Chocolate Milk Por Favor – Celebrating Diversity with Empathy

posted on January 5, 2024 by Eve Panzer

Multicultural Book Day Read Your World Book Review for 2024
Chocolate Milk Por Favor – Celebrating Diversity with Empathy
Written by: Maria Dismondy
Illustrated by: Donna Farrell
Published by: Cardinal Rule Press
ISBN: 9780984855834

Gabe is a new student at Johnny’s school who does not speak English. Gabe cries as his mother leaves him for his first day at school, giving him chocolate milk to sweeten the day. Johnny sees Gabe crying and thinks he is a baby for crying. Johnny shuns Gabe rather than help him because Johnny is uncomfortable that Gabe is different. The teacher introduces Gabe to Johnny’s class. She explains that Gabe doesn’t understand English yet but encourages the children to think about how they could help Gabe with his transition. Luckily, the other students in the class are very supportive of Gabe. As days pass, Johnny learns that he and Gabe have something in common – they both like to play soccer. When Gabe teaches Johnny a tricky soccer maneuver, Johnny realizes that Gabe is not so different from himself, and they become friends.

Most children have not walked in Gabe’s shoes – going to a new school where they do not know the language. So, the book opens with discussion questions to ask before, during, and after sharing the book. These questions help children think about how Gabe felt, why Johnny behaved unkindly, and what they might do when encountering someone different from them. In addition, there are proven ways teachers and students can help ELL (English Language Learners) feel more confident and successful as they navigate a new language. A list of these tips, created by the author from her real-life experience with ELL, is included at the end of the book. A bonus to make the story even more relatable to children is the inclusion of a photo of the real-life Gabe.

Today, children experience diversity in many walks of life. This book encourages children to be open, respectful, and empathetic when encountering others who differ. Using a real-life situation with kid-friendly illustrations, Chocolate Milk Por Favor tells a relatable story while modeling social-emotional skills such as empathy, inclusion, and kindness for children. Chocolate Milk Por Favor, written by an author whose life experiences help inspire her books, is a great tool to teach children these skills and help them understand that diversity enriches our lives and should be embraced and celebrated.

Chocolate Milk Por Favor – Celebrating Diversity with Empathy Is published by Cardinal Rule Press. This independent children’s publisher produces “…children’s literature that empowers children through timeless messages of hope, courage, and the Golden Rule.”

The author, Maria Dismondy, holds a degree in education and child development. Her experiences growing up and as an educator, as well as her “…dedication to empowering children with courage and confidence…” inspire the books she writes.

My thanks to Cardinal Rule Press for gifting me a PDF copy of this book to review.

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