A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The main character, Andrew, shares his experience of segregated New Orleans in the 1930's. This includes Black people being referred to as "Colored" people living in different neighborhoods based on race, and occupying separate sections in public spaces. The book also touches upon the build up to World War II and Hitler's influence on the United States. Jesse Owen's spectacular performance at the 1936 Olympics is described in detail.
Everyone should be treated equally. Racism is a "sickness" that can be overcome by being the best version of yourself. Everyday heroes can have a huge impact on your life.
Positive Role Models
This book recounts a true story from the life of Andrew Young, who's a very positive role model. In the book, we see young Andrew questioning the racially divided society around him and wanting to make a change. Having been inspired by Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens in his youth, as an adult Andrew strived to bring the 1996 Olympic Games to Atlanta. He also served in Congress and was appointed as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations by President Jimmy Carter. Owens is also a positive role model in the story, as his pioneering achievements in track and field inspired a generation of athletes and activists.
A diverse and vibrant neighborhood from 1930s New Orleans is central to the story. Characters of different ages, races, and socioeconomic statuses are featured. Friendship in the face of adversity and striving for racial equality are themes of the book.
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Violence & Scariness
A child threatens to hit another child in the head with a rock. One piece of dialogue alludes to violence toward Jewish people in Germany.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Just Like Jesse Owens is a picture book that details a story from activist and United States Ambassador Andrew Young's childhood. This story is brought to life by author Paula Young Shelton, Andrew Young's daughter, and illustrator Gordon C. James, a Caldecott Honoree. As a young boy in the 1930s, Andrew Young had a life-changing experience that would inspire this commitment to activism for global equality. Themes of the thought-provoking story include the importance of treating people equally and being your best self. As for violence, a child threatens to hit another child in the head with a rock, and a piece of dialogue alludes to violence toward Jewish people in Germany.
Is It Any Good?
This compelling story will inspire readers of all ages. Just Like Jesse Owens provides a peek into the childhood of Ambassador Andrew Young. The stunning illustrations and robust text create an engaging story about what it means to be inspired. The author reminds us, "it doesn't matter what color your skin is, it's what you do that counts" -- a timely and important message.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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