In Sharon G. Flake's book The Skin I'm In, the character of Miss Saunders is a positive influence on Maleeka. Miss Saunders uses corrective tactics to bring out Maleeka's untapped writing potential. Despite her noticeable skin condition, Miss Saunders represents a confident, self-assured woman. Both Maleeka and Miss Saunders are scrutinized and ridiculed because of their appearance, and Miss Saunders signifies how self-acceptance and internal growth can triumph amid this daily struggle. Consider this quote:
To look in the mirror and like what you see, even when it doesn’t look like anybody else's idea of beauty. (Chapter 4)
In her first interaction with Maleeka, Miss Saunders directly compliments her skin, instilling confidence in her:
Maleeka, your skin is pretty. Like a blue-black sky after it's rained ... (Chapter 1)
This establishes a foundation of love and acceptance, and it is Miss Saunders's steadfast encouragement that ultimately instills change in Maleeka.
Miss Saunders also adorns herself with lavish clothes and accessories (for example, her Gucci watch), which externally endorses the message of self-love and success. These clothing choices show that she believes she deserves nice things, embraces the way she stands out, and refuses to hide her shine. This concept is figuratively presented in this quote:
"Liking myself didn’t come overnight," she says, "I took a lot of wrong turns to find out who I really was ... Some kids even go up to her face and stare and point. She lets them do it too, like she’s proud of her face or something." (Chapter 4)
In conclusion, Miss Saunders reveals herself to be confident and self-assured, loving, truthful, forgiving, proud, and inspiring yet tough.