Sunday, November 15, 2009
Violet by Tania Duprey Stehlik
Violet by Tania Duprey Stehlik is a brilliantly simple multicultural book that says so much.
Violet is a young girl who is violet-colored. Most of the children at her new school are either red, blue, or yellow. When her blue father comes to pick her up, the other children are confused and question her about it. She had never thought about her father being blue and her mother being red before, and the questions of the other children bother her.
She realizes that most of her friends are the same color as both of their parents. Yet Violet matches neither one of hers. When she gets home and her mother asks her how the first day at her new school was, Violet bursts into tears and asks why she isn't blue.
Her mother points out that Mom is red, Dad is blue, and Violet is a little bit of both. She demonstrates how red and blue paint make purple paint. While there may not be any other purple children in her class, there are other purple people in the world, and Violet should be proud of who she is.
Violet ponders this information, and is put to the test the next day when Mom comes to pick her up from school. Another child from her class questions why her mother is red, when she is purple. She replies that her mom is red, her dad is blue, and she is Violet.
Stehlik's demonstration of the beauty of being biracial is so simple and smart, it's a wonder that no one else has written a book on it, yet! It opens the door for so many educational follow-up activities in both cultural and art curricula. And the illustrations are very pretty. They almost remind me of the old Nickelodeon cartoon Doug.
I recommend this book for use by teachers in preschool all the way through elementary school. Parents should also read it to their children, even if their children are not biracial. A simple story such as this one can teach such a valuable lesson about accepting others for who they are, instead of focusing solely on their outward appearance.