I am completely gobsmacked by the sheer beauty and wisdom of Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester. The clarity of his language and the importance of his message stands on its own, but the book is further enhanced by the bold and colourful illustrations by Karen Barbour.

                                           I am a story.

                                            So are you. So is everyone.










                                          Some stories are true. Some are not.

                                           Those who say

                                          “MY RACE IS BETTER THAN YOUR RACE”

                                          Are telling a story that is not true.

Lester tells the reader that he was born on January 27, 1939. He sadly passed away on January 18, 2018. Part of his story is the fact that he converted to Judaism in 1982. He had previously learned that his maternal great-grandfather had been a German Jewish immigrant who married a freed American slave. His Jewish journey is an incredible story in its own right.

Over the course of his career, Lester authored 25 books of fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and poetry. Incidentally, I just ordered a copy of his novel And All Our Wounds Forgiven as well as his memoir, Lovesong: Becoming a Jew.

Let’s Talk About Race is a wonderful addition to every family’s library. Given the current political climate, this picture book is perhaps exceptionally apropos. It easily opens up family discussions on the significance of and the meaning of racial identity. As the mother of a multicultural family (three white children and a Chinese child), living in China, this is a topic that we do not shy away from.

Let’s Talk About Race is a powerful tool to help children understand that while race is certainly part of a person’s story, it is never the entire story.


Let’s Talk About Race

Written by Julius Lester

Illustrated by Karen Barbour

Age Range: 4-8 (listed age, but the appeal extends far beyond the suggested range)

Publisher: HarperCollins