Posted on May 9, 2022

Kids’ Book ‘Our Skin’ in NYC Schools Blames Racism on White People

Bernadette Hogan et al., New York Post, May 7, 2022

An “inflammatory” children’s book being distributed to New York City schools teaches kids as young as 2 that the concept of race was created by white people who claimed they were “better, smarter, prettier, and that they deserve more than everybody else.”

The book “Our Skin” was penned by Harlem activist Megan Madison and Brooklynite and library worker Jessica Ralli, and published last year. It begins with a simple discussion of skin tones — then launches into a screed that blames the idea of race on white people along with an illustration of scary-looking human skulls encased in glass and sitting on shelves.

“A long time ago, way before you were born, a group of white people made up an idea called race. They sorted people by skin color and said that white people were better, smarter, prettier, and that they deserve more than everybody else,” the book declares.

It goes on to say “That isn’t true or fair at all!” with a picture of a “Caucasian” man holding up the “Most beautiful skull.”

The book, aimed at those ages 2 to 5, has been distributed to at least one Manhattan kindergarten, one on Staten Island as well as a school in Brooklyn and appears to be part of the Department of Education’s new “Universal Mosaic Curriculum.” The DOE announced the plan under former Mayor de Blasio to standardize instructional materials and “better reflect” the system’s demographics. It is to begin in 2023.

The tome is on a suggested reading list parents can access through the website TeachingBooks. It is part of the “Universal Mosaic Independent Reading Collections” for kindergartners created by the DOE’s Library Services, the site says.

Brooklyn parent leader Vito LaBella called the text “inflammatory.”

“That page alone in my mind is just preaching hate,” he said, referring to the text about sorting people by skin color.

LaBella said at least one school in southwest Brooklyn’s District 20, where he’s a member of the Community Education Council, received the books. The principal had been told by former Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter they would be coming. They were to be delivered to kindergarten classes, but the principal was holding off, he added.


A Manhattan parent of a kindergartener saw the book in his son’s school this week in a box marked “Mosaic curriculum.”

The dad said he looked through the book and stopped cold at the page saying white people invented race.


“Racism should be talked about, but it should be talked about correctly,” he said. “I think that telling 5- and 6-year-olds that white people are all responsible for all racism is not helpful. It’s going to be very traumatic for many 5- and 6-year-olds who are going to blame themselves and blame their parents.”

The book’s narrative adds that “racism is also the things people do and the unfair rules they make about race so that white people get more power.”

There is no discussion that groups other than whites might be racist.