Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester, Karen Barbour |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Let's Talk About Race
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Let's Talk About Race

by Julius Lester, Karen Barbour
     
 

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I am a story.

So are you.

So is everyone.

Julius Lester says, "I write because our lives are stories. If enough of these stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details." Now Mr. Lester shares his own story as he explores what makes each of us special. Karen Barbour's dramatic,

Overview

I am a story.

So are you.

So is everyone.

Julius Lester says, "I write because our lives are stories. If enough of these stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details." Now Mr. Lester shares his own story as he explores what makes each of us special. Karen Barbour's dramatic, vibrant paintings speak to the heart of Lester's unique vision, truly a celebration of all of us.

Editorial Reviews

Powerful, unconventional paintings-at times evocative of Frida Kahlo-add to the impact of this compelling exploration of race. Lester writes in a deeply personal way about how we are much more than our skin color: "Yes, I am black but I am also a man...I have a deep voice and a loud laugh. (I love to laugh. Do you?)" This remarkable book will spark a conversation with your child about not only racism but prejudice of any kind. (ages 6 to 8)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2005
Publishers Weekly
Adults unsure of how to begin talking about race will find in these pages a way to tap into the subject and the questions it raises. Lester (To Be a Slave) addresses readers as if he is speaking to each in private conversation. He explains his belief that each human being "is a story" and, by appealingly poking fun at himself, he begins to tell his own tale: "I was born on January 27, 1939... (I'm kind of old, huh?)." He describes a bit about his family, his favorite food, hobbies, religion, etc. "Oh," he pauses. "There's something else that is part of my story. I'm black. What race are you?" he asks readers, tapping into the tensions inherent in such a discussion. "Because people feel bad about themselves," Lester says, people sometimes claim, "My race is better than your race." But this isn't true, the author states simply. If we take our skin off-here Barbour (Fire! Fire! Hurry! Hurry!) paints a folk-style tableau of skeletons with cheerful smiles and arms upraised-"I would look just like you, and you would look just like me." Lester presents the wealth of human difference as a treasure trove for discovery, and Barbour's na f-style spreads, flooded with birds and flowers and brimming with color, provide plenty of visual interest. The artist's recurring tree symbolism underscores Lester's suggestion of a shared human family tree. Ages 6-10. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Julius Lester is one of the biggest risk-taker in children's books today, and he urges others to do the same in this title. He tells big truths with few and simple words, relating how people use race, gender and economics to prove superiority and how "if we all shed clothes, skin and hair we all look alike." He ends with a question that will begin a discussion: "I'll take off my skin. Will you take off yours?" Karen Barbour's strongly graphic style uses patterns and bold portraits to point out similarities and differences. Lester's poignant picture book helps children learn, grow, discuss, and begin to create a future that resolves differences. 2005, HarperCollins, Ages 6 to 10.
—Susie Wilde
Kirkus Reviews
A comforting direct address asks readers to think of themselves as stories, and to consider the elements of their stories: families, favorite foods, hobbies, etc.-"Oh. There's something else that is part of my story. It's part of yours, too. That's what race we are." Simply and confidently, the narrative encourages readers to reject the false stories-"I'm better than you because . . . "-and to focus on the stories that lie beneath the skin. Possibly the most effective exercise engages the reader directly by asking her to feel the bones under her skin, a multimedia demonstration of sorts of our universal kinship. The offering treads much of the same ground as bell hooks's Skin Again (2004), but its clear statement of its agenda much more successfully speaks to a child's concrete understanding of the world. Barbour's jewel-toned paintings provide a counterpoint with an appropriately kaleidoscopic array of many-hued children moving fluidly against brilliant backdrops. It's an effort that could easily founder under its own earnestness, but the lighthearted, avuncular tone and vivid art combine to make a surprisingly effective package. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780064462266
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/23/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
111,116
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Julius Lester is the author of the Newbery Honor Book To Be a Slave, the Caldecott Honor Book John Henry, the National Book Award finalist The Long Journey Home: Stories from Black History, and the Coretta Scott King Award winner Day of Tears. He is also a National Book Critics Circle nominee and a recipient of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. His most recent picture book, Let's Talk About Race, was named to the New York Public Library's "One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing." In addition to his critically acclaimed writing career, Mr. Lester has distinguished himself as a civil rights activist, musician, photographer, radio talk-show host, and professor. For thirty-two years he taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives in western Massachusetts.

Karen Barbour has illustrated many books for children, including You Were Loved Before You Were Born; Fire! Fire! Hurry! Hurry!; I Have an Olive Tree; and Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems, which was a Parents' Choice Gold Award winner. She wrote and illustrated Little Nino's Pizzeria, a Reading Rainbow selection. Her paintings have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Rome. She lives in Point Reyes Station, California.

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