Violet and the Jurassic Land Exhibit (The Infinity Rainbow Club #2) – Jen Malia

Violet and the Jurassic Land Exhibit by Jen Malia, Peter Francis
Also by this author: Nick and the Brick Builder Challenge
Series: The Infinity Rainbow Club #2
Published by Beaming Books on October 24, 2023
Genres: Children's
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five-stars

The Infinity Rainbow Club is volunteering at the local natural history museum where Violet's parents work. Violet loves setting up the new augmented reality exhibit, but she worries that something will go wrong. Her OCD has her repeatedly checking for errors. Can Violet find a way to trust her work and enjoy the exhibit?

The Infinity Rainbow Club is a chapter book series featuring five neurodivergent children in a club at their elementary school. The club provides a safe space for stims and different communication styles to be accepted and celebrated.

The Infinity Rainbow Club is a series of middle-grade books focused on the adventures of a group of kids with various neurodivergences. The club within their school, the titular Infinity Rainbow Club is where they can hang out and be accepted and celebrated. There’s nothing exceptional or fantastical about the stories. It’s just about kids living their lives, navigating friendships and new challenges, learning and growing. In this way, The Infinity Rainbow Club accomplishes two things. First, for readers with some sort of neurodivergence, they can see characters who look, think, and feel like them. Second, it demystifies neurodivergence by presenting it as a social difference rather than an innate disability.

Violet and the Jurassic Land Exhibit is the second book in the series and follows Violent, a secondary character from the first book, who has obsessive-compulsive disorder. We move outside of the school setting and into the natural history museum, where Violent is helping set up the augmented reality exhibit. Throughout the story, readers see both the challenges of OCD and how Violet works through them.

OCD is probably one of the most trivialized and misunderstood neurodivergences. It’s not just about wanting to be orderly or clean or even about doing things a certain way. The compulsion is much stronger than that. Violet and the Jurassic Land Exhibit shows how Violet’s OCD expresses itself, including through unwanted, violent intrusive thoughts. Malia writes “More unwanted thoughts. Violet didn’t want any of these horrible things she imagined to happen. But she didn’t have control over them either.”

As someone who does not have OCD and does not know anyone who does, I learned a lot from this book about what OCD looks like and how individuals cope with it. Compare this to the previous book, focused on an Autistic character, where I felt validated and seen. These books teach kids about neurodivergences in a straightforward, positive way. Kids without the experiences of the characters in the book will be educated; kids with those experiences will feel seen.

I’m just in love with these books. Every middle-grade classroom in the world ought to have them on their shelves. I’ll be buying copies for my kids’ school libraries. If you’re a teacher, you need these books. If you’re a parent, you need these books. If you’re a kid, you’ll love to read these books. And there are more to come!

five-stars