|Published in 2005|
Julius Lester's book Let's Talk About Race is a beautifully illustrated book that gets to the heart of an important issue that is often difficult to talk about: race. Lester handles the topic with sensitivity and speaks on a level that easily relates to children. Karen Barbour uses vibrant colors that are visually appealing and eye-catching for the cover and illustrations. The pages are colorful and smooth to the touch, very inviting.
Lester begins his story by making it personal. The first thing you read when you open the cover are the words, "I am a story. So are you. So is everyone." Who can argue with this statement? We all have a story. We all have a time when we were born and a place where we were born. We all have parents, brothers, and sisters or other family members. Lester then tells his story and asks his readers to tell their stories. He draws in his audience by making his book relevant to them by asking, how does your story begin? He brings the topic of race down to a child's level. He says that all our stories have many of the same elements, such as our favorite foods, hobbies, colors, religions, nationalities, and our favorite time of day.
After explaining what we all have in common, Lester makes the transition to race. He questions his readers about race and then questions whether what they think about race is true. The most powerful point Lester makes and the climax of the story is when he encourages his readers to discover what is beneath their skin. If we all took off our hair, our clothes, and our skin, we would discover that we all have one thing in common: a skeleton. We are all alike in this way: we all have bones.
Lester's book would be a safe way to discuss the issue of race with children.