Can hot chocolate help solve a problem?
Johan loves hot chocolate. The red-haired white boy drinks it when he’s cold, when he’s exercising, and when he’s sick. He also likes to share it with his parents, his sister, and his friend Henry (also light-skinned but with curly black hair). The boys are sharing a cup of chocolate when Johan senses that his mother is getting serious news via the telephone. It turns out that Henry’s parents have decided not to live together anymore, so Henry spends extra time with Johan, and hot chocolate is always present. The chocolate symbolizes comfort and sharing, two attributes the compassionate Johan is always ready to offer up. The goal here is to point out, with some subtlety, that simply spending time with a child undergoing a difficult situation can provide much-needed support, and in this way, the book is successful and may be quite useful to children helping their friends deal with divorce. However, the story itself is not at the forefront here, so the book serves as an instructional vehicle to bolster empathy and gently impart social-emotional skills rather than an engaging tale on its own. Children may still benefit from Johan’s example of patience and kindness, and the book opens up the topic of divorce with sensitivity for further discussion.
A useful tale of a boy’s attempts to help a friend whose parents are separating. (Picture book. 4-7)