The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond
By Brenda Woods
(Nancy Paulsen Books, Hardcover, 9780399257148, 240pp.)
Publication Date: January 9, 2014
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods’ moving, uplifting story of a girl finally meeting the African American side of her family explores racism and how it feels to be biracial, and celebrates families of all kinds.
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.
Brenda Woods (www.brendawoods.net) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, raised in southern California, and attended California State University, Northridge. She is the award-winning author of several books for young readers: Coretta Scott King Honor winner The Red Rose Box, Saint Louis Armstrong Beach, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction selection Emako Blue, My Name is Sally Little Song, and A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her numerous awards and honors include the Judy Lopez Memorial Award, FOCAL award, Pen Center USA’s Literary Award finalist, IRA Children’s Choice Young Adult Fiction Award, and ALA Quick Pick. She lives in the Los Angeles area.
* “Violet’s a bright, engaging biracial preteen. . . . Infused with humor, hope and cleareyed compassion—a fresh take on an old paradigm.” — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
“Woods deftly raises complex issues of race and identity and leaves them open for discussion: whether race matters, what makes a family, how it feels to be different, and what it means to be biracial. ‘To white people,’ Violet thinks, ‘I’m half black. To black people, I’m half white. . . . Is that what I am, a percentage?’" — Publishers Weekly
“Violet is a winning protagonist, full of questions and full of hope. She’s believably complex. . . . Her self-conscious reflections enable readers to parse the symbolism behind her name and see how her experiences are helping her grow into a person who fits it—a sometimes shy, sometimes sparkly and strong person to whom many readers will relate.” — The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
-Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
“Violet’s charming quirks, which include nighttime wishing rituals and keeping a mental catalogue of sophisticated vocabulary words, prove endearing. . . . Admirably touches upon profound issues related to identity and race and tenderly conveys intergenerational bonds.”
-School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“Drama abounds as family secrets are revealed. As usual, Brenda Woods’ characters are interesting and realistic. Everyone will find someone to identify with. This ‘biracial’ novel covers the subject with sensitivity, realism, and accuracy which not many books do.”
-Library Media Connection