Actor Taye Diggs ’93, an alumnus of the Department of Drama, is also a father with an important message for his young son, as well as other kids who may feel a little different from their peers. With his new picture book Chocolate Me! (Feiwel & Friends, 2011), Diggs wants to encourage kids to “appreciate their differences and celebrate them with a healthy sense of self-esteem.”
Diggs, along with Chocolate Me! illustrator Shane W. Evans ’92, a VPA illustration alumnus, will sign copies of their book on Saturday, Nov. 12, at the SU Bookstore in the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center, as part of Orange Central. The book signing will be from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Chocolate Me! will be available for purchase at the SU Bookstore. In the book, a young boy is teased for looking different. His skin is darker, his hair is curlier, his nose is bigger than everyone else’s. The boy is chocolate. He tells his mother that he wishes he looked like the other kids. She teaches him to appreciate his differences. According to the book: “Chocolate is sweet. Chocolate is smooth. Chocolate is beautiful and delicious. Chocolate is—Me!”
Reviewers of Chocolate Me, which is written for 4-8 year-olds, say: “Beautifully illustrated by Shane W. Evans, it tells the story of a relentlessly teased black child who learns to appreciate what sets him apart from his predominantly white neighbors,” according to the The New York Times “Arts Beat” blog. And Publishers Weekly says “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 … 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.”
Illustrator Evans, Diggs’ longtime best friend and an NAACP Image Award winner, says, “Taye and I want to share with our children that no matter what your obstacles in life, the sweet inside will prevail.”
Diggs is an actor whose credits include the motion pictures How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Chicago; stage performances in Rent and Wicked; and a current television role in ABC’s Private Practice. Evans is the illustrator of numerous award-winning books for children, including Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson and Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper’s Daughter, winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award.
Orange Central 2011 takes place Nov.10-13 on the SU campus and includes reunions, special events and Homecoming, all rolled into one exciting weekend.