This is a charming, heartwarming tale of discovery for a biracial girl who lives with her white family but is very curious about the other side of her roots. It is a quiet story (Translation: Not many boys will be flocking to this one), but it does present an issue not often explored in MG books.
Yes, Violet is wanting more than anything to get a connection to her African-American side. That’s the meaning of the title. My reason for choosing this story was in wanting to learn about Violet’s feelings. I know several bi-racial boys and girls who never express any interest in their heritage. For her it seemed right to have this quest, but for many other bi-racial youngsters at this age, they’re just busy being kids while growing up in a loving family.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014 WORD COUNT: 39,914 READING LEVEL: 4.3
FULL PLOT (From Amazon):
Violet is a smart, funny, brown-eyed, brown-haired girl in a family of blonds. Her mom is white, and her dad, who died before she was born, was black. She attends a mostly white school where she sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. She’s tired of people asking if she’s adopted. Now that Violet’s eleven, she decides it’s time to learn about her African American heritage. And despite getting off to a rocky start trying to reclaim her dad’s side of the family, she can feel her confidence growing as the puzzle pieces of her life finally start coming together. Readers will cheer for Violet, sharing her joy as she discovers her roots.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE BLOSSOMING UNIVERSE OF VIOLET DIAMOND by Brenda Woods
- Violet. She narrates the story so if you didn’t connect with her nothing else would matter. She excels on all counts with her constantly questioning mind. Violet also keeps a list of words she’s never heard before so she can learn what they mean and use them herself. I love when kids do something like this.
- The realities of being a mixed race child. The white world thinks of you as black while the black world thinks of you as white. That alone would make a great discussion starter on ethnicity.
- Violet’s best friend is Greek and her sister speaks French. Nice to see these other cultures tossed in as Violet is learning about her African-American side.
- The biggest change comes perhaps not from Violet but from her ‘new’ Grandmother, Bibi. It’s the heart of the story as change often takes the support of several individuals. The relationship between these two made me smile.
- How could you not love that cover? The sparkle in Violet’s eyes and the light shining above her head says a lot about how this story turns out.
The next thing he almost whispered. “So what’d you come down here for … tryin’ to learn to be black?”
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.