Is There Really a Human Race?

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Is There Really a Human Race? Book Poster Image
Fanciful images send a refreshing message.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Encourages kids' big questions and big imaginations while promoting cooperation and a more harmonious way of living.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that nothing harmful is presented in this book -- the message is fun, wholesome, and energetic.

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What's the story?

While hanging out in the park with his mom, a child wonders whether or not there really is a human race. Throughout the following pages, he continues to wonder about what kind of race it would be, how that race should be run, and what is to be gained. In the end, he concludes that racing may not be what life is all about. Perhaps there are other ways to \"make the world better for the whole human race.\"

Is it any good?

Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrator Laura Cornell have teamed up to create a wonderfully energetic book with a solid, wholesome message for us all. The message is told more effectively by the illustrations than by the somewhat sing-songy poetry. The first page sets up the question clearly and boldly: "Is there really a human race?" Seemingly a play on words, the immensity of this question reverberates throughout the rest of the book as the boy ponders various implications of the word "race."

Drawings and words combine effectively to take the reader through the pressures and complications of humans racing, all of which the boy realizes may end in a crash. He concludes we should all slow down, do our best, and work with one another. The symmetry of this story is amazing, the illustrations remarkable, and the message refreshing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the meaning of the words "human race," beginning with the illustrations. On the second page, the city park is filled with people of different ethnicities, sizes, shapes, and professions, all of whom are racing onto the page and off again. Who are these people? Where are they going? Do you feel that life is a race? Do you know what it means to be part of the "human race"? Do you agree with the boy that if we don't help each other, we will surely crash? Take a closer look at the last few pages. What are all the people doing now? What could you do to help build a community in your park? Could you work in a garden? Help during a clean-up day?

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