Friday, December 20, 2013

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

Violet Diamond's mother is white and her father, who died before she was born, was Black.  Violet loves her mother and sister, but sometimes she gets tired of people not realizing they belong together.  Violet has never met her father's side of the family, and begins to feel more and more that something is missing from her life.  Violet is a determined person, and she's determined to meet her father's side of the family!

After I was done reading this, I tried to think of another book that explores the difficulties a kid might have being biracial.  I couldn't think of any.  Surely there must be others...right?  Please let me know if you can think of any, because I really can't.

I thought this did a great job showing Violet's confusion and feeling she's missing something important.  I am not biracial, so I cannot speak from personal experience, but to me it seemed like it illustrated the kind of issues a kid might go through.

Violet's mother was previously married and had a daughter, so Violet has a big sister.  She loves her sister and her mother, but sometimes, she feels like she's missing something.  She lives in a town where almost everyone is white.  She's the only biracial kid at her school.  She has one Black friend who she skates with, but one Black friend doesn't fill the void Violet is feeling.  She wants to learn about the other side of her family.

Violet starts to ask her mother questions, trying to learn why they don't have any contact with her father's family.  She learns that her father's mother didn't like her parents getting married, and after her father's death (he died in a car accident, Violet's mother was driving) she completely cut off all communication.  It turns out what happened was more complex then Violet, or her mother, first realized.

Violet is determined to meet her grandmother, sure that once her grandmother sees her, she'll want a relationship.  Things do not really go as planned, but Violet does end up spending a week with her grandmother, who she calls Bibi.  Violet is introduced to a completely new world of food, culture and family she never knew about.  She finds relief in feeling like it's obvious to everyone that they're family, but also misses home and her mom and sister.

Violet is a great character.  She's smart and determined.  She asks questions and makes sure she gets answers.  She has a great relationship with her maternal grandparents and her mom and sister.  She gets angry and frustrated sometimes, and she takes action to solve her problems.  She also knows she's just a kid, and sometimes needs the help of adults to make things happen.

Great middle school read.

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond comes out January 9th, 2014.

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