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Uncle Jed's Barbershop

4.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  543 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
As the only black barber in a county of sharecroppers during the 1920s, Uncle Jed traveled for miles to tend to his customers. Saving his money to build his very own barbershop was a dream that had to be postponed because of his generous heart and the Depression.

Then one glorious day, on his 79th birthday, Uncle Jed finally opened the doors of his new shop. Full color.

Paperback, 40 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Aladdin (first published January 1st 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 999)
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Oct 30, 2009 Valerie rated it really liked it
Summary/A Thoughtful Review:
In the last line of Margaree King Mitchell’s text she writes: “He taught me to dream, too.” These few words summarize the story Mitchell has written that tells of the love and determination of one man, Jedediah Johnson. Told though the eyes of Sarah Jean, his great niece, we meet a man with a dream: to open his own barbershop with “fancy equipment…sinks so shiny they sparkle…floors so clean you could see yourself…and outside was going to be a big, tall red-and-white b
Jan 19, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
One of our favorite books that has been read over and over. When my son was 5 yrs old and my daughter was 3 we took a field trip to a local barbershop down the road from our old house. It had the red and white stripe barbershop pole outside and the owner gave the kids lollipops after we told him about this book. A couple of weeks later, Daddy took Jacob back to the barbershop to get his first haircut from the barber. We took before and after pictures. Great memories, great book!

This is a book we
Feb 04, 2009 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Uncle Jed's Barbershop
Margaree King Mitchell
Publisher and Year:
Simon and Schuster, 1993
Genre: Educational; fiction; historical fiction
Ages: 4-8

Synopsis: The book follows the story of a little girl's Uncle Jed during the beginning of the Great Depression. Uncle Jed has a dream of opening a barbershop, despite no one believing in him. He's saving up money to achieve his dream. However, one day, Sarah (the narrator) gets sick and needs and operation, so Uncle Jed dips into his savings
Errin Tucker
Apr 13, 2012 Errin Tucker rated it it was amazing
This book fits in the genre of Historical Fiction and picture book. It is written for children ages P-I.

This is a story about a young girl who loved her uncle. The uncle's biggest dream was to own his own barbershop but many situations prevented him from opening it until he was age 71.

I gave this book 5 stars because it taught a good lesson of determination. In this story it talked about the great depression and how the banks lost so much money, which was why how Uncle Jed lost all his money an
CH_Emily Scholnik
ALA Notable Children's Books
CBC/NCSS Notable Children's Book in Social Studies
Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book
Horn Book Fanfare
IRA Children's Book Award Honor
Grade Range 1st-4th

This story takes place during the Great Depression, when money was scarce and stock market had crashed. Uncle Jed's dream was to own his own barbershop, but the narrator, his niece Sarah Jean, becomes very ill and needs an operation. Uncle Jed pays for the operation even though it means a delay in getting his own barb
Nov 20, 2015 Charles rated it it was amazing
Never, ever, ever give up on your dream

