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Book Reviews, Early/Young Readers, Lovelace Award Nominee, Middle Grade Readers, Read-Aloud Suggestions, Teacher & Parent Recommendations

DYAMONDE DANIELS by Nikki Grimes

Dyamonde Daniels is truly a treasure!  “Irrepressible” is often used to describe young characters.  In this case it is wholly appropriate.  Dyamonde lives with her mother in an apartment in the city.  She is your average, happy third grader.  She is outgoing, determinedly friendly and positive.  She is one of the most delightfully honest, intelligent, joyful young role models for children I have ever come across.

There are three books in the series:  Dyamonde Daniels, Rich, and Almost Zero.  In each story Dyamonde encounters real-life problems.  First, she must break through the barriers of a withdrawn and sullen boy in her class by extending her unconditional friendship.  Next, she realizes a new friend lives in a shelter and must figure out how to deal with both her friend’s circumstances and her inability to change them.  The third book shows Dyamonde discovering the difference between needs and wants when it comes to material possessions, as well as gratitude for what she does have.

The wonderful thing about all the Dyamonde Daniels stories is their ability to address serious, difficult issues without presenting hackneyed or contrived solutions.  Instead they provide a realistic–and still positive–way to both talk about and live with circumstances as they are.  They are thoroughly enjoyable reads without being the slightest bit “preachy.”

The books are also an easy read.  I think they would be appropriate especially for 1st through 3rd graders.  Although I have not yet had the opportunity to read them aloud to a class, I definitely have it on my list for next year!

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