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CANDY SHOP by Jan Wahl


by Jan Wahl & illustrated by Nicole Wong

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 1-57091-508-3
Publisher: Charlesbridge

An act of bigotry gets a sharp and practical response in this message-driven tale. Daniel, a young African-American boy, together with his old-soul aunt, is heading to the penny candy store. They pass through the city neighborhood—a bustling, poor part of town, both inky and colorful in Wong’s artwork—and set a nearly too-stagy atmosphere of goodness and rectitude: waving to neighbors, saying they’ll see them in church, sharing their short funds. The act of racism they confront at the candy store—something, unseen by the reader, has been scrawled on the sidewalk—is thus isolated, the more so when Daniel’s aunt, a figure of righteous authority, tells the Korean shop owner: “Honey, don’t pay no never mind. There’s mean, nasty folk in the world, but most are fine as gold.” As are Daniel and his aunt: one scrubs the sidewalk while the other invites the shop owner home for pie. Still, the message is simple and effective and the story can be used as a springboard for just such a discussion. (Picture book. 4-8)