This is both a history lesson as well as one of persistence in pursuit of a dream. Jedediah Johnson is the uncle of the child narrator (Sarah Jean) and the only black barber in the county. The time is in the segregated south of the twenties and thirties, so Jed’s transportation is via a horse and he plays a vital role, as blacks are not allowed in barber shops reserved for whites.
It is Jed’s dream to own his own permanent barbershop and he is saving his
Nov 07, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it
“Uncle Jed’s Barbershop” is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book about never giving up on dreams, despite numerous hardships and setbacks. This story is about a little girl, Sarah Jean, and her admiration for her uncle Jed, who spent his life saving up for his dream—opening his own barbershop. His journey, however, was not easy and he had to restart his savings multiple times. He never gave up and finally, Uncle Jed opened his barbershop at the age of seventy-nine. Although he died ...more
Megan Cureton
Uncle's Jed's Barbershop is a story about Uncle Jed being the only black barber in the county of sharecroppers during the 1920s. Uncle Jed was very loyal to his customers and traveled all around to cut his customers hair. He saved his money from his customers, in hopes of opening up his own barbershop one day, but the day came when his niece got terribly sick and he gave his money to help her get better. Uncle Jed said that he would have to start saving up all over again and that's just what he ...more
This is a heartwarming story with beautiful illustrations. The narrator, Sarah Jean, had a special relationship with her uncle Jedediah (her grandfather's brother). Uncle Jed became a barber, but hadn't saved up enough money to open a barber shop. So he would visit the family's home every Wednesday evening to cut hair. Sarah Jean became very ill and needed a surgery that the family couldn't afford. Jed gave them the money they needed, even though it put off his barbershop dream even further. Jus ...more
Kathryn Reeder
Mar 24, 2015 Kathryn Reeder rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 30, 2014 Rodolfo rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Touching story about one man's small dream and how he impacted those around him.
Apr 02, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing
This book is so eyeopening and inspirational. It has so much knowledge piles into one book: the Great Depression, late 1920s lifestyle, and dedication, and following through with what you say. This book would be great to use in a classroom to briefly describe the stock market crash or to show student that you are never to old to follow your dreams. Uncle Jed is a true inspiration and accomplishing his goal at such an old age made it that much more enjoyable. This can definitely teach children to ...more
Jazmin Lomeli
Apr 30, 2016 Jazmin Lomeli rated it really liked it
Uncle Jed's Barbershop is an inspiring story about Sarah's Uncle Jed who was the only black barber in the 1920's during segregation and in the mist of the great depression where most people were sharecroppers. He traveled all over the country to cut hair, always striving to open his own barbershop. There were many setbacks, Sarah got very ill but her family could not afford her operation and during that time they didn't treat black people unless they had the money first. Uncle Jed helped and she ...more
Jayme Carruthers
Apr 10, 2012 Jayme Carruthers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a really sweet book. It stresses how important family is, even if you have very large dreams. I know if I were in the same situation, my family would definitely give up the money in order to help me, even if it put their dreams on hold for a while. It also shows that if you work hard enough, you can accomplish your dreams. Uncle Jed never gave up on his dream and it eventually came through. It was sad that her family had to travel 20 miles into town to get to the hospital and ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Allen rated it it was amazing
This book is about sticking to your goals and accomplishing your dreams. Sara Jean's Uncle Jed has a lifelong dream to open up a barbershop, but he had to raise the money to do so first. However, Sara Jean gets sick, and Uncle Jed gives her family money for the surgery, even though this will delay his dream of opening a barbershop. The book takes place in the South in the early 1900s, and gives the reader a glimpse at racism, segregation, sharecropping, and the general life of a Black person liv ...more
Set in the segregated South in the 1920’s during the times of the Great Depression. Every Wednesday night Uncle Jed (Jedediah Johnson) would visit the home of his family and cut hair. Uncle Jed had a special bond with his niece Sarah Jean and would pretend to line and put lotion on her neck. He would sit and tell her of his dream of opening his own barbershop. Armed with a dream to own a barbershop and love for his family and friends, Uncle Jed set out to the homes of others for miles to
Mary Ward
Apr 16, 2012 Mary Ward rated it really liked it
Shelves: eced221
Uncle Jed's Barbershop was a cute story. During hard times, Uncle Jed sacrificed his long lived dream of opening his own barbershop. He paid for his nieces surgery, lost money when the bank failed, and no matter what always kept his dream alive.

This story followed the literary standards well. It had a plot that included a conflict, and a resolution. Uncle Jed could not afford to open a barbershop. He did no give up, and even when more conflicts got in his way, he put everyone else first, but nev
Melissa Long
Apr 09, 2012 Melissa Long rated it liked it
This book is laid out in a vertical landscape. The illustrations seem to be made using watercolor and are very bright and colorful. The illustrations are also set up in a double page spread with a boarder running along all four sides. I believe the boarder is meant to give the reader the sense that they are observing the story through a window. More specifically, I believe the boarder emphasizes the fact that the story is a flashback to the narrators memories of her Uncle Jed. The boarder allows ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Yasmeen rated it it was amazing
Grade/Interest level: Primary
Reading level:Lexile-710, Guided Reading-P
Genre: Historical Fiction
Main Characters: Sarah Jean, Uncle Jed
Setting:Segregated South of the 1920's
POV: from Sarah Jean

