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Let's Talk About Race Paperback – December 23, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; Reprint edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064462269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064462266
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
The book “Let’s Talk About Race” is a book that teaches you a lot about race. And it tells you what not to say, like “My race is better than yours!’’ You can’t say that because that is being racist. One reason I like this book is because the author did good illustrations for example a lot of people that are treating other people very nice . Another reason I like this book is that it has good lessons.For example it told us what to not say so you can`t hurt others. Another reason I like this book is the details. For instance, the author drew good drawings.I would suggest this book for kids ages 8-10 who want to learn about race.

by Danny, age 9
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is written as if Julius Lester were in the room having a conversation with the reader about race. Great for kids, as he talks about his own childhood experiences and asks questions about theirs. Wish we could all talk this comfortably about race.
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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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This text is a perfect book to use with third and fourth graders. Students begin to see "differences" at this age and Lester teaches his readers that we are all essentially the same, but with our own unique stories. This is a fantastic text to use as a model for creating character maps, personal story maps and creating podcasts for student book talks.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We liked the title and the colorfull presentation of this book. This motivated my daughter to ask infinite questions about how would we really look inside if we all remove our skins. I think this was a brilliant way to approach the subject.
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