Shrinking Violet

Bibliographic Information: Best, C. (2001). Shrinking Violet. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Brief Annotation: Violet is shy and is being verbally bullied by a classmate, but a key role in the class play gives her the chance to find her strengths.

Genre: Contemporary realistic fiction

Grade Level: PreK-3

Readers who will like this: Readers who are being bullied; readers who are shy; readers who have a strong moral code.

Rating/Response: 4.5; Like Chrysanthemum, I would have preferred if the teacher, Mrs. Maxwell, had been more overtly active in preventing and/or halting the bullying in the classroom. However, there is one scene that shows that Mrs. Maxwell is aware of the situation and is trying to stop it. More importantly, Mrs. Maxwell knows Violet well enough to realize how uncomfortable she would be on stage and provides Violet with a role that enables Violet to not only fully participate, but to shine.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: This is a story about a girl named Violet who is very shy. What does being shy mean?

Reading Strategy: Anticipation Guide (Yopp & Yopp, 2010). An Anticipation Guide is a pre-reading strategy that can help teachers with pre-assessing students as well as aiding with formative assessment. In this strategy, students are given a brief and basic quiz with yes or no answers that relate to the theme(s) or the content of the book the teacher is going to read. This strategy can be adapted to a variety of reading and writing levels based on its presentation (for example, the teacher could present the questions orally to children who are early or emergent readers, while readers who are approaching or have achieved fluency could be provided with space to expand upon their answers). An Anticipation Guide would be a good strategy to use with Shrinking violet because it would help the students begin thinking about the themes of shyness, bullying, friendships, and individual strengths before encountering the text.

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