cover image Happy in Our Skin

Happy in Our Skin

Fran Manushkin, illus. by Lauren Tobia. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7002-3

Manushkin (The Belly Book) offers a cheeky meditation on the everyday miraculousness of skin, with a biracial family at the center of her story. “It’s terrific to have skin,” she muses. “It keeps the outsides out/ and your insides in.” Skin is also something we all have in common, regardless of age, color, or whether it’s adorned with “freckles/ or birthmarks/ or dimples.” With plenty of sentimental books about belonging available, a fun angle on the ties that bind members of the human family is welcome; the silly-earnest premise inspires several quirky observations to keep readers intrigued, including a shout-out to scabs as “a perfect seal.” Following a light-skinned mother and her three children (who share their father’s brown skin), Tobia (Baby’s Got the Blues) creates an expansive, multicultural cast of urbanites enjoying themselves at a park, at the public pool, and at a boisterous block party. It’s freewheeling fun—a perfect book for the months when we all try to wear as little as possible. Ages 2–5. Author’s agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Mandy Suhr, Miles Stott Children’s Literary Agency. (Aug.)