Michelle Chalmers arrived at the Literary Arts Open Mic event at Tatnuck Bookseller Gift Gallery and Café as a featured artist. As author of the children’s book, The Skin on My Chin, it could be said that the audience may have anticipated an extended synopsis partnered with a brief reading of her published work.
The audience received that and more.
The event began with an open mic set which allows artists to share their literary talent of writing, storytelling, poetry, and music for approximately 5 minutes. After the open mic, Chalmers took to the podium, read her children’s book and then concluded it with a powerful epilogue.
“I wrote this book when I realized we don’t talk about race and when I say “we,” I mean white people.” Chalmers said to her audience—whom all happened to be white, except the host of the open mic set, yours truly.
Chalmers had prefaced her entire speech by stating that she openly identifies as a white person who is married to a man who identifies himself as black. Together, they have two sons. And it is because of their children, that Chalmers boldly speaks throughout the New England area talking about issues on race, being a voice of clout for her sons and ultimately all children but, particularly children of color.
“As a white woman raising black children, I find that a lot of my discussions are talking my children back or up or out of the ignorance of people who have not talked about race.” She said.
Chalmers uses her book, The Skin on My Chin as a starting point to begin the discussion on race. Even more fitting for the open mic, the book is composed as a free-verse poem teaching children that there is more to a person’s character than the color of their skin.
For authors, writing a children’s book using poetry in any form has proven to be a successful way to relay a memorable message to a reader. It is no different for The Skin on My Chin.
To learn more about Michelle Chalmers and her book The Skin on My Chin, visit her website here.
To see Part I of her speech at the Literary Arts Open Mic event, click here.
To see Part II of Michelle Chalmer's speech, the Q&A discussion visit the IWA Publishing Services website here.