Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Debbi Newton Chocolate  

Pen Name: Debbi Chocolate

Genre: Children

Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children; Children;

Born: 1954 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Debbi Chocolate on The Brown Bookshelf --
-- Website --
-- Debbi Chocolate on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Chocolate was born in Chicago and currently resides in Wheaton.

Biographical and Professional Information

Debbi is a popular children's author whose books include ''Imani in the Belly'', ''Pigs Can Fly'', ''The Piano Man'', ''Kente Colors'' and ''A very Special Kwanzaa''. Her work has appeared in ''Essence'', ''Black Scholar'','' Publishers Weekly'' and ''USA Today''.Chocolate is a graduate of Spelman College and Brown University. She is a former children's book editor and faculty member at Columbia College in Chicago. She has been featured on both Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow.

Published Works

  • Kwanzaa, Children`s Press, 1990
  • My First Kwanzaa Book, Scholastic Books, 1992
  • Neate to the Rescue, Just Us Books, 1992
  • Spider and the Sky God, Troll Books, 1993
  • Talk, Talk, An Ashanti Legend, Troll Books, 1993
  • Elizabeth`s Wish, Just Us Books, 1994
  • Imani in the Belly, Bridgewater Books, 1994
  • On the Day I was Born, Scholastic Books, 1995
  • Keesha and the Family Party, McMillan, 1995
  • A Very Special Kwanzaa, Scholastic Books, 1996
  • Kente Colors, Walker Books for Children, 1997
  • The Piano Man, Walker & Company, 1998
  • Biddy Mason: The Open Hand, McGraw hill, 2000
  • Pigs Can Fly!: The Adventures of Harriet Pig and Friends, Cricket Books, 2004
  • El Barrio, Henry Holt, 2009

Selected Titles At Your Library

Kwanzaa /
ISBN: 0516039911. OCLC Number:

Childrens Press,. Chicago :. ©1990.

Discusses the holiday in which Afro-Americans celebrate their roots and cultural heritage from Africa. How one American family celebrates the 7-day December holiday of Kwanzaa.

My first Kwanzaa book /
ISBN: 0439129265. OCLC Number:

Scholastic,. New York :. ©1992.

Introduces Kwanzaa, the holiday in which Afro-Americans celebrate their cultural heritage.

NEATE to the rescue! /
ISBN: 0940975424. OCLC Number:

Just Us Books,. Orange, N.J. :. 1992.

When dirty politics occurs during Naimah's mother's campaign for city council, Naimah and her four friends join together to help save the election.

Spider and the Sky God :
ISBN: 0816728127. OCLC Number:

Troll Associates,. Mahwah, N.J. :. ©1993.

Ananse the Spider uses trickery to capture the four prizes demanded by the Sky God in payment for his stories.

Talk, talk :
ISBN: 0816728186. OCLC Number:

Troll Associates,. [Mahwah, N.J.] :. ©1993.

A simple farmer is startled when first a yam and then a dog, a tree, and a stone talk to him.

Elizabeth's wish /
ISBN: 0940975459. OCLC Number:

Just Us Books,. Orange, N.J. :. ©1994.

Elizabeth wants to enter a local talent competition. Can she handle the possibility of not winning? And if she does win, should she keep the prize money or contribute it to charity?

Imani in the belly /
ISBN: 0816734674. OCLC Number:

BridgeWater Books,. [Mahwah, N.J.] :. ©1994.

Imani's faith helps her save herself and her children from the belly of the King of Beasts.

On the day I was born /
ISBN: 0590476092. OCLC Number:

Scholastic,. New York :. ©1995.

An African American family greets a new baby in the home with welcoming rituals that go back to tribal Africa. An African American family greets a new baby in the home with welcoming rituals that go back to tribal Africa. Members of an extended African American family celebrate with joy and pride the birth of a first-born son.

Keesha and the family party /
ISBN: 0026862425. OCLC Number:

SRA,. Columbus, Ohio :. ©1995.

A very special Kwanzaa /
ISBN: 0590848623. OCLC Number:

Scholastic, Inc.,. New York :. 1996.

Charlie's school is holding a Kwanzaa festival, and he doesn't want to be any part of it because last year he was made fun of when he participated. But Charlie soon learns that Kwanzaa is a celebration of creativity and caring, of family and friends, that Kwanzaa can be a pretty special time-- for everyone.

Kente colors /
ISBN: 0780785886. OCLC Number:

Perfection Learning,. Logan, Iowa :. [2010]

A rhyming description of the kente cloth costumes of the Ashanti and Ewe people of Ghana and a portrayal of the symbolic colors and patterns.

The piano man /
ISBN: 0802775780. OCLC Number:

Walker and Co.,. New York :. 2000.

A young Afro-American girl recalls the life story of her grandfather who performed in vaudeville and played piano for the silent movies.

Biddy Mason :
ISBN: 0021477248. OCLC Number:

McGraw-Hill School Division,. New York :. [199-?]

Pigs can fly! :
ISBN: 0812627067. OCLC Number:

[Cricket Books],. [Chicago] :. 2004.

In four stories, Harriet Pig realizes her dream to fly, helps a friend overcome a fear of heights, trains for a swim race against a boastful goose, and more than repays the mouse who saved her life.

El barrio /
ISBN: 0805074570. OCLC Number:

Henry Holt,. New York :. 2009.

A young boy explores his vibrant Latino neighborhood, with its vegetable gardens instead of lawns, Nativity parades, quinceañera parties, and tejana and salsa music.


Coretta Scott King Award and John Steptoe New Talent Award for

The Piano Man

Parents' Choice Award for

Talk, Talk

Her books have won a Parents' Choice Award, Minssesota Book Award and been selected one of the American Library Association's Top 100 books. Debbi was honored at the 2005 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)