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Taye Diggs '93 and Shane Evans '92 to sign copies of their children's book as part of Orange Central

November 08, 2011

Sara Miller
(315) 443-9038

Television, film and stage actor Taye Diggs ’93, a drama alumnus of Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, 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.” 

Chocolate MeDiggs, along with “Chocolate Me!” illustrator Shane W. Evans ’92, an illustration alumnus of VPA, 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. 

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. 

Diggs and Evans will join SU alumni Scott Pitoniak ’77, George Hauer ’60, London Ladd ’06 (artist,illustrator), Rick Burton ’80, Warren Kimble '57 and Sandra Caron G’86 as they also sign copies of their books during Orange Central. 

In “Chocolate Me!” 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.

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