I’ve written many books and have enjoyed doing them.  But the happiest writing I’ve ever done is for HAPPY IN OUR SKIN. 

“It’s terrific to have skin.
It keeps the outsides out and your insides in.“

on Amazon


Manushkin 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 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 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.



More than skin deep, this rhyming paean to diversity offers readers an array of families of all colors and orientations, living and loving one another in a vibrant city setting.This celebration of skin not only extols the beauty and value of various skin colors, but also teaches the importance of skin as an essential body part: “It keeps the outsides out / and your insides in.” Park, public-pool, and block-party scenes allow readers to luxuriate in a teeming city where children of all colors, abilities, and religions enjoy their families and neighbors. The author and illustrator do not simply take a rote, tokenistic approach to answering the cry for diverse books; the words and pictures depict a much-needed, realistic representation of the statement “it takes a village to raise a child” when a child skins her knee and many rush to her aid and comfort. Tobia creates sheer joy with her depictions of everything from unibrows, dimples, and birthmarks.The combination of lovingly humorous illustrations and infectious rhymes will cause little ones and their families to pore over this book again and again. 


In this picture book Manushkin celebrates the different aspects of skin. The large illustrations depict a mixed-race family as they interact with a delightful array of diverse babies, preschoolers, and their parents in their urban neighborhood. Adults kiss baby feet, hold little ones aloft, and snuggle with them. The park and neighborhood scenes include a girl in a wheelchair and Muslim and Orthodox Jewish families enjoying themselves outdoors. The story comes full circle, beginning with a baby, happy in its “brand-new” skin, and ending with parents and tired children, all “happy in [their] skin,” coming home after celebrating with “bouquets of people” at a block party. VERDICT A delightful feel-good story that will be welcome in most collections.



There’s lots to like about Manushkin’s charming picture book, starting with the quirky idea of celebrating our largest of organs! Across the pages of this endearing book, smiling families frolic in parks and playgrounds of a bustling, urban, multicultural neighborhood. They are happy because of, not despite, the differences in their skin colors: “bouquets of babies sweet to hold: cocoa brown, cinnamon, and honey gold.” A bright palette of colors adds to the liveliness of the people populating the book’s pages—people with sweet, loving faces and outstretched arms to hold babies and reach for friends, ensuring skin-on-skin contact. Happy in Our Skin paints a picture of an ideal world that recognizes the value of diversity and shuns color blindness—a positive message for ears of every age and color.