The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond
By Brenda Woods
A Book Review by Ginger Dawn Harman
Violet Diamond is an eleven year old biracial girl who has many questions. 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. As she is surfing the internet, she discovers that her grandmother is an artist and asks to go visit her art exhibit. Yet, it is not the reaction she expected. Can Violet bond with this other side of the family, Will forgiveness and healing happen between her mother and Grandmother. Well, if you are not hooked by this tease then I challenge you to pick up a copy of this modern young adult novel.
Brenda Woods’ emotional, inspiring story of a girl connecting with the African American side of her family explores racism and how it feels to be biracial, and devolving her own sense of self. I found the book fast paced and very easy to capture my attention. It is appropriate for children age 8 to 14.
I found Wood’s novel to be well-written, with charming and relatable characters. However, Wood does present a bit of a simplified picture of the biracial/racism issues. Racism is a complicated topic to express with a range of strong opinions within our society due to past history and current media. But, with that being said, I don’t believe that it is realistic for a middle grade novel to present all of these issues in an in-depth way. The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods would be a good starting point for a school or family discussion on racism as a way to create solutions for acceptance and kindness.
My favorite quote from the novel is, “Sometimes people make a mistake for so long that it starts to feel like it's not a mistake at all. And then one day, you tell yourself it's for the best.” I am eager to read more of Wood’s work as it is published, especially if it features race relations and acceptance as I believe that it is underrepresented in literature for children and young adults. I give my highest recommendation to The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods.
Brenda Woods was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but grew up in Southern California. "The road to becoming a writer was a long and curious one but a definite fit for someone who rather enjoys spending time alone with a thesaurus." Brenda Woods is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Coretta Scott King Honor, PEN Center USA Finalist, Focal Award, ALA TOP Ten Books for Reluctant Readers, and the International Reading Association Book Award. Zoe in Wonderland is her seventh published novel. Coming August 2016.