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The Skin You Live In by Michael Taylor

PICTURE BOOK LESSON PLAN

GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES K+

  • BOOK The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler and David Lee Csicsko

  • LESSON PLAN CREATION Refugio Luna

  • LESSON PLAN EDITING TEAM Tessa Moren, Fatima Herrera-Zarate, Sandra Rios-Ayala, and Kayleigh Prentice

INTRODUCTION

A fundamental component of child development is learning to love yourself (Newman, 2020). The idea of “not seeing color” is a false reality that many people use to mask ideologies that are deeply rooted in racism. We all look different. Instead of trying to avoid this concept, we should embrace it in a manner that sparks a productive conversation. Yes, we are different sizes, colors, and have different features, but it does not mean that people should be treated unfairly for it. At the end of the day, our skin that we wear is only a vessel for who we all are individually. We are all unique, and we are all special. This lesson is a guided reading experience designed to accompany The Skin You Live In, written by Michael Taylor; lesson plan content was written by Refugio Luna and was created to start, or deepen, anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities.


THEMES

Race, Racial Awareness, Racial Identity, Self-esteem, Self-care/love


SUMMARY & PERSONAL NOTE

This book does not tell a chronological story; it instead reads more like a poem. The text and illustrations highlight the importance of appreciating our differences. Children are very observant, and they notice the differences between themselves and others. It is important that we do not mask this feeling; instead, we must guide them towards embracing it. The author of the book really pushes toward the idea of unity, despite our physical differences. This is shown through illustrations of children who all look very different doing the same activities, such as celebrating birthdays, playing at the park, and eating ice cream. This is also a great introduction to the conversation around cultural differences and awareness. Although you might notice friends engaging in similar activities as you, there will be times when they, and their families, take part in their own traditions. This is something that must be discussed as a topic of respect as sometimes you might grow curious about the differences in the way that some people do things, but must be cautious in presenting your curiosity to said family. Concluding the ideas from the book, we must embrace our differences, acknowledge that we are all unique and special, but not lose respect for one another.


LISTEN TO THE STORY

OBJECTIVES

This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist teaching and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.


The Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.


TEACHING TOLERANCE STANDARDS REFERENCED IN THIS LESSON

The Teaching Tolerance Standards and Domains referenced during discussion question development in this lesson are for Grades [K-2]. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Here are the domains used to create the discussion questions.

  • Identity 5: I see that the way my family and I do things is both the same as and different from how other people do things, and I am interested in both.

  • Diversity 8: I want to know about other people and how our lives and experiences are the same and different.

  • Justice 11: I know my friends have many identities, but they are always still just themselves.

  • Action 16: I care about those who are treated unfairly.

READ & DISCUSS QUESTIONS

  • What are some things your classmates (who look different than you) do differently than you? (Identity 5)

  • What is an interesting story that a classmate has shared about their family? (Diversity 8)

  • What part of yourself (or your friends) are you/they most proud of? (Justice 11)

  • What can you do if you see someone being treated unfairly because of the color of their skin, or for the way that their family does something? (Action 16)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


VIDEO

ACTIVITY

WEBSITE

READ NEXT

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  • The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

  • Happy In Our Skin by Fran Manushkin










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