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Let's Talk About Race

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  141 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
I am a story.
So are you.
So is everyone.

Julius Lester says, "I write because our lives are stories. If enough of those 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
Unknown Binding, 32 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by Amistad (first published January 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 282)
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Julius Lester tackles a topic not usually seen in children's books. The effort is admirable, and I WANT to enthusiastically recommend it, but it just doesn't settle well with me.

He makes the point that race isn't completely define someone, and that we are all made up of many different stories, many different parts that all make the whole of 'who someone is'. This part is done well. Although I realized that he doesn't allow any leeway for someone who has parts of their story missing (don't know r
538PM_Bela Patel
This book introduces race as one part of an individual's story by an award winning author. This a great book to help children understand that everyone is the same inside, the differences are in the details of our own stories. No one is better than anyone else based on their differences. It allows children to explore their own thoughts about race and what makes them unique. It is a thoughtful book with compelling pictures and layered illustrations that encourage reader to linger on each page. Thi ...more
Cara Byrne
"I am a story. So are you. So is everyone. My story begins the same way yours does: 'I was born on -----.' Take me, for example. I was born on January 27, 1939, in St. Louis, Missouri. (I'm kind of old, huh?)."

In his brief picture book, Lester speaks directly to the child reader, encouraging him or her to tell his or her story, defining all of the attributes of him or herself (like favorite food, religion, heritage, etc.). Lester then asks the child to define and acknowledge his or her race, whi
Jun 17, 2014 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My son and I picked this up from the library because it was on display and he recognized his name on the cover (his name is Julius, too). My son is five and the only non-white boy in our neighborhood (his dad is black). I'd like to think that he is young enough that he wouldn't even notice, but he does. I heard him say a couple weeks ago that he wishes he was white with straight hair and that really bothered me. I appreciate that Julius (the author) chose to write a book that directly deals with ...more
David Korsak
The book Let's Talk about Race by Julius Lester is a picture, biography, and fiction book about people disliking people based on race. The author explains that we are all the same under our skin so we really have no reason to judge anyone based on skin color. Julius then talks about how we are so much more than our race and tells us some of the things he likes to do. At the end, Julius asks you if you, too, will take your skin off and not judge others. I selected this book because of this part a ...more
I work with three to five year olds, and I think that Lester's book might better suit a slightly older crowd -- not because young children can't talk about race -- they absolutely can -- but because they sometimes need something a bit less abstract to ground them on tough, powerful concepts like race. The book isn't a story in the traditional sense, but more of Lester's exposition on race. (It reads like a personal narrative.) I could see it being used in combination with other texts and materia ...more
Maggi Rohde
There is something wonderful about Julius Lester's prose. It sounds like a grandpa sitting next to you and talking, just talking -- telling you his wisdom, but never making you feel bad for not already knowing. This is the beginning, for all children, for all people.
Michelle G.
May 14, 2009 Michelle G. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE.
Recommended to Michelle G. by: Found it at the library.
A picture book that isn't preachy but slices straight to the point. Treats racism as a story that isn't true. Which story will we believe? The one that is told to us, or the one that we find out for ourselves?
Nashiea Edmiston
A Newbery Honor book, Let's Talk About Race tackles that huge topic through a very approaching dialogue. Lester begins the book by guiding the reader through the steps in talking to others about yourself. He describes how each person has a different story based on their experiences and their tastes. He then goes on to talk about how we're all the same even though others may say that they are better because they have more money or are of a different race (he gives many other possible reasons by s ...more
Feb 14, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
So much more than the title indicates, differences and sameness illustrated with images and brief text and powerful words.
Mar 08, 2010 Josiah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of the truly great writers of our time leads this thoughtful and sometimes quirky examination into the issues of what makes us different from each other, and what ultimately makes us very much the same. Julius Lester never follows the beaten trail in his writings; he always challenges and pushes us forward into new experiences, like those in this book. The tone of the words is direct and packed with many good ideas, building upon the idea that all of us are much more than any single aspect ...more
Oct 21, 2012 Bridgit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grade/interest level: Primary/Upper Elementary
Reading level: not found
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Main Characters: narrator/author
Setting: United States
POV: narrator

Author/narrator Julius Lester addresses his readers and explores the concept of racism and how people view and treat each other. He explores how people are commonly human, but also have unique traits and experiences that make them unique. At the end, he invites the readers to take off their skin as they embrace the world an
Tyrone Hardy
Nov 01, 2012 Tyrone Hardy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let’s Talk about Race is narrative by Julius Lester, and illustrated by Karen Barbour about the authors perspective on race. This book doesn’t have a main character, but rather a collection of characters. If there is a main character, it is the author himself. As I read this book I found myself intrigued by it initially, then I felt that it perhaps was not the best work to use in a classroom full of elementary students. Some of the statements in the text made me feel a little uncomfortable. For ...more
Notes: Let's Talk About Race offers insight into the differences among people, but the authror explaings how we are all the same inside, we may just look different or believe in something different.. Good book about -isms, when students begin to question people that may not look like them, be like them, etc.

