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Thin Skin -- creative nonfiction by Alyssa Huang

Crunch. Textured rocks smash across the earth’s pavement. My classmates enthusiastically create “skin colored paints” from cream-colored rocks. But not me. I scrutinize the creek bed in search of tan-brown rocks that match my skin color. None exist, so I settle on a cocoa-colored rock and forcefully grind it into paint to fulfill the assignment: a self portrait using “rock paint.” 

Later that afternoon, classmates bustle around the Art Room taping up their masterpieces: a perfect array of smiling, white-faced portraits. I decide to hide my solemn-faced, dark-skinned image in the corner. That summer, I avoid the sun, duck behind shadows, and slather on thick sunscreen to protect my delicate, thin skin. But my complexion remains dark and tanned. Nothing changes.


Alyssa Huang is a 9th grader from Mill Valley, California who attends the Branson School. She has won writing awards through the Scholastic Writing Contest (Gold Key) and Marin County Fair (Best of Show), and is published in Skipping Stones Magazine and The Milking Cat. Aside from writing, Alyssa is passionate about photography/photojournalism, basketball, baking, and sustainability.   

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