The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

Violet DiamondViolet Diamond’s dad passed away when she was a baby, so she feels like the only “brown leaf” on a pile of “white snow” in her family and at school. Sure, her mom told her she could get a kitten, but her best friend has plans to be in Greece all summer visiting her extended family. What’s she going to do with a kitten and no best friend?

That summer, Violet learns that her “other Grandma,” the one she’s never met, is having an art show in nearby Seattle, and she convinces her mom to go. Despite a fraught first encounter, Violet wins over her “Bibi” and begins to reconnect with her father’s side of the family. Sure, her cousins tease her about her “white” name and she’s never eaten grits pie before, but those things are easily remedied.

So when Violet faces a possible tragedy, she’s grounded and ready to step up to the plate with a heart full of love and a strong sense of herself–both the “Violet” and the “Diamond” parts.

This is a charmer of a middle-grade book, easy breezy reading, and has a ton of potential to connect to lots of kids and families. Most kids will love Violet’s sassy-sweet personality and will relate to her struggles. (Boring summer? Check. Best friend gone? Check). But the book will also find a special home in the hands of kids who are biracial or have been adopted into a family that’s racially or culturally different from them.


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