Sunday, April 2, 2017

Karen Taylor reads "Skin Again"

Skin Again by bell hooks (she spells without capitals!), illustrated by Chris Raschka  
The story, actually a poem, is about how we cannot know each others' stories by what we see on the outside.  The good stuff is all inside of us and getting to know someone who looks different is not hard to do if we take a little time. This story appealed to me because I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia. There my husband and I were almost the only white people in our remote village. I wanted to share with the children the wonderful kindness we were shown, some of the rich culture we experienced, and the good friends we made while we were in a small town, far out of our comfort level.  
 I shared that there was great curiosity about my freckles and red hair... It was explained to me that many students thought my skin was somehow diseased, as freckles were unknown and mottled skin often meant illness. So getting past that was important.  I loved our time in Africa and loved the people we met and worked with, some of whom we have met with in America.   

Activity: As examples of how the outside is less a measure of us than the inside, I brought eggs from our chickens, all different colors, while the insides were all the same and the most important part. I also brought a pillow, unstuffed, and while they admired the design of the pillow, we agreed that the important part of the pillow was inside, to make us comfortable and happy.  We sampled, actually gobbld up, an Ethiopian bread, called Milk and Honey bread, we examined the colors of a basket from Ethiopia, and we tried on clothing worn by the women and men of Ethiopia, long white cloths, some with beautiful borders, to see how it felt to dress like an Ethiopian. The kids were great, so smart and willing to share their experiences. The world is so interesting and diverse, and we must not be afraid to go beyond our personal boundaries or we miss so much.

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