I am a children’s book author and illustrator and it is amazing for me to say this … I have been doing this work since the “TURN OF THE CENTURY!!!” (sounds major doesn’t it!)
I am delighted to bring a “childlike” perspective. In America we speak a lot about “race,” I remember struggling with that as a child (and it is a topic that still with us). How do we CHANGE this dialogue?
I have visited with schools around the nation and have asked this question to children from kindergarten to college, “what color is chocolate?” Most of the time the automatic response is “BROWN …” (I will pause for silence) and every time a child will start the chimes of voices, “there’s DARK!”, “white!”, “I HAVE SEEN PINK.”,
“green! …” on and on … it is a celebratory tone, it is a wonderful revelatory moment recognizing all the flavorful variations. I then share from a book that I illustrated, authored by a friend who I grew up with actor Taye Diggs … called … Chocolate Me! (this is his true life story …) This book is about a child that feels out of place. There is a moment where he is getting picked on, asked questions about his looks, and a range of emotions are explored for this 5 year old. The mother in the book comes to the rescue with a loving voice that reinforces “the SWEET inside.” It is a moment of reflection between parent and child and a solution.
This book is also about community. I have lived in Kansas City since 1993 and I am experiencing growth here. This has been an amazing place to see a perspective of the world from. I have meet many “FLAVORS of people” from around the world and learned so much about who I am through that. I do my best to work on “how I see” through my own eyes. As an artist it is easy to get “lost” in who I am, and project that onto the canvas. Maybe that’s how we all can be sometimes.
We should all go up to someone today and ask … “what FLAVOR chocolate are you?”
That’s my “chocolate thought” of the day …