You ever connected with someone online and just know that they are a great person in real life? Sharon Flake is the epitome of that. Her words are always measured, and she offers great insight into the current events happening in our world, and she breaks it down on a level that young adults can understand and process. She’s someone who I wish I had been connected with before leaving high school because I needed to read more books with main characters who had issues as I did, and who managed them the way that I did.
Sharon G. Flake
I’m not sure how the below YouTube clip from You Don’t Even Know Me by Sharon G. Flake came across my desk, but I’m glad that it did. The words paired with the speakers bring to the forefront a powerful statement. Our black men are being crucified before people even get to know them. They don’t know how wonderful smart, loyal, and all-around amazing they are, because they’re too busy listening to what the news tells them to believe.
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I came across one of Sharon Flake‘s books, The Skin I’m In (written when I was a senior in high school) while working the Scholastic Book Fair several years ago, and I’ve been enthralled with her since. What made this book even more special is the fact that Mr. Houseful read it years ago while tutoring at a local school and shared with me his love for the characters and the ability to relate to what was going on within the story.
She writes about the gritty reality of being a young person in current times, and yes, her characters are usually strong black young people trying to find their purpose in the world just like we all did at some point of time in our lives.
Imagine my surprise when I saw a new book of hers that debuted at a book fair when Nathaniel was in grade school. The title is Pinned, and it follows two young children with handicaps of their own. One is visible, the other is not since it’s a learning disability.
The good news broke a couple of years ago that The Skin I’m In would have a sequel released, and it will share exactly what happened to Char since the last time we saw her in written form. I’m excited, and I realize that I’m not the target demographic for the novel, but I’ll still be purchasing!
About The Life I’m In
The powerful and long-anticipated companion to The Skin I’m In, Sharon Flake’s bestselling modern classic, presents the unflinching story of Char, a young woman trapped in the underworld of human trafficking.
My feet are heavy as stones when I walk up the block wondering why I can’t find my old self.
In The Skin I’m In, readers saw into the life of Maleeka Madison, a teen who suffered from the ridicule she received because of her dark skin color. For decades fans have wanted to know the fate of the bully who made Maleeka’s life miserable, Char.
Now in Sharon Flake’s latest and unflinching novel, The Life I’m In, we follow Charlese Jones, who, with her raw, blistering voice speaks the truths many girls face, offering insight to some of the causes and conditions that make a bully. Turned out of the only home she has known, Char boards a bus to nowhere where she is lured into the dangerous web of human trafficking. Much is revealed behind the complex system of men who take advantage of vulnerable teens in the underbelly of society. While Char might be frightened, she remains strong and determined to bring herself and her fellow victims out of the dark and back into the light, reminding us why compassion is a powerful cure to the ills of the world.
Sharon Flake’s bestselling, Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel The Skin I’mIn was a game changer when it was first published more than twenty years ago. It redefined young adult literature by presenting characters, voices, and real-world experiences that had not been fully seen. Now Flake offers readers another timely and radical story of a girl on the brink and how her choices will lead her to either fall, or fly.
I’m pretty lucky to be connected with Ms. Flake online, and she lives every bit of her author role every single day. Between talks at schools, libraries, and community organizations – she stays abreast of what’s happening in the real world and provokes conversation on her online platform as well. I’ve seen her donate her books to school libraries and challenge young students to try their hands at authorship. She’s encouraging and definitely one of the reasons that I love introducing my children to authors that look like us. As an example of black excellence, I’m asking that you take a closer look at Sharon G. Flake, and see if you can add more of her writing to your personal library.