Violet in Bloom: A Flower Power Book

Common Sense Media says

Tween friends tackle healthy relationships and food choices.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

This book is part of a series, and may encourage further reading. Tweens will gain some knowledge of healthy vs. unhealthy food choices, and learn a little about how the food industry engages in the unethical treatment of animals.

Positive messages

The author portrays a diverse group of friends: Violet is an African-American girl whose mom lives in a mental ward. Camilla has two moms. Yasaman is a religious Muslim character who wears a hijab and prays in school. Each has her own set of issues, but they work through them and fully accept one another.

Positive role models

The four main characters in the book -- Violet, Camilla, Katie-Rose, and Yasaman -- succeed in their campaign to make teachers and their classmates aware of the unhealthy school snacks and the unethical treatment of animals that the snack company engages in. Despite some stumbles, the four main characters are ultimately fine, upstanding members of their fifth-grade class

 

 

Violence

A girl accidentally steps on and kills a hamster. There is mild bullying: One character gets tripped by a classmate; others are taunted and ridiculed; a girl describes how pigs chew on one another's tails at a slaughterhouse, and as a result, have their tails cut off without anesthesia.

Sex

A girl has a longstanding crush; a girl gets taunted about her "boobies" by some boys.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know a girl gets taunted about her "boobies" by some boys. There is a realistic depiction of the treatment of pigs in a slaughterhouse. A girl steps on a hamster by mistake, killing him. But girls in particular will appreciate the diverse characters and messages about acceptance and friendship: The author portrays a diverse group of friends: Violet is an African-American girl whose mom lives in a mental ward. Camilla has two moms. Yasaman is a religious Muslim character who wears a hijab and prays in school. Each girl has her own set of issues, but they work through them and fully accept one another.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Violet, Katie-Rose, Camilla, and Yasaman aren't just BFFs, they're FFFs -- flower friends forever. Together they embark on a crusade to rid their school of evil Cheezy Nips -- unhealthy cheese snacks without any cheese in them. In the meantime, they deal with all things tween, including crushes, friendships in peril, mean girls, difficult family relationships, and bullying. All of this is set against a social media backdrop: back at home, the girls communicate through Luyyabunches.com, a private networking site that includes a blog and videos. This is the second book in the Flower Power Book series; the first is Luv Ya Bunches.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's a lot packed into the book, and the author has written it in a decidedly contemporary tween voice, which can be overly sweet with its liberal use of exclamation points and italics. Readers may find the diversity too forced and simplified -- none of the major problems the girls face are about their ethnicity, race, or the sexual preference of their parents. But the messages are very positive, and much about their elementary-school life is realistic.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the four different friends on the book's cover. Do they seem like full-bodied characters -- and could they be friends in real life? In what way do the girls emulate stereotypes, and how do they defy them? Can you think of other books or movies led by a very diverse group of girlfriends, like this one?

  • One of the themes in the book is bullying -- a topic that has also been in the news very much as of late. This might be a good time to check in with your kids about what kind of bullying goes on in their schools. Does what happens in the book seem realistic? How do your own experiences compare?

Book details

Author:Lauren Myracle
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Amulet Books
Publication date:October 1, 2010
Number of pages:384
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 13

This review of Violet in Bloom: A Flower Power Book was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old June 17, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

good choice for tweens

I enjoyed reading this book. I especially liked the fact the author knew alot about other religions. For example, Yasaman the turkish girl, is a muslim.Lauren Myracle introduced to the readers accurate facts about the religion Islam. I also like that she wrote some turkish words. ( I even learned some turkish words myself!)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Too much sex
Kid, 9 years old January 25, 2011
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Perfect for ages 9+!

I love this book!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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