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Squizzy the Black Squirrel
A Fabulous Fable of Friendship
by Chuck Stone
Illustrated by Jeannie Jackson
A black squirrel I did see one day,
Enjoying the lovely weather.
The other squirrels were brown and gray,
But they all played together.
When Marcus' second-grade teacher encourages everyone in her class to make a new friend, he doesn't know what to do. After all, he already has plenty of friends, and it's hard to meet new people when you live on the same street and go to the same school every day. But then one day Marcus gets a marvelous surprise. In Fairmount Park there's a black squirrel, who plays happily with all the other squirrels--and who can talk! This extraordinary book, written by prominent Black civil rights activist and journalist Chuck Stone and illustrated with rich oil paintings by Appalachian-born artist Jeannie Jackson, provides an opening for important dialogues about acceptance and friendship and leads to a conclusion that color really is only skin (or fur) deep.
Age level: 5-9 years.
Website exclusive: The next 200 copies of Squizzy the Black Squirrel purchased over our site will be autographed by the author, Chuck Stone!
A Tuskegee Airman in his youth, Chuck Stone became widely recognized as one of the twentieth century's most influential African-American journalists. During the civil rights movement, he was editor of three major black newspapers--The New York Age, Washington Afro-American, and the Chicago Daily Defender--and worked a few years as administrative aide to Harlem's outspoken Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Stone subsequently became a major organizer and theoretician of the Black Power Movement. As the sixties drew to a close, Stone authored several books and served as a news analyst on racial issues for NBCs "Today Show." From 1972 to 1991 he worked as a columnist and senior editor for the Philadelphia Daily News. He has taught at Harvard, Syracuse, and the University of Delaware, all while continuing to write his nationally syndicated column. He became the founding president of the National Association of Black Journalists in 1975, and for several years thereafter he also hosted the national PBS public affairs program "Black Perspective on the News." In 1991, he was named the Walter Spearman Professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In his first year there he won an Excellence in Teaching award. He continues in this prestigious teaching position today. Squizzy the Black Squirrel is Chuck's first published book for young children.
Chuck Stone was honored with Trailblazer Award on Feb. 1, 2005. Read more about Stone and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum here.
Jeannie Jackson was born into a large coal-mining family living along the Big Coal River near Charleston, West Virginia. She is a self-taught fine art painter as well as an illustrator and graphic designer. A former photographer and graphic artist at the University of Delaware, she now works in her Delaware studio full-time. In recent years she has begun exhibiting her works in oil, watercolor, pastel, and mixed media. She is currently working on a series of oil paintings that portray the coal miners and landscapes of her youth in Boone County, West Virginia. Her work on Squizzy the Black Squirrel was supported by a grant from the Delaware Division of Arts.
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North Carolina Review for Educators
From the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
[Grades K-3, Picture Books] Marcus, a seven-year-old African-American discovers a black squirrel in the park while playing with his friends. Surprisingly, the squirrel Squizzy can talk, and Marcus is delighted to find a "black" squirrel. But Squizzy doesn't understand such words as black, white, brown, yellow, and red-or the word color. Squizzy points out that black can't do anything, but squirrels can, and that he and the other squirrels are just squirrels. Marcus learns an important lesson about acceptance and the artificiality of categorizing people by color. With its colorful illustrations and important message, this is a good resource for lessons on tolerance and friendship by a North Carolina author. Multicultural, Character Education
(InfoTech Volume 2004: Issue 1, pg 29)
Chuck Stone is always the effective teacher. Squizzy tells a simple, beautiful story about a profound principle, in a wonderfully illustrated way. This splendid little volume is Chuck's best effort with children and belongs in every school library, and adult libraries too!
Dr. William Friday, President Emeritus of the University of North Carolina
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