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Chocolate Me!by Taye Diggs
Synopses & Reviews
The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.
For years before they both achieved acclaim in their respective professions, good friends Taye Diggs and Shane W. Evans wanted to collaborate on Chocolate Me!, a book based on experiences of feeling different and trying to fit in as kids. Now, both men are fathers and see more than ever the need for a picture book that encourages all people, especially kids, to love themselves.
"It's tough being the only African-American kid on the block. The young narrator's white acquaintances tease him ruthlessly about his name, his dark skin ('It's brown like dirt. Does it hurt to wash off?'), his wide nose, and his 'fro. It's enough to make any kid wish he were just like everyone else — until Moms offers just the right kind of comfort: 'You have skin like velvet fudge frosting mixed in a bowl.... Cotton candy hair soft to the touch of my fingertips.' The titular phrase is used like a refrain, initially a burden and later a celebration of self. Actor Diggs, making his children's book debut, gives an unvarnished take on the emotional impact of taunting that cuts to the core of one's identity, though not every reader will find satisfaction in the ending, in which the narrator is reconciled with his insensitive peers over chocolate cupcakes. But Evans makes the hero's journey to confidence irresistible, with bighearted, stylized pictures that draw on the emotionally exuberant vocabulary of street art and anime. Evans doesn't minimize the cruelty the boy suffers, but he makes it feel surmountable. Ages 4 — 8. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Taye Diggs is an actor whose credits include motion pictures (How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Chicago), stage (Rent, Wicked), and television (Private Practice). He lives in Los Angeles and New York City with his wife, the actress Idina Menzel, and their son.
Shane W. Evans is the illustrator of numerous award-winning books for children, including Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson, and Osceola: Memories of a Sharecroppers Daughter, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. He lives with his wife and daughter in Kansas City, Missouri.
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