Living with Viola
Living with Viola written and illustrated by the talented Rosena Fung is a wonderful graphic novel about a young name Livy who is having trouble fitting into her new school. She also has a lot of anxiety, which is represented as a shadowy twin named Viola. When visiting Toronto, I found a beautiful and unique bookstore called Type Books. After browsing for a few minutes, I discovered this book, Living with Viola. I love middle-grade books, especially ones that are based on memoirs. Listen to our podcast to learn more!
In this middle-grade graphic novel, Livy navigates friendships, insecurity, family relationships, and how to navigate anxiety. As a tween and/or teen, anxiety can be overwhelming. I found the representation of anxiety of a shadowy twin, Viola, to be really interesting and helpful when trying to understand anxiety. It can also lead to productive conversations about self-talk. Often we talk worse to ourselves than anyone else! Living with Viola can be an excellent book for a classroom, home library, or book club.
When reading this book with your tween/teen, here are some discussion questions to start with:
Tell me about Livy feels when she first begins school. Did you ever feel like Livy?
What do you think Viola represents in the story? Do you think Viola is mean or supportive of Livy?
Why is Livy embarrassed to bring her friend to her house?
Are you similar or different from Livy? If so, how?
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Rosena Fung grew up and is based in Toronto, Canada. Her first graphic novel Living With Viola is published by Annick Press.
Her editorial clients include The Globe and Mail, The Boston Globe, Chronicle Review of Higher Education, CBC Arts, PLANSPONSOR, Maisonneuve, Bust Magazine, Avenue Magazine, Swerve Magazine, Tridel Corporation, and the Toronto Transit Commission.
When she is not drawing, Rosena can be found teaching illustration, vending at zine fairs, and going to the library. Her favorite activities are reading, eating snacks, cats, and learning to play the guitar (it is a slow process).
Her name is pronounced “Rosanna”. Visit her website here