Chocolate Storytime June 2014

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer

Freedom SummerWhat a great audience we had for June’s Chocolate Storytime!  Along with our regular guests, the afternoon was filled with nearly fifty attentive Lions (ages 5-6) and Tigers (ages 7-8) from the City of Pasadena’s summer La Pintoresca Neighborhood Park Camp.  Thanks to Camp Facilitator Mr. Tyanta “Tigger” Snow who included the library’s storytime as part of their afternoon activity schedule, this was the largest group at Chocolate Storytime thus far.   Mr. Tigger sent over a great group of kids led by camp leaders, Cristal Vasquez and Verquan Newson, and camp director, Tevin Hodges.  Mr. Darrick “Tiger” Jones helped as well.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project, also known as “Freedom Summer,” we read the anniversary edition of a picture book of the same name written by written by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue.  It is a sweet story about the friendship of two carefree little boys–one white and one black–who are excited about a new law that will allow them to swim together in the town pool, but only to find out that some people Boys Swimmingwere not so happy.

The book contains a special 50th year anniversary forward that gives a child-friendly summary of the history of the Freedom Summer movement.  The author includes a note sharing her personal experiences as a white Mobile, Alabama born child who spent summers visiting her Mississippi relatives and witnessing southern businesses like the local roller rink and ice-cream parlor shutting their doors in protest of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  She says that the book’s fictional story is based on real events and grew out of her feelings surrounding that time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo celebrate our nation’s birthday and growth, Chocolate Storytime guests created the beginnings of patriotic windsocks using markers, ink pastels, glitter, and red, white, and blue stars to decorate their works of art.  The next day, 60 fudge pops, donated by Barbara Lindsey, from Inglewood, California, were delivered to the La Pintoresca Neighborhood Park Camp students who participated in the storytime, on behalf of the Sarah Priscilla Sears Kelley – Moving Forward, Upward and Around – Foundation.

Chocolate Storytime takes place on the last Friday of the month at 4pm throughout the summer.  You can download and distribute the Summer Chocolate Storytime Flyer to help spread the word.

For pictures of the June Chocolate Storytime, visit our Photo Albums tab.

About Freedom SummerFreedom School

During the summer of 1964, thousands of civil rights activists, many of them white college students from the north, joined with Mississippi and other southern states in the Freedom Summer campaign to set up dozens of Freedom Schools, Freedom Houses, and community centers in small towns throughout Mississippi to aid the local black population in trying to exercising their right to vote and end the long-time disenfranchisement. Although African American men had won the right to vote in 1870, shortly after the Civil War, thanks to the Fifteenth Amendment, for the next 100 years many were unable to exercise that right.  White local and state officials systematically kept blacks from voting through formal methods, such as poll taxes and literacy tests, and through cruder methods of fear and intimidation, and violence.  Freedom Summer was preceded by the 1963 mock “Freedom Vote” organized the the African American Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  (Source:

Chocolate Storytime June 2014 Booklist

Below are the books that we read at this month’s Chocolate Storytime.  Some of the books have been purchased from Eso Won Bookstore in Los Angeles or Vroman’s in Pasadena, or checked out from the La Pintoresca Branch Library.

Freedom SummerFreedom Summer

by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there’s one important way they’re different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn’t allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there…only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people’s hearts.  (Source:  Amazon)

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

Full Full Full of LoveFull, Full, Full of Love

by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Paul Howard

For Jay Jay, Sunday dinner at Grannie’s house is always full…  Full of hugs and kisses, tasty dishes, happy faces, and love.  This book is a tender tribute to the joys of family and food.

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

I Love My HairI Love My Hair

by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

After a little detangling hair session between her mama’s knees, Keyana’s tears are tempered by her mother’s stories of all of the exciting things she can do with her hair. She can wear it in braids with beads that tap and clack, or in two ponytails that stick out, or let it surround her head like a globe, Afro style.

Nearly all of the kids at Chocolate Storytime raised their hands when asked, “Does it hurt sometimes when your parent combs out your tangles?”

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

Kevin and His DadKevin and His Dad

by Irene Smalls and illustrated by Michael Hays

This is a story of a day a boy and his dad spend together doing ordinary things around the house. Young boys and their fathers will relish this book that celebrates the things dads and kids can do together.

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

Can You Hear the SeaCan You Hear the Sea?

by Judy Cumberbatch and illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max

Sarah’s grandfather gives her a seashell and promises that if she listens carefully, she will hear the sea inside. But Sarah is distracted by the bustling noise of her island community. Laundry flip-flaps in the wind, people haggle in the market, and plantains sizzle on the stove. Only when Grandpa helps her to really listen is the magic inside the shell unlocked.  (Source:  Amazon)

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

Stop Drop and ChillStop, Drop, and Chill

by Derrick D. Barnes and illustrated by Barbara Jean Phillips-Duke

Instead of acting out his anger when the kids at school antagonize this boy, he learned to stop and think about the moves he needs to make, drop the anger like it’s hot, and chill out like a popsicle.  And there you have it–stop, drop, and chill.

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

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