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.
Gr 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 2004 Reed Business Information.
The pairing of text and dazzling artwork is flawless . . .
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. --
School Library Journal (starred review)
Lester presents the wealth of human difference as a treasure trove for discovery, and Barbour's naif-style spreads provide plenty of visual interest. -- Publishers Weekly
LET'S TALK ABOUT RACE is an enlightening read with important concepts and ideas that even younger children can ponder. Barbour's colorful paintings give visual expression to the rainbow of who w e all are. -- Black Issues Book Review