The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond

by Brenda Woods

Biracial Violet is one of the few African Americans in her suburban Washington community,... read more

Biracial Violet is one of the few African Americans in her suburban Washington community, where she lives with her Mom and older sister, Daisy (who has a different father), both of them white. Violet’s dad was killed in a car accident before she was born, and while Violet appreciates her warm and loving family she also knows she looks to some people like she doesn’t belong. Violet’s paternal grandmother has not been part of her life, and Violet overhears a conversation that reveals why: not only was her grandmother furious that Violet’s Dad married a white woman, but Violet’s mom was driving in the car accident that killed him. Still, Violet convinces her Mom to take her to meet her grandmother. While the initial encounter does not go well, Bibi (Swahili for grandmother) follows up, inviting Violet to visit her in Los Angeles. There, Violet is welcomed into a large extended family that seems to have been waiting to meet her, while she and Bibi become close, and she learns about her father as a boy. It would be perfect if she weren’t also homesick. Although the crisis that brings everyone together feels inevitable, the emotions run true throughout a novel in which Violet, while mature beyond her years in some ways, is refreshingly childlike in others. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2015

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