The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake

Maleeka is poor. Her mom sews to deal with the pain of losing her husband, Maleeka’s dad, but Maleeka can’t wear those hand sewn clothes to school. Sweet already teases her so much about her deep dark skin. So she borrows fancy clothes from Char, who has a lot of issues and bullies everyone around her. Then Miss Saunders shows up with her unique skin, her strong attitude, and changes the tone. She see Maleeka and, though caught in the middle of trying to be true to herself and following along doing what Char says, Maleeka will never be the same.

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YA author Patty Blount visits City-As-School

Author Patty Blount came to visit our school December 18th, 2015. She talked about what inspired her to write Some Boys, or as she put it what pissed her off so much. She got fed up at a 50-something year-old man getting 30 days in prison for raping a 14-year-old. She shared a lot of her thinking about what contributes to rape culture. Women’s feelings of shame and women’s bodies being treated as objects contribute, as does victim blaming and not believing people when they say they have been assaulted. Sexual assault occurs to 1 in 5 women and to 1 in 33 men.

We talked about Grace’s strength to confront all the harassment and humiliation at school when she does not retract her accusation that Zac, the captain of the lacrosse team raped her on a date. The book is told in two alternating points of view: Grace’s and Ian’s, Zac’s best friend. There are themes of truth and what constitutes the truth. We don’t really know who is telling the truth until the end, and then the evidence is irrefutable.

I think we can all be transformed by books….Reading Some Boys made us see how writing can help us heal. It helps us to organize all that messiness of life and put it behind us. One of the strongest messages I heard was to make more of an effort to believe our friends if they come to us and tell us they have been sexually assaulted, and support them, and not participate in behaviors that put unnecessary pressures on men to be masculine/sole providers and or on women to be trophies/objects/possessions to be had. Also to realize that if this has happened to us, it is not because we were “asking for it.” No. No one asks to be raped.

Thank you, Patty!

Everything Feels like the Movies by Raziel Reid

Life is just happening for transgender high school kid Jude who self-narrates the latest drama as if it were a movie and she was the star….sounds under control? Read the gripping, harrowing descriptions of
how this strong-willed, brazen protagonist is able to get through horrific brutality hurled at her because of her sexual orientation and gender choice. MUST read–controversial, but powerful. In its fifth printing in one year.