Monday, June 27, 2016

I Love Chocolate!

Picture Book: Chocolate’s Dream
Author: Elisabet Blasco
Illustrator: Cha Coco
Summary: Chocolate is a dog whose owners abandoned him when he was no longer a cute puppy. After searching for food each day, he hides behind a fence and watches Sarah through a window. She is a young girl that he knows will one day be his friend. “All he needs is for Sarah to love him.” 
This dream is hopeful and gives him joy, but he is afraid to be seen. After hearing Chocolate’s sad story and his longing for companionship with Sarah, a bird intervenes. 
The bird begins singing so loudly that Sarah comes out to investigate and sees Chocolate. When Sarah and Chocolate lock eyes, their love seems meant to be. 
Chocolate’s hopes and dreams come true. He sleeps at the foot of Sarah’s bed each night, warm, comfortable and loved.    
Hanna’s Comments: There is so much pure emotion in this little book! That’s why it is so suited to Picture Book Theology. As I thought of Chocolate, I thought of how many people come to our places of worship hurt by their past, hopeful for connection, but unable to risk. 
That longing for relationship comes straight from God. This is why hospitality is such an important spiritual practice. I love the bird in this story too. He’s like my husband who has a gift for helping people make connections and find each other. Don’t fail to point out the bird’s good listening. It says “he had been listening carefully without saying a thing.” That’s really hard for many of us to do! All faith families need these kinds of people who listen, pay attention, see the longing in others, and then do a little non-romantic match making. What might come out of these pairings (joy, hope realized, long-term relationships, intimacy…) can be as sweet as chocolate!
Original Publisher & Date: Cuento de Luz, 2015 
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord… (Jeremiah 29:11); Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation (Romans 12:12); May the God of all hope fill you with joy and peace in believing… (Romans 15:13); Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2); Let us consider how to stir up on another to love… encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of adults who are being trained for an evangelism team, especially if your church is in a neighborhood where homeless people live. This book would also be a great book for a foster parent training event or to celebrate the adoption of an older child into a new family or faith family.