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LET’S TALK ABOUT RACE by Julius Lester

LET’S TALK ABOUT RACE

By Julius Lester (Author) , Karen Barbour (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-028596-6
Publisher: HarperCollins

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)