Five year old Sarah Jean loved her granpa's brother Uncle Jed. He is a popular barber who travels all around the south to cut sharecroppers hair. His plan is to save up enough money to open up his own barbershop. His plan comes to a halt when little Sarah Jean gets really sick and needs an expensive operat
Megan Piero
Apr 05, 2013 Megan Piero rated it it was amazing
Because I am such a sappy person in general, this book almost had me in tears by the time I was finished reading it. It is about a young girl named Sarah jean and her Uncle Jed. The story is written from Sarah jean's perspective and right off the bat she let's us know that her Uncle Jed is he favorite relative. Set back in the days of segregation when most black people were very poor and most worked as share croppers, Uncle Jed was the only barber in the county. He used to tell Sarah Jean about ...more
Feb 23, 2010 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is the story of a man who had a dream, but didn’t let it prevent him from caring for his family and friends. He saved and saved the money he made going to people’s houses to cut their hair. He wanted to open up his own barbershop, but things kept coming up. He helped pay for his nieces surgery and lost all his money during the depression. He kept working and stayed positive. Eventually, he opened up his shop and achieved his dream. He died a happy man.

I enjoyed this lower
Apr 09, 2015 Alison rated it it was amazing
I almost cried at this touching tale. This book reminds me of my father, who was like the uncle. One day, when I was 6 years old, I fell ill to retrovirus a second time and was unconscious for a little more than a day. My dad sat by my side and supported me till I became well again. He paid a lot of money for my stay at the hospital, and I know I would not be here without him. This book sends me the message of dreams do come true. I would read this to my students to give them writing ideas for t ...more
Q_Jill Burke
Mar 02, 2011 Q_Jill Burke rated it it was amazing
I loved this book not only for the story but for the beautiful illustrations. This story takes place in the 1920's in the segregated South. Uncle Jed cuts hair for everyone in the county. He has to go to their homes because he does not have a shop. He loves his job and dreams of owning his own barbershop some day. When he does finally save enough to open a shop, his niece becomes ill and needs an operation. He gives his savings to help pay. When he again saves enough money, the banks go under an ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2015 Amber rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book being read to us. I think the great lesson that anyone can take away from it is to never give up on your dreams. Even though Uncle Jed faced many obstacles along his way to getting his own barbershop, he kept pursuing it and eventually got what he had worked so hard for. I kept thinking that he was going to get his barbershop, but I felt myself being let down as more and more issues arose that stood in his way. I really wanted him to get it! Also, I think this book inc ...more
CH _Kenya  Walker
Mar 10, 2010 CH _Kenya Walker rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-fic
Uncle Jed's Barbershop is about a little girl who adores and idolizes her uncle who is the only black barber in the county and her travels all to cut his customers hair. She admires him for his kindness and his determination for seeing his dream of owning his own barbershop come true. Living in the 1920's, in the South where there was segregation and the average black person was a sharecropper it seemed unlikely that Uncle Jed's dream would come true. Withstanding bank failures due to the Great ...more
Amy  A.
Jul 26, 2008 Amy A. rated it it was amazing
This is a story about a little girl named Sarah Jean who grew up in the sharecropping South in the 1920s. Sarah Jean's favorite relative wa her Uncle Jed who was a barber who traveled around cutting the hair of the African American men in the area. He dreamed of having his own barber shop but many significant obsticles got in his way. First, Sarah Jean became very ill and after waiting in the segregated hospital emergency room it was determined that she needed very expensive surgery. Uncle Jed p ...more
Andrea Tuura
Dec 10, 2015 Andrea Tuura rated it liked it
Sara Jean's uncle, Jed has always dreamed of owning a barbershop. Despite many challenges that include poverty, discrimination, and the Great Depression, Jed works extremely hard to make his dream come true on his 79th birthday.

This book could be used to illustrate many important social justice issues, such as segregation and racism. It also shows students that people have to work very hard to make their dreams come true.
Jordan Williams
This is such a heartwarming story. I can relate to this because I have to depend on my grandpa for many things, and he seems to alway put himself last. Uncle Jed dreams of his own barbershop. Just when he he has the finances to to pay for it, he gives it away so hi sneak can have a procedure done due to a rare condition. We also see a glimpse of racism as we learn the black are always last to get help in the medical field. great book with a great story. I wish everyone were like Uncle Jed.
Marissa Pezzullo
Apr 08, 2015 Marissa Pezzullo rated it it was amazing
This is a telling story about a kind soul who saved a little girls life. I would use this book to teach my students that is pays off to be a good person and help people when they need it. This book could be read when talking about the great depression in the classroom. The time period in which this book is placed is during the great depression. When money was no where to be found and people had to make do with hardly nothing.
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