About this book
Christine Baldacchino • Carmen Mok
In this powerful story from Christine Baldacchino, author of Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, a young girl navigates social anxiety at family gatherings and works with her father to find a solution.
Violet Shrink doesn’t like parties. Or bashes, or gatherings. Lots of people and lots of noise make Violet’s tummy ache and her hands sweat. She would much rather spend time on her own, watching the birds in her backyard, reading comics or listening to music through her purple headphones. The problem is that the whole Shrink family loves parties with loud music and games and dancing.
At cousin Char’s birthday party, Violet hides under a table and imagines she is a shark gliding effortlessly through the water, looking for food. And at Auntie Marlene and Uncle Leli’s anniversary bash, Violet sits alone at the top of the stairs, imagining she is a slithering snake way up in the branches. When Violet learns that the Shrink family reunion is fast approaching, she finally musters up the courage to have a talk with her dad.
In this thoughtful story about understanding and acceptance, Christine Baldacchino’s warm text demonstrates the role imagination often plays for children dealing with anxiety, and the power of a child expressing their feelings to a parent who is there to listen. Carmen Mok’s charming illustrations perfectly capture Violet’s emotions and the vibrancy of her imagination. A valuable contribution to books addressing mental health.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
About the Creators
Christine Baldacchino is a graphic artist and web designer with a background in early childhood education. Her picture book Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress was a Stonewall Honor recipient and the winner of the CBC Bookie Award for Best Picture Book. She lives with her husband in Toronto.
Carmen Mok is a studio-art graduate of the University of Waterloo and a craft and design graduate of Sheridan College. She illustrated Violet Shrink by Christine Baldacchino and Grandmother’s Visit by Betty Quan, which was named an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Picture Book Honor title. It was also a finalist for the IODE Ontario Jean Throop Book Award and an Ontario Library Association Best Bets Honourable Mention. Carmen’s other books include A Stopwatch from Grampa by Loretta Garbutt and Cone Cat by Sarah Howden. She lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Awards and Praise
Praise for Christine Baldacchino, Carmen Mok and Violet Shrink:
Mighty Village Spring Book Pick, 2020
“Christine Baldacchino and Carmen Mok have given introverts and shy children the opportunity to see themselves and be accepted as they are.” — CanLit for Little Canadians
“A calm, effective model for stating—and listening to—needs.” — Kirkus Reviews
“[A] thoughtful and touching story … [a]n important book for all children struggling with social anxiety.” — Mighty Village
Praise for Christine Baldacchino, Isabelle Malenfant and Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress:
Stonewall Honor Book in Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Winner of the CBC Bookie Award for Best Picture Book
Finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award
Finalist for Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year
“Morris is a complex character whose creativity and personality shine.… Sensitive and reassuring.” — Kirkus, starred review
“[A] wonderfully moving and enriching picture book. Morris is a relatable character whom many readers will find both sympathetic and familiar.” — Quill & Quire, starred review
“Baldacchino’s gentle story sensitively depicts gender nonconforming children, offering them reassurance and, one hopes, acceptance by introducing other children to the concept.” — Booklist
“Baldacchino doesn’t sugar-coat the teasing and isolation Morris endures.… Malenfant showcases Morris’s full emotional spectrum.” — Publishers Weekly
“[R]ather than presenting an overt message about gender identity, the book provides a subtle and refreshing glimpse at a boy who simply likes to dress up.” — School Library Journal
Praise for Betty Quan, Carmen Mok and Grandmother’s Visit:
Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Picture Book Honor Title
“Quan’s words and Mok’s pictures together create a luminous reflection of how children experience grief and loss.” — Quill & Quire, starred review
“This is a wistful, tender story recommended for children who are confronting the loss or imminent loss of a loved one.” — School Library Journal
“This sweet and gentle story about losing a loved one is emotionally lovely . . .” — Kirkus Reviews