until about halfway through.

The last few pages read very Dr. Seuss-like, but I didn't read the rest of the book in quite that meter/rhythm, so the change was sudden for me.

I liked the illustrations, and the diversity of the characters, but I'm not a fan of the way the girl of Asian descent is presented. Most of the kids only have one default facial expression, but hers seems more "smug" than happy.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 194 reviews

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