Violets Are Blue
Oh, the issues that seem to be the fabric of our society. Barbara Dee has written a Middle Grade novel about two of these issues in ‘Violets Are Blue’. This is the story of Wren (aka) Renata and how she is trying to cope with her parents separation (divorce) and even liking her stepmother for she shares kind of a special interest. Wren has a special talent that helps her to cope with what is going on in her life and her parents for they also have various coping strategies for what is happening in their lives from dealing with the holidays and new arrivals and other events.
Barbara Dee has written ‘Violets Are Blue’ to encourage young adults to learn coping skills in some way. Barbara Dee also shows how we can all find ways right or wrong with how we cope with our various issues like the way Wren deals with her and her mother’s issues. One of my favorite aspects of the book were the pages at the beginning of each chapter in italics that shows and tells about Wren’s talents and interest and what keeps her going. The cover was also a good show and tell aspect with the colors she chose to depict Wren’s two sides of her artistic personality. She wrote chapters that were very short that makes a book a real page turner for younger readers. This would be a good discussion book assignment for an adolescent counseling group where they can discuss if this book could relate to them in some way. They could also discuss the similarities and differences in the characters and their situations.
Violets Are Blue tackles the universal middle grade concerns of friendship, family, and identity with the same care and insight Dee brings to the challenging topic of addiction. Through Wren’s authentic voice, Dee captures a common issue that is often treated as taboo, providing kids with the tools to reach out when a problem is too much to take on alone. Wren’s interest in special effects makeup brings a unique flair and levity to a story with extra appeal to drama kids of all stripes – whether they’re assisting backstage, starring in the school play, or avidly watching YouTube tutorials.
A book Summary
Twelve-year-old Wren loves to reinvent herself, whether through her passion for special effects makeup or trying out a different name. These experiments in identity allow her to escape into a different life, where her best friend doesn’t act like she hates her and she isn’t caught in the middle of her parents’ divorce. Moving to a new town seems like the perfect opportunity for a fresh start, and everything falls into place as Wren starts making friends and lands the job of makeup artist for the school’s production of Wicked. But Wren is so caught up in finding herself that she doesn’t focus on her mom’s erratic behavior. When an opening night disaster throws her mom’s opioid addiction into the spotlight, Wren realizes that some problems can’t be covered up with a little makeup, but require support, forgiveness, and rebuilt trust.
About the Barbara Dee:
Barbara Dee is the author of twelve middle grade novels published by Simon & Schuster, including violets are blue, My Life in the Fish Tank, Maybe He Just Likes You, Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed. Her books have earned several starred reviews, have been shortlisted for many state book awards, and have been named to best-of lists including the The Washington Post’s Best Children’s Books, the ALA Notable Children’s Books, the ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, and the ALA Rainbow List Top Ten. Barbara lives with her family, including a naughty cat named Luna and a sweet rescue hound named Ripley, in Westchester County, New York.
Simon & Schuster /Aladdin