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Let's Talk About Race Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; 1st edition (January 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060285966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060285968
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 1-5 - This stunning picture book introduces race as just one of many chapters in a person's story. Beginning with the line, "I am a story," Lester tells his own story with details that kids will enjoy, like his favorite food, hobbies, and time of day. Then he states, "Oh. There's something else that is part of my story…I'm black." Throughout the narrative, he asks questions that young readers can answer, creating a dialogue about who they are and encouraging them to tell their own tales. He also discusses "stories" that are not always true, pointing out that we create prejudice by perceiving ourselves as better than others. He asks children to press their fingers against their faces, pointing out, "Beneath everyone's skin are the same hard bones." Remove our skin and we would all look the same. Lester's engaging tone is just right and his words are particularly effective, maintaining readers' interest and keeping them from becoming defensive. The pairing of text and dazzling artwork is flawless. The paintings blend with the words and extend them, transporting readers away from a mundane viewpoint and allowing them to appreciate a common spiritual identity. This wonderful book should be a first choice for all collections and is strongly recommended as a springboard for discussions about differences. - Mary Hazelton, Warren Community School and Miller Elementary School, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. With an chatty, interactive text that is clearly meant to generate discussion, and vividly colored, mixed-media artwork, this book, like bell hooks' Skin Again [BKL S 15 04], considers race as only one aspect of a person's identity. Lester begins with a look at prejudice. He then goes anatomical: "beneath everyone's skin are the same hard bones." Without clothes, skin, and hair, everyone looks the same. Well, gender sameness doesn't quite work (women's pelvic bones, for example, are larger), but kids will laugh at the notion of stripping down to the skeleton. They'll also think about the concept, especially because Lester speaks so personally, not only as a proud black man but also about where he lives and what he likes and dislikes. Barbour's pictures have a folkart feeling that aptly shows a rich diversity of individuals as well as the common humanity that connects people everywhere. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Born in 1939, Julius Lester spent his youth in the Midwest and the South and received a B.A. in English from Fisk University in 1960.Since 1968 he has published 25 books of fiction, nonfiction, children's books, and poetry. Among the awards these books have received are the Newbery Honor Medal, American Library Association Notable Book, National Jewish Book Award Finalist, The New York Times Outstanding Book, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, Caldecott Honor Book, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and a National Book Award Finalist. His books have been translated into eight languages.He has published more than one hundred essays and reviews in such publications The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Op-Ed Page, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, The New Republic, Katallagete, Moment, Forward, and Dissent.He has recorded two albums of original songs, hosted and produced a radio show on WBAI-FM in New York City for eight years, and hosted a live television show on WNET in New York for two years. A veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, his photographs of that movement are included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution and are part of the permanent photographic collection at Howard University.After teaching at the New School for Social Research for two years, Mr. Lester joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in 1971 where he is presently a full professor in the Judaic and Near Eastern Studies Department, and adjunct professor in the English and History departments. He also serves as lay religious leader of Beth El Synagogue in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.He has been awarded all four of the university's most prestigious faculty awards: The Distinguished Teacher's Award; the Faculty Fellowship Award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship; Distinguished Faculty Lecturer; and recipient of the Chancellor's Medal, the University's highest honor. In 1986 the Council for Advancement and Support of Education selected him as the Massachusetts State Professor of the Year.Mr. Lester's biography has appeared in Who's Who In America since 1970. He has given lectures and papers at more than 100 colleges and universities.His most recent books are John Henry, And All Our Wounds Forgiven, a novel about the civil rights movement, and Othello, a novel based on the Shakespeare play.

Customer Reviews

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Really liked the way this book talked about race and it's uniqueness but also "sameness".
K. Zimmerman
Beautiful illustrations and a sweet story that can be used and adapted for children of many ages.
clap
Hopefully that makes sense; I don't know if it will read well as a review...just my two cents.
Sunny California

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on January 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
Everyone has a story that is made up of lots of things like when they were born, what race they are, who their parents are and lots more. This book is all about race. It teaches us that we are really all the same deep down. Everyone is a person that deserves to be treated with respect no matter what color their skin is.

The book is full of colorful images. The book is not too long to read all at once and it has a great message.

We would recommend this to teachers and anyone who works with children. The book is a great way to open discussions on racism, and treating others with respect and kindness regardless of who they are, where they live, the color of their skin, or what clothes they wear.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lena Larson on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
There is nothing like a thoughtful picture book to inspire rich discussion. LET'S TALK ABOUT RACE, by Julius Lester, is a perfect example. This compelling picture book is a simple, yet elegant, exploration of personal identity. It is easily read in one sitting, and yet the layered illustrations encourage the reader to linger on each page. Julius Lester's well-chosen words, combined with Karen Barbour's extraordinary drawings make this a must-have for schools and libraries.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on April 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Children should be taught about who they are, both inside and out, getting to know others before they prejudge them, and that it's what is inside of each of us that makes us special. Additionally, they should understand that what we are inside is important regardless of our race, the color/texture of our hair, where we live, or how rich or poor we are. Newberry Honor Book Author Julius Lester explores these areas in his latest book for children LET'S TALK ABOUT RACE.

I enjoyed LET'S TALK ABOUT RACE and think it is a wonderful tool for helping children understand the differences in those around them and that no one is better than anyone else simply because they are different in some way. I encourage parents and educators to share this book with their children at the early stages when they begin questioning their bodies and comparing them to others. It is clearly understood after reading this bright and vibrantly painted book that "beneath everyone's skin are the same hard bones."

Reviewed by Tee C. Royal

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sunny California on October 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Love this book, great illustrations, gave it a read with my daughter, who's nearly six and it made me a little uncomfortable, mostly because she lives in one of the most diverse areas in the nation (silicon valley, CA) and she doesnt really see borders between people...I kind of felt like this book might make her see that too early in a sense and make her a little more conscious of race, and she doesn't feel that way now. Hopefully that makes sense; I don't know if it will read well as a review...just my two cents. I just dont think kids under 6 or even 7 will really get it, ESP. If they're used to seeing a great variety of ethnicities on a day-to-day basis and it's never really pointed out...she doesn't care who she plays with, be it black, white, Chinese, Korean, east indian, etc., she just never thinks about skin color, and neither do I. Also, there's a couple of lines I kinda glossed over, like when the author states he has asthma and his brother's dead...although interesting, I found it too serious to relay that to my daughter.

In truth, as an artist, I just thought the illustrations were AMAZING & wanted this book more for that alone.

I'm Japanese/white and have many friends of various racial backgrounds.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A.Marie on February 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
I think the age for the intended audience is way off. I'm not sure if the publishing company, the author, or Amazon specifies the age range but this book seems suited for older children or children that have already had to deal with racism. I'm glad I read this book before reading it to my kids, ages 5 and 7.

Also, the author throwing in unrelated facts, like "I had a brother who was nine years older than me but he is dead" seems odd to me and would likely initiate more questions and such.

I would urge parents to read the book first to see that it's appropriate for your child(ren).
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By M. Heiss on September 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I recommend you give this to every teacher in your life.

This is a beautiful book that does a beautiful job looking at people as beautiful individuals.

It gets a little cluttery with the "taking off your skin" part (maybe because my kids have a zombie fetish?), but ok.
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