Violet (2009), by Tania Duprey Stehlik

This review was first published in Resource Links Magazine, “Canada’s national journal devoted to the review and evaluation of Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults.” It appears in volume 15.5.


Violet is starting a new school, but is worried that she won’t have friends because she is, well, violet.  When she discovers a myriad of other-coloured students in her new class, she is only somewhat reassured: “There were red kids, yellow kids, and blue kids…” But they all have red, yellow, and blue parents.
Mixed-ethnicity is explained to the reader through the vibrant skin colours of the characters, engagingly drawn by Jovanovic to reflect a world both interesting and yet subtly disturbing, much like Violet’s experience of school.  Violet’s Dad is blue; her Mom is red; Violet is purple.  The analogy is simple and effective.  The only problem with the story is that it ends too soon.  Once Violet realizes where her own unique colour comes from—blue+red=purple—the reader would benefit from her perhaps meeting another child in similar circumstances: Hazel’s parents could be green and brown; Amber’s could be red and yellow… But the story ends abruptly with Violet’s realization of her uniqueness, which does not, I think, send a message of belonging as strongly as this very promising and imaginatively conceived story could.

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