A young girl prefers solitude and quiet activities to parties.
Violet likes to hunker in a makeshift tent to write and illustrate comic books, and she often wears her purple headphones around the house. But even though she enjoys cake and games, Violet definitely does not like parties. Large groups of people make her so uncomfortable that she has adverse physical reactions, like hot ears and stomachaches. If she must attend a party, Violet imagines she is a different kind of animal that can better cope with these feelings, like a shark with no external ears to get heated. The character’s preferences and reactions mirror those of someone with autism, social anxiety, and/or sensory-processing sensitivity. The story’s climax comes before the Shrink family reunion, a particularly big party, when Violent and her dad have an open discussion about her feelings. Violet states outright, “I don’t like parties,” along with certain other things, adding, “I don’t think I ever will.” Her dad listens, and when the reunion occurs, readers see a compromise: Violet brings her headphones and comic books, and she eats dessert under the table. Mok’s illustrations are in subdued hues, with a predominantly purple, green, and gray palette that pairs well with the dark purple print. Careful lines add detail and depth while giving the perception of a tactile, orderly calm. Among a multiracial cast including the extended family, Violet and her dad, both bespectacled, possess the white skin tone of paper and appear to be of Asian heritage.
A calm, effective model for stating—and listening to—needs. (Picture book. 6-9)