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SKIN DEEP by Angela Shelf Medearis

SKIN DEEP

and Other Teenage Reflections

By Angela Shelf Medearis (Author) , Michael Bryant (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-02-765980-1
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

 In a slim volume of 40 short poems, all but two written in the first person, Medearis speaks directly and unpretentiously to young people's everyday concerns: school life, appearance, family tensions, dating, peer pressure, the puzzle of one's future. The darkest poems are some of the strongest, e.g. ``My Mirror Lies to Me,'' on anorexia, and ``Chemical Cocoon,'' about drug dependence. There are jubilant pieces as well, e.g., ``Colors of the Race,'' which sings with self-esteem; there are also defiant ones like ``Black Barbie Doll,'' a response to the label ``too white.'' Pencil drawings in b&w appear on roughly every other spread. While the title, cover art, illustrations, and subject matter of many of the poems make clear that minority students are in the target audience, no teenager will feel excluded by the sentiments expressed. The accessibility of the plainspoken style coupled with the volume's topicality may engage those who normally avoid this genre. (Poetry. 10+)