Friday, January 30, 2009

Let's Talk about Race by Julius Lester


Summary: I chose to read Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester. I love this book!! Julius starts out by saying that we all have a story. He begins to explain what he likes, his hobbies, etc. and then mentions his race. This begins the discussion on race; he explains what races there are and how many people tend to dislike other people simply because of their race. He explains that we are all the same under our skin so we really have no reason to judge anyone based on skin color. There is a hands on little activity where you feel the bone under your eye and then someone else's to prove that we all have the same bones. Julius then talks about how we are so much more than our race and tells 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. The book is very well written with nice colorful pictures that keep the students engaged. I have no qualms with the book.

How I would use this book in the classroom: I used this book in a 1st grade classroom, but you could really use it in any grade and just adapt the way you read/teach it. I literally broke it down page by page, only reading 1-2 pages a day. Each page can have a lesson and discussion created from it. I had students write about their likes/dislikes and about themselves. I then branched out into a discussion on what is race. The next day the students categorize themselves into a race (s) and find out what their classmates are. Students then do the hands on activity and find out the lesson that we are all the same. Students can write about each page, either with a response or a summary of what they learned, or how it relates to their life. You can also do any other lesson that you want about race in correlation with the book.  It can lead into discussions on racism, as well. There are so many things you can do with this book!

Stages of Social Justice:
1) Self Love and Acceptance: Julius talks about all the different things that make him unique and himself. This includes his race which is an important part of him (though not the thing that defines him). 

2) Respect for Others: Julius talks about how all people are the same on the inside and you shouldn't judge someone solely because of their race. The book has pictures of people of every race and ethnicity and shows them interacting postively.

3) Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Julius talks about racism and how others judge people just because of their race. He compares this to how people judge other people because of their gender, religion, class, etc. and how none of these would be fair or acceptable.

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