The Skin I’m In presents Maleeka, a seventh-grader who has dark black skin and homemade clothes. She gets teased and bullied a lot at school. Maleeka used to be proud of her dark black skin, but after her father died, some kids started bullying her. She thinks that her looks and skin color are hindering her from making friends. Well, that is what she believes, but that is not necessarily the truth.
Maleeka’s best ally is the new teacher at the school, Miss Saunders. Coincidentally, her teacher has a disfiguring skin condition on her own face, and some students are saying cruel words to Miss Saunders as well. Maleeka seems to feel a connection to Miss Saunders’s situation, while the teacher believes her to be a very intelligent and resourceful student.
Maleeka wants to impress the student crowd with her appearance and wishes that she didn’t have to wear her homemade clothing. She thinks that if she befriends Charlese, a popular girl in school, that her life will get easier. Charlese agrees to let Maleeka wear some of her nicer clothes if she will do homework favors for her. Wanting to stand out in the crowd, Maleeka accepts. Yet, the bullying doesn’t stop. One day, Charlese angers the teacher, Ms. Saunders, and promises to get even with her by vandalizing the classroom.
Miss Saunders understands Maleeka’s constant bullying by the other students and demonstrates her genuine concern for her. Maleeka starts to gradually take in Miss Saunders’s words of encouragement and instruction. The teacher offers her extra literary assignments so Maleeka can improve upon her schoolwork. Maleeka listens to her teacher’s instruction and motivating words and, like a mirror reflecting the light, begins to start taking in her own intelligence and self-worth. Maleeka didn’t need new clothing. She just needed to accept her own skin and the beauty and talents that she always had within herself.