Book Review: Julius Lester does a great job talking about race and how we are all the same, in the book, Let's Talk About Race. Lester makes the reader think about the reason why we think we
Jennifer S
May 06, 2012 Jennifer S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Beneath everyone’s skin are the same hard bones.” Powerful statement made to entice kids to think about the physical structure of the human body and how everyone is the same on the inside. Julius Lester articulates the importance of breaking down stereotypes though the use of kid appropriate discourse. He asks thought provoking questions to make readers think about their own stereotypes and their own racial make-up. Lester narrates this thoughtful text while offering insight into his own life. ...more
Katherine Roush
Sep 09, 2015 Katherine Roush rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction, Picture book
Format: Print
Plot: Lester and Barbour discuss race and discrimination in this book that asks children to think of others as complicated human beings. Another great story for starting a conversation.
Readers advisory:
Review citation: SLJ, April 2005
Source: In class recommendation
Recommended age: 4-8
Michaela Harper
Dec 03, 2015 Michaela Harper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE this book. The meaning behind this book is so genuine and pure. I feel like all teachers should read this book in their classroom during the first week of school. Students need to appreciate all types of races and remember that we are all equal no matter what color/religion/etc..we are.
Jul 06, 2015 Joti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2012 Libby.dorger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book begins by asking the reader what their story is, what they like or don’t like, and about their family – things that anyone has an answer to. It continues by going into the story about race – that some people believe that one race is better than another. The author then asks the reader to find the bones in their face, and points out that everyone has these same bones, no matter the color of their skin. If everyone were to take off their clothes, skin, and hair we would all look just the ...more
I thought this book was beautifully done. It does not address simply race, but gender, money, SES and many other "differences" that people judge each other on. Then Lester strips us down to - literally - bare bones to say that at that level, we are the same.
Alison Durbin
I have one word for this book: wow! What a great way to send the message that everyone is the same underneath, and everyone has a story. I think this book can be a teaching tool in that teachers can use it to teach empathy, tolerance, and understanding-something that seems to be lacking today. I feel that this book is a must-have for everyone- young and old; this is a message that we ALL can learn from. I am just so in love with this book!
The idea of the book was good. However, two of my kids were freaked out by the pictures. My 2-year-old, on the other hand, loved it and couldn't stop proudly chanting, "I am black!" (Until the next book read made him declare he was blue.)
Kristen Lindsay
Oct 22, 2013 Kristen Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Lets talk about race" Offers the message that everyone is unique in their own way. The story begins with informing that everyone has a different background, but yet all individuals similarly have a story. The book is a simple story line that shares that all individuals are a story.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 book "Lets talk about Race" celebrates all race ...more
Written Melodies
I loved the concept of the book that we are all a story, but the execution seemed off. Karen Barbour's illustrations pop off the page giving the story life.
Julius Lester deals with the volatile topic of race in a sensitive and compassionate manner. I was worried with a title called "Let's Talk About Race" that it would be a bit controversial, but the only people who would find this book controversial are overt racists. This is definitely a book worth sharing in a classroom full of young children.
A wonderful picture book that explores race in a way young children can understand. Julius Lester adds personal facts to show that you can't know him by just looking at his skin. We are all unique, is the underlying message. A useful addition to the K-5 collection.
Ayana Mishelle
Mar 16, 2011 Ayana Mishelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-studies
Julius Lester have us look at our similarities instead of our differences that is simply a pleasure to read !!He states "The differences are merely in the details." I agree with him that we all have a story to tell. He says your race is not all that you are. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said he had a dream that one day his four little children would not be judged by the content of their skin but by the content of their character. This book is a great way to move students 4th grade , actually all gr ...more
Nov 06, 2014 Lybah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
lol it was deep
Kaylan Nurse
Apr 08, 2014 Kaylan Nurse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diversity
"I am a story, and so are you", says the author. Let'Talk About Race gave so much insight to young children about how they should view other races outside of their own. Also how it should be easier for them to understand other races and cultures. This book is a fun way of teaching those things. The illustrator used many colorful ways to express how important everyone is and not just pinpointing one specific group of individuals. This would be an awesome read aloud for a class.
The simplicity with which this picture book explores the complex issues of race is masterful, and I recommend it for use with primary school children of all races and classes. To have an author with so much personal experience as a civil right activist portray the conclusion that we are all basically the same as human beings is a powerful message. The potential for students to use this book as a basis for expressing their own conclusions about race relations is limitless.
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I was born on January 27, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri. From 1941-1954 I lived in Kansas City, Kansas, and from 1954-1961 in Nashville, Tennesse. I received a B.A. in English from Fisk University in 1960.

In 1961 I moved to New York City where I had a talk radio show on WBAI FM from 1966-1973, hosted a television talk show on WNET from 1969-1971.

Since 1968 I have published 43 books. Among the awards
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