A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know this book will spark discussion of skin color, race or culture, self-love, and acceptance. Be prepared to answer many questions about skin color, similarities and differences in physical features and why there are phenotypical differences between different ethnic groups.
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What's the story?
"Chocolate Me" wished he was more like the children in his neighborhood with straight hair, light skin, and traditional American names. He begins to struggle with his self-esteem when the other kids tease him about his physical characteristics as if they are problems, or abnormalities. It takes the child's mother to show him that what makes him different makes him great.
Is it any good?
Actor Taye Diggs' first picture book for children is crafted in the way a child would tell his story -- with painful and unshielded honesty. Diggs creates a full, rich character that allows readers to fully empathize with him, no matter their skin color. This is an especially poignant book for children with dark skin -- African, African American, Indian, etc. who still deal with negative stereotypes and harsh question about their skin color. This is a great book to introduce the concept of self-love and to begin having discussions on race with children who are just beginning to recognize and acknowledge the differences they see in one another.
Award-winning illustrator Shane W. Evans creates a delightful landscape full of color and texture, with telling details that underscore a rich layer of emotional content. The illustrations beautifully bring the story to life. And the young boy's skin actually looks like painted chocolate.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the main character felt insecure and embarrassed about his appearance. Has there ever been a time you felt bad, or were made to feel bad about how you look? Has anyone ever made fun of you? How did that make you feel?
Families can also talk about positive ways to discuss one another's differences. If the boy's friends were curious about his hair, how could they have asked questions in a way that wouldn't have hurt his feelings?
Talk about how to turn hurtful remarks like, "Your skin is the color of dirt," into positive commentary: i.e. Soil is a precious thing -- without it there would be no way to grow food, nowhere to build a home, etc.
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