Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Pearl Gaskins  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1957 in Maryville, Tennessee

-- Website --
-- Pearl Gaskins on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Gaskins lives in Lindenhurst, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Gaskins is an award-winning journalist with many years of experience interviewing young people and writing about the issues that concern them, from prejudice and peer pressure to divorce and drug use. She was Senior Editor for Scholastic Choices, an educational magazine for teenagers. ''What Are You? Voices of Mixed Race Young People'' is her first book. It has been named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults and a Booklist Editor's Choice.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

What Are You?: Voices of Mixed-Race Young People
ISBN: 0805059687

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). 1999

In the past three decades, the number of interracial marriages in the United States has increased by more than 800 percent. Now over four million children and teenagers do not identify themselves as being just one race or another.

Here is a book that allows these young people to speak in their own voices about their own lives.

What Are You? is based on the interviews the author has made over the past two years with mixed-race young people around the country. These fresh voices explore issues and topics such as dating, families, and the double prejudice and double insight that come from being mixed, but not mixed-up.

I Believe In...Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Young People Speak About Their Faith
ISBN: 081262713X

Cricket Books. 2004

More than 80 percent of American teenagers hold some religious affiliation, according to researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion. But how does religion matter in their lives? How do young people stay true to their faith while growing up in a secular society?
In What Do You Believe In?, award-winning journalist Pearl Gaskins gives us her in-depth interviews with approximately 100 young Christians, Muslims, and Jews about what it means to belong to a certain faith. Some of them claim that faith saved their lives, like the young man who escaped a violent youth gang with the help of his church. Some describe their daily struggle to be observant and moral in a temptation-filled world. Many wrestle with doubts, conflicts, and the prejudices of others. Often poignant, at times shocking, and very honest, the words of these young people offer valuable insight into the complexity of religious identity and the beliefs that unite and divide us. Also included are original poems and essays by young authors about the topic.


American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults, IRA Notable Books for a Global Society Booklist Editors’ Choice, Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book, Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library, South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee for ''What are You?''

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

In her presentations, Pearl discusses the multiracial experience, the development of racial identity, and how young people experience and cope with racism. Presentations are customized for audiences, which include middle and high school students, college student groups, parenting organizations, and educators.